BOOK REVIEW: The Colour of Trouble (Gerry Bobsien, Walker Books)

Fifteen-year-old Maddy has synaesthesia, which means her senses are cross-wired and she sees sounds and tastes colour. As an artist, it gives her a unique take on the world, but more than anything, she wants to be infamous. With best friend Darcy, Maddy spends her time working on new designs for their business and finding creative ways to get them into trouble and into the newspapers. But when Maddy goes too far with an elaborate hoax, she discovers that notoriety in the art world can have disastrous consequences. In her second book for girls (aged 12 and up), Gerry Bobsien brings an artist’s touch to the story about what it means to make your mark on the world. While Maddy’s synaesthesia often feels underused, the novel itself—like its spirited protagonist— lives and breathes art. As with many teenagers, art gives Maddy a connection to the world beyond her bedroom. But, unlike other similarly themed novels, Maddy isn’t a loner—rather, she’s surrounded by friends and mentors who understand, support and challenge her, giving this book a particularly welcoming feel. It’s a world that likeminded readers will want to inhabit, brought to life through Bobsien’s relaxed, engaging and down-to-earth style.

Meredith Tate is a freelance proofreader and book reviewer who has worked for a children’s publisher.  This review first appeared in the April/May issue of Bookseller+Publisher Magazine. View more pre-publication reviews here.

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