When you read a book like Rebecca Westcott’s first novel, Dandelion Clocks, a moving tale of a young girl facing a family tragedy, it makes you think two things: where can I get more, and how is the author possibly going to top it? “More” is in the form of Westcott’s next novel, Violet Ink. As to whether it is better than her first novel… read on to find out!
Thirteen year old Izzy is looking forward to a mellow yellow (she associates all her emotions with particular colours) happy year, but when her dramatic sister Alex gets a new boyfriend, Alex begins acting strange, putting their close sisterly bond in trouble. Once again, Westcott has used the theme of family to produce a book that tugs at the heartstrings, while realistically portraying issues that young tweens & teens face. The relationships in the novel make it special – from Izzy and Alex’s deteriorating bond, to the relationship between Izzy and her mother, and her mother and Alex. Each character is well rounded, and how they interact with each other is carefully crafted.
Izzy is something of an outsider during the course of the book. She knows something is wrong with her sister, but Alex isn’t confiding in her like she used to. She’s stuck at that awkward age of being old enough to want to be treated as an adult, but not old enough for others to trust her with talking about what is going on. But while the plot of the novel isn’t driven by Izzy herself, she is no passive character. She actively seeks to find out what is going on, and plays a big part in helping her sister get through a hard time, and in getting her family to come together.
Violet Ink is not as tear-inducing as Dandelion Clocks, but it still packs a lot of emotional weight in there. Suitable for tweens and young teens, it is a wonderful example of a relatable family-centric novel.