Summary: Blue, full name Bluebell, is living in the most unusual family I have ever heard of. Because both of her parents are constantly, and I mean constantly, away on business trips, Blue and her siblings are babysat by college-aged Zoran. His cooking skills are, sadly, limited. Blue’s siblings are unique in their own ways – Blue’s older sister, Flora, is a typical rebellious teen who dyed her whole head of hair a vibrant shade of purple. Twig and Jas are the younger kids, completely obsessed with their pet rats. You might think that Blue is absolutely, completely normal, in contrast to her family. Nope! She’s antisocial and films her life instead of living it. And to top this family off, Blue’s twin sister Iris died years ago, which is one of the reasons this family acts so haphazard. Blue’s strategy to cope with her life is to stick to the shadows, but her quiet way of life is threatened when her new neighbor Joss decides that he’s going to rescue her from being forgotten. As you are introduced to Blue and her surrounding cast of characters, you realize that Blue needs to let go of her past and live in the present – but can she embrace it?
Recommendation: Even though it may seem like it, After Iris is not your typical drama-llama teenagery book. The author, Natasha Ferrant, goes to a much deeper level than just describing Blue and her dramatic life. Each of the characters is interesting and realistic, having both good and bad sides. Flora is eccentric and a drama queen, as well as protective and loving towards her siblings. Twin and Jas may be overly obsessed with their rats, but they are also caring and sweet. My heart went out to Blue, who hides from any confrontations at all, including just talking to people. However, I warn you not to get too attached to anyone or anything in this book. Not that anyone is going to die; After Iris is tragic in a different way. After you expose your mental health by becoming interested and attached, the book violently attacks you. Your heart is broken, then sewn back together again, and then, when you finally think you’re safe, the book brings out a blender and shreds your feelings like an innocent potato. Did you like my description? Not fun to go through. Other than that vivid warning I gave you, there aren’t any other things you should be worried about in this book. Completely recommended.
Favorite Passage: “All eyes are turned to the door, drawn by the whir and squeak that followed the opening creak. […] For sitting in the doorway, strapped into a remote-controlled model of a Jaguar XK120 SE DHC convertible, is a large white rat.”