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In a Nutshell: Sibling shenanigans | Family frenzies | Everyday miracles Humorous, generous-hearted fourth and final novel in a heavenly series that just keeps on giving. The winds of change are whooshing through the Gadsby household. The siblings have a new pink-haired, fairy-wing-wearing nanny. Flora is off to theatre school in Scotland. Sensitive Twig has taken up rugby. Poetry-writing Jas is being bullied by the callous Cupcake Crew, and the ponies from the stables under the motorway are being relocated to Devon. Life is pretty much business as usual for documentary-making Bluebell, until enigmatic artistic Marek Valenta arrives from Prague and sprinkles more than a little magic and Central European chic on her world. They're both artists, individuals who “see things differently”, as Marek describes it. When Marek’s money-driven dad decides to banish him to a distant posh school, where the cruelties of cross-country running are de rigueur, Bluebell comes up with a “crazy impossible” plan that might just fix all their problems, and set her on the road to making history.
Ideal for younger teen fans of funny, thoughtful, family-focussed fiction, this is a richly rewarding book about finding your way, making mistakes and sticking together. It’s layered with moments that bring a lump to the throat (such as when Bluebell returns to the hill that was beloved by Ivy, her lost twin), and moments that induce hysterical howls (like the disastrous disintegration of the Halloween parade). And all the inimitably madcap, life-affirming, love-filled Gadbsy gatherings give a warm glow to the soul. ~ Joanne Owen
Bluebell and her siblings are beginning a new school year. Suddenly everyone is freaking out. Twig has taken up violent team sports, poor Jas is being bullied by the ghastly Cupcake Crew and Blue has a big decision to make. There are fights and crying fits. Halloween parades gone wrong and secret graffiti artists. Confusing friendships and life-changing choices. But there is also laughter and above all, there is love - and that's what being a family is all about.
Natasha Farrant says.."Welcome to the mad, dysfunctional and oh so real world of the Gadsby family. I hope you love them as much as I do."
Some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were lucky enough to read and review After Iris; The Diaries of Bluebell Gadsby, the first in this series. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.
Praise for The Diaries of Bluebell Gadsby
‘Written with subtlety, wit and insight, this teen diary with depth follows the Gadsbys through difficult times (and Blue’s enlightening first crush) towards a feel good ending.’ The Sunday Times
‘It’s a fine read - funny and moving - and a classic portrait of a family just damaged enough to be interesting.’ Sunday Telegraph
‘Highlights in a touching study of family life are Blue’s spiky and tender relationship with her older sister and chief rival, and Zoran’s care beyond the call of duty for his charges, who begin to understand his own troubled past.’ Observer
‘Farrant injects new life into an old form’ Guardian
‘This gentle, moving but funny family story, is beautifully told through a combination of diary entries and transcripts of the videos Blue makes of those around her. Tender, sensitive and astute about the complex nature of grief, this is an emotionally rich novel that is nonetheless told with a delicacy and lightness of touch. With something of Hilary McKay’s Casson family series, After Iris is an utterly charming story, and young readers are certain to be enchanted by the wonderfully eccentric Gadsby clan.’ Booktrust
‘The Diaries of Bluebell Gadsby series will make 10+ readers feel warm, cosy and safe and provide the perfect alternative to vampires, dystopias and ‘issues’. The humour, reality and drama in the Gadsby’s lives will definitely make them everyone's new favourite family!’ Gransnet
‘Farrant’s easy to read writing style - including transcripts of videos Bluebell films, which really add to the story - a good plot, and some hilarious scenes mean that it’s well worth checking out. I’ll look forward to reading the next in the series!’ Bookbag
‘I have fallen in love with the Gadsby family and their pet rats!’ Wondrous Reads
‘I loved how subtle and quietly powerful Blue’s observations are of her life and the little ways in which her family is broken and of the baby steps they all take together to heal in some small way. After Iris was a really emotional read for me - one that made me smile and laugh, one that made my heart hurt and tears leak from my eyes. I can't wait to read more!’ Fluttering Butterflies Blog
|Publication date:||18th August 2016|
|Publisher:||Faber & Faber|
|Suitable for:||11+ readers, 13+ readers|
|Genres:||Family / Home Stories, Humorous, Romance / Relationship Stories|
|Recommendations:||Reviewed by Children|
Natasha Farrant has worked in children’s publishing for almost twenty years, running her own literary scouting agency for the past ten. She is the author of the Carnegie longlisted and Branford Boase shortlisted YA historical novel The Things We Did For Love, as well as two successful adult novels. She grew up in London where she still lives with her husband, their two daughters and a large tortoiseshell cat. She is the eldest of four siblings and has never dyed her hair pink. Photo credit © Sam Armstrong.More About Natasha Farrant