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Longlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Book Award 2014 - One of our Books of the Year 2013 - July 2013 Book of the Month Ebullient, life affirming, witty and utterly convincing and tinged with credible sadness, thirteen year old Bluebell Gadsby’s diary is a brilliant teen diary in the mode of Dodie Smith’s classic I Capture the Castle. The complications of family and romance swirl around Blue and she records all both on film and in her diaries. Blue’s entertaining record captures the dramas of her noisy family, which includes a nest of pet rats, and her own stirrings of love for Joss, the ‘bad boy’ from next door under the lax supervision of Zoran, the young temporary babysitter their parents have bought in while they are away, busy with their own lives. But all is tempered by Blue’s deep grief caused by the recent death of her twin sister. Have the rest of the family really forgotten? Natasha Farrant tugs all manner of heart strings in her emotionally rich rendition of family life.
Being a combination of conventional diary entries and transcripts of videos shot by the author on the camera she was given for her 13th birthday, and beginning at the end of summer. Bluebell Gadsby is 13 but that's the least of her problems. Both her parents seem more interested in their careers than the family, leaving Blue and her three siblings as well as their three pet rats (who may or may not be pregnant), in the care of Zoran the au pair. The enigmatic Joss moves in next door and Blue thinks she might be falling in love, until he takes out her older sister Flora instead (who, incidentally, is trying to make a statement by dying her hair bright pink but no one takes the blindest bit of notice). Blue thinks and feels very deeply about life but can't really talk to anyone about it, because no one in the Gadsby family wants to address the real problem - that Blue's twin sister, Iris, died a year ago, and they are all just trying to hide their grief in busyness...So Blue turns to her diary and her unique way of seeing the world through her camcorder to express herself.
Like Hilary McKay's Cason family books, the Diaries of Bluebell Gadsby series will make 10+ through to early teen readers feel warm, cosy and safe and provide the perfect alternative to vampires, dystopias and 'issues'. The humour, reality and the drama in the Gadsby's lives will definitely make them everyone's new favourite family.
A message from the author:
Welcome to the mad, dysfunctional and oh so real world of the Gadsby family. I hope you love them as much as I do.
Kids 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 read their full reviews by clicking here.
|Publication date:||4th July 2013|
|Publisher:||Faber Children's Books an imprint of Faber and Faber|
|Suitable for:||11+ readers, 13+ readers|
|Recommendations:||Books of the Month|
|Other Categories:||All Shortlists and Winners, 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
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