Tag Archives: natasha farrant

Book Review: Time for Jas by Natasha Farrant

Related Posts: Book Review: After Iris |  Book Review: All About Pumpkin

Published 18th August 2016 by Faber and Faber.

29361182Goodreads Synopsis: Bluebell and her siblings are beginning a new school year. Suddenly everyone is freaking out. Twig has taken up violent team sports, poor Jas is being bullied by the ghastly Cupcake Crew and Blue has a big decision to make.

There are fights and crying fits. Halloween parades gone wrong and secret graffiti artists. Confusing friendships and life-changing choices. But there is also laughter and above all, there is love – and that’s what being a family is all about.

My Review: I’ve adored The Diaries of Bluebell Gadsby series from the start, and was so excited to read this latest title. I think this is actually the last book, and I’m really sad to see this series coming to a close – the story of Bluebell and her family has been such a lovely story to follow!

The main thing I love about this whole series is the format in which the books are written – it’s half in Bluebell’s physical diary entries, and half written as transcripts of her filming, as she’s a budding documentary filmmaker and watches her family through her camera lens. I adore the switching styles, and it brings such a unique perspective to the story – it feels fun, refreshing and energetic.

It actually felt incredibly nostalgic to be revisiting the Gadbsy family again, as it’s been a while since the last book! They’re such a chaotic bunch of people, and it feels like I know them. I’ve never loved a fictional family so much. In this book, I loved how Farrant takes the time to explore how each of the children develop as they start a new year at school. Each of them is grappling with a new challenge – from Jas facing bullying, to Flora starting a drama school far away. If this is indeed the last book, I’m going to miss reading about them so much.

Farrant has squeezed so many important topics into this story – from family and peer pressure, to scary big changes. There’s also of course still the overhanging grief of Bluebell’s lost twin sister, which has been talked about throughout the series. In this book, the theme of grief isn’t as prominent – Blue addresses her sister a couple of times and it was really emotional to see how she’s developed and changed her life. Oh my god these characters feel so real.

The events in the book were really cute and heartwarming. I love how Farrant writes about some really emotional stuff whilst still managing to keep it upbeat, hopeful and hard not to smile at. It may have been just because I haven’t read this series in a while, but nothing completely blew me away – that’s not to say it wasn’t a great read at all, which it was. It was so enjoyable (and a lovely break from my boring A Level reading!) but not something that massively moved me.

Overall, Time for Jas was a really enjoyable read – perfect for middle grade readers as well as readers of younger YA. As with the rest of the series, it touches on many interesting and complex themes, and is simultaneously really engaging and funny too. I highly recommend this, and the whole series, if you haven’t yet gotten around to it! The Diaries of Bluebell Gadsby are undoubtedly one of the most heartwarming and loveable series out there.

My Rating:

three and a half

I received a copy of Time for Jas from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Book Review: All About Pumpkin by Natasha Farrant

The Diaries of Bluebell Gadsby #3 | Read my review of book one, After Iris, here

Published September 2015 by Faber.

24321595Goodreads Synopsis: It’s the summer holidays and Flora has gone off with Dad to the exotic set of his new film and Mum is at home having a much-needed rest with baby Pumpkin. Bluebell, Twig and Jas have been sent to stay with Grandma at Horsehill in the countryside.

With Grandma keen that the children get as much fresh air as possible, they are sent off on bikes to go wild swimming and befriend the boys next door. With so much freedom, they can’t help but get into trouble, and Grandma doesn’t seem to be as capable as looking after them as she should be…

My Review: I’ve been a fan of Natasha Farrant since the first book in this series, After Iris – so I was really excited when I was offered the chance to review the third title, especially as it’s being published in the new cover style that the whole series is being re-modelled with. Isn’t it pretty?!

Like the previous two books in the series, All About Pumpkin is half transcripts from Bluebell’s filming, and half diary entry. I love the format so much, and I always say that when I’m talking about these books – I just think it’s such a good idea, and Farrant writes both formats so brilliantly! The film transcripts are so much fun, and always very witty.

In this instalment of the series, the latest member of the family, Pumpkin, has been born – and he’s taking up everybody’s time. Bluebell’s dad and eldest sister are in New Zealand, and unable to cope, her mum sends her and her younger siblings off to their grandma’s so she can cope with just the new baby – but inevitably, being the Gadsby family, things always end up going a little wrong.

I honestly can’t find the words to describe how much I love the Gadsby family, and these books – each one has a completely fresh-feeling, fun plot. Natasha Farrant is leading the way in children’s fiction – her books are so entertaining, and I love escaping into the fictional family’s antics for a while so much. Although the Bluebell Gadsby books have their fair share of emotional bits, there’s an equal amount of hilarious moments – Farrant has got the balance of the two perfect. I also really enjoyed the way that Farrant explored the Gadsby family in All About Pumpkin, as I feel like it put a lot of focus on the younger siblings, like Jasmine, who is so loveable.

Overall, I really enjoyed All About Pumpkin – it was actually the one book that managed to get me out of a month-long reading slump! It’s such a joy to revisit these characters, and I’m really looking forward to the next in the series – they feel like such timeless classics and I love to read them no matter what mood I’m in. I really recommend All About Pumpkin, and all three books so far if you haven’t tried them yet – as they’re just such fantastic reads, no matter what genre or age category you usually might stick to.

My Rating:

four

I received a copy of All About Pumpkin from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.