Fire Colour One, Paperback Book
3 out of 5 (1 rating)


A bold and brilliant novel about love, lies and redemption, from award-winning author, Jenny Valentine - one of the greatest YA voices of her generation.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.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication Date:
  • ISBN: 9780007512362

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This novel was a very difficult one for me to review.The story was beautifully written. I quickly fell in love with Valentine's use of prose and absolutely devoured the novel. It's a short but very sweet novel with plenty of food for thought. Iris explores such topics as death, beauty and morality through her endless musing and conversations with Thurston and Ernest. The story offers a lot of food for thought it an aesthetically pleasing way.Yet, I did have some major issues with the structure of the story. It has a Vonnegut-esque broken narrative, fluctuating between events in the past, present and future. While this suits some novels very well, I felt that it really hindered the bond between Iris and Ernest. Iris would resent him in one scene, only for the novel to flash forward and show her caring for him. As we never really saw the gradual development of their relationship, I could not fully empathise with Iris's loss.Yet the characters in the novel were really vibrant and memorable. Iris is a realistic protagonist. Her deep flaws come to the surface through her obsession with starting fires but she is still completely relatable. She grows deeper and deeper as the story progresses and presents a thoroughly sympathetic and likable narrative voice.The supporting cast are also fantastic. Everyone should have a friend like Thurston and Ernest is a fantastically complex character, especially in hindsight based on what I learned in the novel's last couple of chapters. The only characters that I'm not sure about were Hannah and Lowell. While they were very easy to hate, they seemed incredibly shallow. They were almost like Roald Dahl villains, existing purely for the satisfaction of their comeuppance.All in all, Fire Colour One is a very strange novel that I think will divide audiences. It’s beautifully written, quotable and has a colourful cast but it does contain a few deep flaws in term of story structure. Yet the novel was incredibly memorable on the whole and is definitely something that I’d recommend to fans of contemporary character studies.

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