Library Journal Review
Gr 8 Up-After pyromaniac Iris gets caught setting yet another fire, her mom, Hannah, and her stepfather whisk her from America to London, to live with Ernest, the father she's never met. Ernest is dying, and Hannah is desperate to get her hands on his fortune and priceless art collection. As Iris spends more time with Ernest, though, she begins to realize that he's not the man she's been taught to hate her whole life. They bond quickly over their shared love of art, in particular Fire Color One, a painting by Yves Klein that Iris learned about with her best friend, Thurston. Meanwhile, Thurston is somewhere on the other side of the world, and she has no way to reach him. A Carnegie Medal finalist, this beautifully written and darkly funny novel ends with a twist that will keep readers turning the pages long after bedtime. VERDICT With family dysfunction at its center, this is a poignant story about the power of art to connect and transform from the author of Me, the Missing, and the Dead.-Sarah Polace, Cuyahoga Public Library System, OH © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
Iris is only truly happy when she's watching fire. She's certainly not happy spending time with her vain, indifferent mother or her fame-hungry stepdad. And she isn't pleased to be dragged across the ocean to meet the father who abandoned her even if he is dying. She quickly learns, however, the stories she was told about her dad might not be the whole truth. Iris and her father bond over a shared knowledge of art (he is an accomplished buyer), forging a connection beyond blood. Valentine (Me, the Missing, and the Dead, 2008) has composed a beautifully written exploration of the longing to know where one comes from, tempered by a fear of rejection. The story authentically captures both Iris' exhilaration when she's transfixed by a flame, and her pain and confusion as she forges a relationship with a man about whom she's never heard a good word. This is a quiet, reflective novel that blooms into a thrilling mystery, and its complex family dynamics will appeal to fans of Jenny Downham's Unbecoming (2016).--Horan, Molly Copyright 2016 Booklist