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The Colour of Shadows
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The Colour of Shadows (Paperback)

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A moving portrayal of a teenager coming to terms with a secret about her mother that her father decided to keep from her . . . was he right to do so? Saffron must work that out . . .

Seventeen year old Saffron discovers a secret in the attic - a secret that changes both her past and her future...

Having believed ten years ago that her mother had become ill and subsequently died, Saffron learns that her mother is in fact alive and well. Angry at the years of deceit from her father and step mother, she goes in search of the truth about her mother - and leaves home.

Homeless and alone, Saffron has to deal with the mental turmoil and anger at her father as she processes the lies she has been told. And then Saffron comes face to face with the dangers of being a homeless teenage girl . . .

Children'sFiction & true storiesGeneral fictionChildren'sPersonal & social issuesFamily issues Publisher: Hot Key Books Publication Date: 07/02/2019 ISBN-13: 9781471407611  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
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Phyllida Shrimpton is a full-time mother of a teenage daughter and currently lives inEssex with her husband, their rescued Newfoundland and small badly behaved JackRussell. She achieved a postgraduate degree in HumanResource Management, but soon jumped ship to work with teenagers, includingstudents with Asperger's syndrome, on an Essex-based agricultural college farmbefore eventually moving to live temporarily in the Netherlands. She is also anartist. Sunflowers in February isher first novel.

More books by Phyllida Shrimpton

Customer Reviews

I have very much enjoyed reading this book. It is about a privileged girl who has everything she could want, but what she really wants is her mother who she was told had died when she was a young girl, a discovery made by Saffy turns her whole world upside down. Saffys friend Tom tries to help Saffy see sense when she leaves home but all Saffy can see is that everyone is against her. While Saffy is busy shouting about all her problems, Tom is quietly getting on with his. I really love how this book has given insight into the many, many homeless people forced to live on the streets, the life stories and situations which people have to tell about how they ended up living the life they do could be any one of us, it only takes one event for our lives to change. I would thoroughly recommend this book for both adults and teenagers alike, a very good read!

- 13/02/2019
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Conflicting messages in a wildly unrealistic YA drama on homelessness. Phyllida Shrimpton’s ambitious second young adult novel is a snapshot into the life of materialistic and hot-headed seventeen-year-old, Saffron Hayes, stumbling upon a hitherto unknown secret from her past and descending into turmoil. When an A-Level project leads Saffron to learn that her birth mother is not in actual fact dead as her father, Edward, has always led her to believe, it challenges every significant memory of her family life. She is launched into a world of anger and hurt as it shakes up the stable family life in the Hayes household with a generous father, a much denigrated stepmother, Melanie, two brothers and a younger stepsister all caught in the crossfire. The knowledge that her father has manipulated her whole world for what she believes are entirely selfish reasons and a chance to replace her mother with a younger and prettier second version in Melanie leaves Saffron seething. Too impetuous and stubborn to even give her father an opportunity to explain the circumstances and further incensed by her thirteen-year-old brother’s indifferent reaction, she storms off in a fit of pique. Expecting salvation in the shape of her best friend, nineteen-year-old Tom, it also brings to a head the chemistry that they share. Two years her senior, Tom, entered Saffron’s life when she was just a stroppy seven-year-old in the local park and his diametrically opposed background and life on a council estate have left him achingly aware of Saffron’s advantageous life and her easy come, easy go attitude towards everything from possessions to her generous allowance and a home full of convenience. But when Tom refuses to allow Saffron to sofa surf at his flat it leads her to discover her inability to book accommodation in a hotel room, night shelter or youth hostel as an unaccompanied seventeen-year-old. After ending up sleeping rough under a covered bridge she is given an insight into everything from soup kitchens to nightclub turning out time as a homeless person. From the inability to register for benefits without an fixed address and other practical issues, Phyllida Shrimpton’s story goes on to pose more significant questions (does adversity have to make you ammoral?, does a roof over head make you a better person?) and also attempts to shed a light on the challenges that the homeless face re-entering mainstream society. The narrative is split between Saffron and nineteen-year-old, Tom, with both speaking directly to the reader in the first-person and alongside Tom’s emotional maturity and understanding, naive Saffron makes for an unedifying contrast with her attitude and hideously affected rants. I doubt there can be many seventeen-year-olds with such an unrealistic idea of what homelessness entails and as a consequence, Saffron’s narrative borders on talking down to its target audience. From thinking she is open-minded and aware of the realities of life the use of derogatory terms and casual slights (such as “looney tunes”, “apple destined for the fruit pot”) throughout Saffron’s narrative proves disappointing. Added to this is Saffron’s own reason for fleeing her home and putting her story on a par with the vulnerable, abused and hideously unlucky legions that take to a life on the street does not sit well. The story is largely seen through rose-tinted spectacles which highlight the generosity of fellow homeless people and incidents including a lucky escape from a potential paedophile are given a naively positive spin. Whilst the plot is fast-moving, covers an admirably ambitious scope and will certainly give much food for thought, the meaningful life lessons are writ large and far from subtle. The punchy narrative with moments of humour does make for easy reading, however Saffron’s point of view dominates the plot and the pity is that the mature and memorable characters of Tom and teenage brother, Daniel, are not given more airtime. Very little insight is given into the attempts by her father to present his own case and illuminate spiky Saffron to the other side of the story and the battle to keep his family together. Sadly I was not entirely convinced that much character development of protagonist Saffron actually took place and I doubted whether the experience taught her a meaningful lesson in just how fortunate she is. With a slightly more winsome protagonist and a more understated tone Phyllida Shrimpton’s novel would have had all the ingredients to be a must read education lesson for many teens, but as it is it stands it feels like a missed opportunity and left me with decidedly mixed feelings.

- 07/02/2019
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I absolutely loved this book and am really sad to be saying goodbye to Saffron and Tom who are such incredible characters. I really liked how the chapters would switch to and from their perspectives and how the story was written in the first person. I found the writing style really fast paced and addictive and just didn't want to put this book down. Saffron was such a strong and dynamic character and I really felt like I was there experiencing her journey following her discovery of a secret regarding her mother who left when she was just 7 years old who Saffron was told had later passed away. She really grew up and learnt a lot not only about herself but the world around her in the 7 days that this story spans, following the revelation that left her no longer wanting to speak to or see her father, step mother or siblings. This story also tackled the difficult theme of homelessness in a really powerful and sensitive way that made me think and reflect on some of my prior beliefs. The insight in to this community made me feel quite emotional, especially learning of their back stories, in particular that of Maggie. The little twists along the way were clever too and I really loved how powerful friendship and family is throughout the story. I would love for everyone to have someone as kind, thoughtful and caring as Tom in their lives. I would recommend this book to everyone and will definitely be reading Phyllida's first novel now after enjoying this one so much!

- 06/02/2019
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