Colour Me In by Lydia Ruffles

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Colour Me In by Lydia Ruffles

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Stephen Leach
Reviewed by Stephen Leach
Summary: Thoughtful and intense, this is a perfect read for anyone who enjoys intense young-adult fiction.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 352 Date: August 2018
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
ISBN: 978-1444937688

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Reeling from a tragedy and unable to cope, unemployed actor Arlo decides to get on a plane and go somewhere new.

I've been in a protracted reading slump lately, so chose Colour Me In to try and break me out of it. (Plus, the proof is so beautiful – multicoloured sprayed edges and everything – how could I resist?) It turns out the insides are much more intense than the cover would suggest.

This novel, like so much young-adult fiction of late, explores issues of mental health in young people – to be specific, it's a haunting and plaintive look into what it's like to struggle with feelings of grief and hopelessness, as well as the sense of aimlessness often experienced by those who enjoy early success. But beyond that, it's also a startling portrayal of what it means to be young and lost – albeit one that occasionally veers into being a touch idealistic. But that's the beauty of the novel in a way – it paints a picture that's equal shades alluring and melancholy, and often both at once.

The choice to write in third person present-tense is an interesting one, and lends the novel a slow, slightly dreamy quality, but means that it never really picks up much speed. This makes immersing yourself in the plot difficult – and it took me a while to really get into it – but the chapters are reasonably quick and so in a lot of places the story feels rather like a series of rapid snapshots.

I haven't read Lydia Ruffles' first book (The Taste of Blue Light) but I'll be on the lookout for it. Colour Me In is a heavy read, and not one I'll be returning to in a hurry – it needs time to digest – but if YA is your thing, you will love this. Expect to be hearing about this a lot in the months to come.

If you've not had your fill of books that might make you cry, The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner and ppOrbiting Jupiter by Gary D Schmidt]] are both powerful, hard-hitting YA books I loved.

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Buy Colour Me In by Lydia Ruffles at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Colour Me In by Lydia Ruffles at


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