The main plot point is Iris, the protagonist, discovering the existence of her dying father and getting to know him during his final breaths. It’s a basic concept, but was a refreshing story about family – love ’em, or hate ’em, we’ve all got them. The story was so fleshed out with back story, and context of the painting being discussed, I was never bored while reading. In fact, I read the first 60% in an hour, it was so addictive and fast paced.
Iris’s perspective was extremely enjoyable. She was going through some tough things, not happy with the people in her life she couldn’t escape. Her character quirk is setting fire to things, and having never read about arson before, I was intrigued by the burning descriptions and thought Valentine did a great job of capturing the character’s feelings in her actions.
Because of the art references, and absolutely beautiful style of writing, I’d recommend ‘Fire Colour One’ to anyone who enjoyed ‘I’ll Give You The Sun’ by Jandy Nelson. Although this book included no romantic love, one of the main themes of Nelson’s book, it had very much the same feel. Reading this book brought the same emotions as reading ‘I’ll Give You The Sun’, which is never a bad thing!
Getting to know Ernest, along with Iris, was fantastic. The way their relationship developed throughout the novel, from estrangement to intimacy was heart warming. I thought it carried a lovely message about it never being too late to get to know someone, or showing that you care. Family doesn’t often play a significant role in YA, so for it to be the focal point of this novel filled me with hope of how the genre will evolve.
Valentine did an excellent job at controlling the way you felt about characters. You were angry at Iris’s mother’s materialistic attitude. You were annoyed at Thurston, the best friend, for misunderstanding. As a reader, you felt how strange and new Ernest’s environment was to Iris. I don’t think I’ve ever been so controlled by a book, and agreed so whole heartedly with the direction of the story.
Overall, I’m going to give this 5 stars. I just loved it. Devoured it. Consumed it as quickly as flame consumes paper. It was new and different and fun to read. There was literally no part of this book that I didn’t enjoy. And the ending made me want to applaud. I will now definitely pick up more of Jenny Valentine’s writing!