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Author: Farrant, Natasha
Twelve-year-old Bluebell Gadsby's written and video diary chronicles life in a rowdy London family, and how Zoran, the new au pair, and Joss, the troublemaking boy next door, help to pull her out of her shell and cope with the loss of her twin three years before.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.70
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 160562
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 6.40
Points: 13.0 Quiz: 61708
Kirkus Reviews (+) (05/15/13)
School Library Journal (07/01/13)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (09/13)
The Hornbook (00/09/13)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 07/01/2013 Gr 5–8—Bluebell Gadsby's twin died three years ago, and her life has not been the same since. In her quirky British family, her loving parents are absent most of the time and struggling with their own grief; her younger siblings, Twig and Jasmine, are adamant about their interests and wishes; and her older sister, Flora, is trying hard to be sophisticated and rise above the family chaos. Twelve-year-old Blue is obsessed with recording her life; and her narration is a mix of her diary entries and screenplay transcripts from her videos. Reminiscent of Hilary McKay's "Casson Family" series (S & S), this title features an unusual live-in babysitter, a no-nonsense grandmother, and assorted neighbors and school friends who contribute to the idiosyncratic events that the protagonist relates. Blue's pain at the loss of her sister is vivid and heart-wrenching, but never dire. Emotions both drive the plot and provide the humor. Blue has a crush on a neighborhood boy, who in turn is entranced with Flora. While the story is not particularly unique, it contains refreshingly entertaining characters who are sympathetic without being melodramatic. A realistic slice of life that bubbles with wit and charm.—Carol A. Edwards, Denver Public Library, CO - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 09/01/2013 Three years ago, Bluebell Gadsby’s twin sister, Iris, died, and it seems to twelve-year-old Bluebell like she’s the only one in their noisy English family who still misses her. Her mother has buried herself in an international career that keeps her away from home, and her father has found a job far from London and only returns occasionally, leaving Bluebell, her older sister, Flora, and her younger siblings in the care of a kindly but overwhelmed grad student au pair. After Bluebell begins to open up and confide in an appealing and handsome new boy, Joss, she’s crushed to find that Joss is really interested in Flora. Meanwhile, the family’s dysfunction increases, until disasters at home threaten to overshadow the anniversary of Iris’ death, the one day Bluebell was sure she’d have her family’s support in mourning. Tarrant writes with the effervescent, engaging style of her countrywomen Sue Limb or Hilary McKay, and the pell-mell family is a charming, motley crew with their tendency to create scenarios with their pet rats and slip out of their bedroom windows at all hours. Bluebell is poignantly marked out as the observer in a crowd of actors, identified by her tendency to see the world through her videocamera (interludes identifiable by their script format). The book isn’t as successful as McKay’s work, though, in balancing the loss with the cheerful chaos; the parents’ abdication is too complete for a satisfactory resolution, so the happy ending is not only overcontrived (Dad returns home in a helicopter, bringing the two lost youngest children and a Hollywood producer) but also superficial and dishonest in so easily redeeming irredeemable parental failure. The kids are still an appealing group, though, so readers who enjoy quirky family stories may want to follow the Gadsbys’ journey to reconciliation. DS - Copyright 2013 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.