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Iris knows why her mother and Lowell moved them all to England. They said it was because of her arson charges, but Iris knows it’s really because they ran out of money and need to come crawling back to her filthy rich dad, Ernest, who abandoned them so long ago that Iris doesn’t even remember him. When they find out Ernest is terminally ill with only months to live, Iris’ mom is ecstatic. Soon the fortune will be theirs! At Ernest’s request Iris, her mom, and Lowell all travel to visit him at his estate. Iris is stunned by Ernest’s art collection. But everything seems to remind her of her best friend, Thurston, who was a New York performance artist and whom she will never see again. Or get to apologize to. She expects to get an apology from Ernest, but soon learns that her mother’s side of the story may not be the whole truth. With only a few weeks to develop a relationship with the father she has never known, and to figure out her relationship with the mother who has deceived her, Iris knows healing can only come from two things: fire and art.
Rich in imagery, this novel explores the relationships of a dysfunctional family and eccentric friends with an endearing protagonist whose only means of release and escape is lighting fires. The book will find its audience with teens who enjoy realistic fiction and literary fiction.