The Deception Artist by Fayette Fox

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The Deception Artist by Fayette Fox

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Kenzie Millar
Reviewed by Kenzie Millar
Summary: Eight-year-old Ivy’s family life is strained as her brother is in hospital and her father loses his job. Her best friend thinks she is babyish for playing make believe. And her grandmother wants her to do ballet, when she just loves to dance around her room with scarves. This is her life as she sees it.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 278 Date: May 2013
Publisher: Myriad Editions
ISBN: 978-1908434241

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This story is all about the characters. Plot-wise, it is set in 1980s suburban America. There are no explosions or even fairy tale adventures in this book. It’s just the simple adventure of life when you’re a child and learning new things every day. Ivy accounts her day-to-day life with an extreme attention to the strangest details, just like a child. As well as explaining what she has learnt in school, she describes her daydreams, her friends and her family. When her dad loses his job, her parents start arguing and she is worried they might have to get a divorce like sad Sara in her class. And not only that, they might have to return their new TV.

Ivy is a brilliant character and Fox writes her perspective incredibly naturally. I was surprised by how real Ivy’s thoughts felt. Her family and friends are just as interesting. The book deals with very human topics: redundancy, growing up, creativity, and parenting. But they are all seen through Ivy’s eyes. Because of Ivy’s age, she doesn’t even necessarily realise this is what her story is about. And that is what makes her so lovable. It also makes this story very refreshing.

Fox manages to create individual, well-rounded characters despite only getting Ivy’s passing remarks or thoughts about them. Although her perspective is definitely that of a child, you can read between the lines to glean the motivations of those around her. The relationship between her parents and the tensions between work and home particularly engaged me.

One drawback of Ivy’s perspective is that she can often go on frustrating tangents. While these are often great comic moments, sometimes they make the book feel a little slow going. But I think it is well worth persevering. The last third of the book moved much quicker for me, as this is when an element of mystery enters the plot.

I was a little disappointed with the figure of the Artist as I think she could have been developed more. I feel like her introduction is what started to draw me into the book, but she was never fully realised as a character. I think this lets down the other great characters in the book. Despite this, 'The Deception Artist' is a very impressive debut. All the characters are complicated but overall sympathetic. Apart from anything else, a reader can’t help but fall for Ivy.

For a similar family focused novel, although with a different setting, Homecoming by Susie Steiner might appeal.

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Buy The Deception Artist by Fayette Fox at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Deception Artist by Fayette Fox at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Deception Artist by Fayette Fox at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Deception Artist by Fayette Fox at


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