Reader Reviewed Fire Colour One by Jenny Valentine

Fire Colour One

Written by Jenny Valentine

YA readers   All Shortlists and Winners   Carnegie Greenaway   13+ readers   UKLA 2017   eBooks   
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The Lovereading4Kids comment

Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award and Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2016.

Julia Eccleshare's Pick of the Year 2015 Guardian Prize winning author Jenny Valentine’s long-awaited new novel is clever, beautifully written, full of ideas. It tells the story of sixteen-year-old Iris: lonely and desperately unhappy, she finds self-expression and release through starting fires. Her vain, shallow mother, one of the least sympathetic fictional characters ever, has always told Iris that her father abandoned them when she was a little girl. This is a lie and he has in fact been searching for his daughter all her life. They are reunited, but only because her father is dying. The weeks they have together are spent learning about each other – they share a love of art for example, something that Iris’s father has been able to indulge. Just as the beauty and truth of her father’s paintings outweigh any monetary value, so Iris’s love and growing understanding transcends their short time together. Daring to examine what is really important, this original novel is full of insight and intelligence. ~ Andrea Reece

Reader Reviews

Teens love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read their full reviews.

  • Emily Kinder, age 14 - 'Brilliant...This book has endless layers that unravel as the story continues, leaving you guessing until the very end. It’s sweet and thought provoking, with an extremely satisfying ending, and I’d recommend it to absolutely anyone.'
  • Jenny Duffy - 'The last few chapters of the book were sheer brilliance – I can’t wait to re-read this book, and I am delighted that Jenny Valentine is back.'
  • Sophia Ufton - 'This is an amazing book! Loved it so much!'
  • Chloe Mcilroy - 'This was a really good book that kept me gripped from beginning to end.  It featured interesting characters and an original plot which was exciting the whole way through.'
  • Tammy Hall, age 15 - Benfield School - 'It’s a good story the way the plot unfolds and the ending is unexpected but very satisfying.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'I would recommend this to everyone.'
  • Emma Hughes - 'Fire Colour One follows Iris, as she finds her real father on death's door. Their shared love of art brings the pair closer than Iris could expect, and leaves her with a surprise that no one could expect.'
  • Jessica - 'This book is amazing and eye opening. It has changed my whole perspective of life. Overall this book was amazing!'
  • Amy Laws, age 14 - ''Fire Colour One' was absolutely amazing; I would recommend it to anyone without hesitation.'


Fire Colour One by Jenny Valentine

Iris's father, Ernest, is at the end of his life and she hasn't even met him. Her best friend, Thurston, is somewhere on the other side of the world. Everything she thought she knew is up in flames. Now her mother has declared war and means to get her hands on Ernest's priceless art collection. But Ernest has other ideas. There are things he wants Iris to know after he's gone. And the truth has more than one way of coming to light.


'A beautifully written story, soaked in love and important things.' Steven Camden, author of TAPE

“Stunning. Rich in prose, with a profound depth to the characters and themes. Extremely moving.” Sarah Lean, author of A Dog Called Homeless

“One of the very best books I've read all year. I finished this and immediately turned back to the beginning again.” Robin Stevens, author of Murder Most Unladylike

“I loved the unconventional nature of this book. Each character is vivid and unique;
intriguing and intricate.” Guardian Children’s Books review.

About the Author

Jenny Valentine

Jenny Valentine moved house every two years when she was growing up. She has just moved house again, probably not for the last time. She worked in a wholefood shop in Primrose Hill for fifteen years where she met many extraordinary people and sold more organic loaves than there are words in her first novel. She has also worked as a teaching assistant and a jewellery maker. She studied English Literature at Goldsmiths College, which almost put her off reading but not quite. Jenny is married to a singer/songwriter and has two children. 'Finding Violet Park' is her first novel.

I owe the showbiz name to my husband!

This is your first book, have you always wanted to be a writer girl and how did you make it happen?
My mum bought me a notebook when I was about nine that looked like a novel on the outside. I had to put the title and the author on the front and then fill it with a story. I knew then. I’m not sure exactly how I made it happen - I put the work in I guess.

What was your favourite book as a teen girl?
Such a hard question! I read a lot and I always wish I’d made lists of all the books I loved. One that stands out would be The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.

For people who haven’t read your book yet - Finding Violet Park, what’s it all about?
It’s about a boy who finds an old lady’s ashes in a mini cab office and decides to find out who she was. He learns a lot of other things while he’s doing it.

Lucas is a great narrator, what made you write from a boy’s perspective?
No idea! He just jumped out, fully formed, in about the second sentence. I’m not sure I had that much choice in the matter.

Secrets are a big part of the book,what’s your biggest secret?
Good try!

If the book had a soundtrack, what would be on it?
Well, Lucas listens to all his Dad’s old records so there’d be some early David Bowie, some Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Ella Fitzgerald, maybe Rolling Stones. Then there’d have to be some piano pieces for Violet to play, Rachmaninov gets played at Lucas’s granny’s.Then Lucas’s own choices might be Sufjan Stevens, Will Oldham, and a song from my husband Alex Valentine’s record TARDIS HEART. It’s called SORROW and as soon as I heard it I said I’d want it in a soundtrack if I was ever lucky enough to get one.

Apart from your own, what’s your favourite book for teens?
Holes by Louis Sachar. I love that book. I think it’s perfect.

What’s the best thing about being a writer?
Finding the exact word you’ve been searching for.

Do you have a writing routine, Jenny? Tell us about it…
Well it’s very un-HELLO! I drink coffee, I have a walk by the river with our dog, I sit down and I re-read some of what I did the day before. Then I get going. Sometimes I look up and three hours have gone by, sometimes it’s like getting blood out of a stone. I think it helps to have no routine at all, just to go with it, see how it’s working.

What’s next in the world of JV?
I’m working on my next book. It should be out next year. I can’t tell you what it’s called yet because I don’t know. I’m very indecisive.

The colour pink. Discuss.
Let’s see… bubblegum, fake fur, rose petals, cold noses, underwear, marshmallows, candy floss, lip gloss…. how am I doing?!

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Book Info


256 pages
Interest Age: From 13


Jenny Valentine
More books by Jenny Valentine


HarperCollins Children's Books an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Publication date

1st July 2015




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