The Colour of Shadows | Phyllida Shrimpton | Review

“If I was a wild animal, I would be a bird and fly away”

“Homeless people are nothing more than the shadows of real people”

“However bad we think our life is, theres always something good there if we look hard enough for it”





Saffron is a teenager that has been through more than most in her short life. It is about to become worse for her. Saffron stumbles across a hidden secret about her mother that her father has kept from her for 10 years. Saffron’s mother is not dead. Angry at the deceit of her father, Saffron leaves home. Homeless and vulnerable, The Colour of Shadows follows Saffron’s journey through her mental health issues and her new found homeless situation.


I was lucky enough to be given this book through readers first, thank you Hot Key Books! This is not my normal type of read however it was such a nice change. I thoroughly enjoyed this book it was such an important read and feel like it sends key messages to its audience, especially those of a younger generation. I actually devoured this book in one sitting, I could not put it down. It certainly explores key themes including homelessness, family, friendship, drugs and mental health. My favourite part of the book was the emphasis on the safety of young people, and how the decisions that they make can actually put them into a lot of danger. It really opened my eyes to the big wide world with all the monsters than can lie within it. I also think that the author did a very good job with exploring how Saffron feels at the different stages within this book. Saffron was a very erratic character and she could be very frustrating at times however the author managed to reason with why she was acting the way that she was and it helped you to understand and sympathise with the character.

The part of the book that is very much worth mentioning is when we meet all the different homeless people that Saffron has met along her journey. We hear their individual story in turn and find that there are many circumstances that can lead to homelessness and that there is not just one set reason. We also discover that the use of drugs in this community is prevalent just to get by and deal with their everyday life. The book in no way glamourises the use of drugs it actually deters and we hear the characters discussing that they wouldn’t take drugs and they would get the help if they were able to do so.

I do feel like parts of this book was very dramatic and farfetched however it could happen, and I think it is important that somebody is bringing it to our attention with solutions on how to cope and how to stay safe. I also didn’t like Saffron as a character very much however I did end up sympathising with her and feel like her character wasn’t meant to be a likeable one in its entirety. I feel like the story behind her mother not being deceased was forgotten about through a lot of this book and actually instead of being the main plot it was in fact only a side plot. Despite this I feel like the experiences that Saffron faced were actually more important than the plot and I feel like it was done very well.

I could talk about this book all day, it pleasantly surprised me and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I think that every teenager/young adult should read this as well as older generations so that they can get an insight into these current and very prevalent themes within society. I will definitely be reading more books from Phyllida Shrimpton.

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