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Wild Awake
Hilary T. Smith
Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera
Bryan Peterson
The Colour Of Trouble - Gerry Bobsien I still don’t know what the colour of trouble is, but the colour of this book is beige. An inoffensive enough shade, but one I feel completely indifferent to which does not make for easy reviewing. I can’t get enthusiastic about beige. Or even ranty about it. Beige is… boring.Maddy is a fifteen-year-old artist set on notoriety. She’s already painting, making clothes, skip-diving, and running a small business with her best friend Darcy – but it isn’t enough. Maddy wants to make waves. So when she finds a rare, seemingly discarded painting on throw-out day, she hatches a plan to make a name for herself in the art world. Of course, there’s always a downside to notoriety. I love creative, artistic characters in YA.. but this is no Graffiti Moon. My biggest gripe about The Colour of Trouble is that it so obviously reads like an adult writing about teenagers. There is an awkward disconnect in the dialogue and the characterisation that makes the author’s presence in the novel all too apparent. I couldn’t fully immerse myself in the story or care about the characters because I couldn’t ignore how wooden it all felt. If you’re after a laundry list of things the “quintessential” (cough) creative teen would be into though, you’ll find it here: Frankie, Moleskine notebooks, skip-diving, etsy, tumblr, busking, urban art, shirts with lilies painted on them… (apparently). This is part of the reason the book didn’t work for me – the references don’t feel organic - I felt like I was tripping over them where they stuck out from the story.The writing itself is serviceable but not really remarkable. There’s a lot of telling rather than showing, especially in terms of the characters’ emotions, which gives the story a bit of a detached, stilted feel. I feel like there was a real missed opportunity in terms of Maddy’s synaesthesia, which goes largely unexplored and under utilised in the writing. Instead, we get awkwardly inserted mini info dumps, making for some pretty dry dialogue:”…I can’t stop thinking about that colonial painter we learned about in class who did all the forging.”“Joseph Lycett?”“Yeah, what a guy. He was sent over as a convict for forging money and ended up being one of the most famous early painters.” Did you enjoy that little bit of Australian art trivia? You’re welcome. Frankly it that conversation nearly put me to sleep. Perhaps I’m being a little hard on this book, which some might find an endearing and fun lower YA read. Yet I can’t help but feel frustrated that The Colour of Trouble missed a great opportunity here.