Author: Toni Owen-Blue
Genre: Middle Grade/Family/Drama
Review: Before I get into my review about the story I want to start by saying that the artwork in this novel are absolutely stunning. I believe the pictures add a lot to the story and help you get a more physical and emotional sense of the novel. Also this novel is very short at only 85 pages. Although meant for middle grade children, I’d advise caution when allowing children to read Iris as it contains some themes about the age rating of the novel.
Iris is a novel which is centered on the heavy topic of child neglect and abuse. This book, at first, seems to be the straight forward story of a young girl who feels different, with an overly strict mother, no friends and wild fantasies, however it is so much more than that.
At school, Iris is constantly subject to ridicule due to her stutter, but when new girl, Lotus, appears in Iris’ class, having just transferred from London, Iris can’t help but feel drawn to her unique beauty and confidence. With Lotus equally drawn by Iris’ shy, inhibited nature, the two quickly become unlikely friends.
Judging a book by its cover, Iris’ mother refuses to allow Lotus and Iris to see each other outside of school, putting Lotus down just like she so often does to Iris. The constant criticism of her mother makes Iris feel stupid, fat and ugly, but Iris is ever so determined to continue her friendship with this new girl who makes her feel like she has an important place in the world and that she deserves to be happy.
I absolutely loved Iris and some of the profits from the book are going to help the NSPCC so I urge everyone to go and grab a copy of this book. Despite being so short this book is packed with so many different emotions that I could barely keep from crying while reading it. I really connected with Iris and I just wanted to take her away from it all but in another way it is a story reminiscent of the lives of real people who may just be reading this thinking they are Iris.
Buy it here: