Wednesday 8 March 2023

Indigo in the Storm

Indigo in the Storm by Kate Gordon (Riveted Press) Middle Grade / Young Adult RRP $19.99 ISBN 9 780645 218039

Reviewed by Susan Hancy

I’ve been looking forward to reading Indigo in the Storm – Kate Gordon’s latest companion novel to the 2021 CBCA Book of the Year for Younger Readers, Aster’s Good Right Things, and the recently announced 2023 CBCA Notable, Xavier in the Meantime.  My daughter and I both agreed – Indigo in the Storm is equally as enjoyable as Gordon’s earlier books.

Indigo is first introduced in Aster’s Good Right Things as an intriguing character who you want to know more about, and in Indigo in the Storm, Kate Gordon has treated us to a private viewing of what makes Indigo tick. It can be read and fully appreciated without having read the first two books because important elements of Indigo’s and the other main character’s backstories have been included.

Twelve-year-old Indigo is a wild loner at a fancy, hippy school in Tasmania. The things she says to others are not particularly nice, she often feigns disinterest, and she only believes that Aster and Xavier are her friends because they have to be. There is constantly a storm brewing inside Indigo, but she’s taking her medication every day and that takes the edge off the intensity of her emotions. And she knows from Aster’s Aunt Noni, who is currently fostering Indigo, that the medication won’t stop her being herself.  That’s a good thing because she wants the storm inside her to erupt. She wants to make a statement as large as the sky. She wants her mother to see it and come back.

Despite years of mistreatment and neglect by her much-gossiped-about mother with dubious habits, Indigo still loves her and believes she’s been left behind because she’s not worth being cared about. Reluctantly – because she isn’t the type of person who needs friends – she allows a new boy at school, Liam, to befriend her.  Like Indigo, Liam has a natural talent for art, and Liam also knows how to attract attention.  Indigo wants to learn from him how she can do something so bold and revolutionary that her mother will see it from afar and return for her. But when she lets down her wall to allow Liam in, he betrays her trust and, like a hurricane, Indigo spirals out of control.

When Indigo is at her most broken, Noni tells her something which could really cut her to the core. As the reader, I wondered why Noni would choose this vulnerable moment. Perhaps she did so because she knew Indigo had those who truly loved her close by her side. This event allows the story to be drawn to a satisfying conclusion, while still leaving the reader wanting to know more about some of the side characters like Sam and Liam in future books.

This book deals with strong feelings and mental health issues and is appropriate for readers aged 10 to 12 years. It would also appeal to YA readers.

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