Dear Vincent by Mandy Hager, Random House NZ
Another excellent cover - mainly thanks to Vincent Van Gogh’s superb Starry Night painting. It introduces a theme that weaves through this richly-drawn YA story like a brilliant thread of colour - the main character’s fascination with Van Gogh and his works. Tara is having a tough time. Her older sister died a few years ago, her father had a stroke and needs constant nursing, money is tight, and Tara’s mother never has a kind word to say to her. The only decent thing in her life is her artwork - and her hope of going to art school. It’s a searing beginning, and things only get worse when Tara discovers what really happened when her sister died. She flees from the family home, but fortunately is given help and support by an elderly gentleman who’s staying at the rest-home where Tara works part-time. He has a grandson who also befriends her. But Tara is driven to go to Ireland to see her sister’s last resting place - and dangerous influences force her to risk everything. Packed with emotion, riven with sadness, brightened with hope - this story pulls you in, spins you round and spits you out the other end with tears in your eyes. Read it!
ISBN 978 1 77553 327 6 RRP $19.99 Pb
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman