Colour Me In by Lydia Ruffles – Book Review

Title: Colour Me In

Author: Lydia Ruffles

Genre/Themes: Young Adult Contemporary, Mental Health, Anxiety, Depression

Blurb from Goodreads


Nineteen-year-old actor Arlo likes nothing more than howling across the skyline with best friend Luke from the roof of their apartment. But when something irreparable happens and familiar black weeds start to crawl inside him, Arlo flees to the other side of the world, taking only a sketchbook full of maps.

With its steaming soup and neon lights, this new place is both comforting and isolating. There, Arlo meets fellow traveller Mizuki. Something about her feels more like home than he’s felt in a while. But what is Mizuki searching for?


My Review

This was ambling towards a positive three star read ….which was actually disappointing me a little because I have read and adored Lydia Ruffles’ debut novel The Taste of Blue Light.

But then BAM!

That last third just sucker punched me right in the feels and I suddenly could see this beautiful novel come to life.

It was almost like looking at an oil painting from too close; you can see all these component parts, the colours, the light, the dark… But then when you stand at the perfect distance it all comes together in the most magnificent of ways.

And that’s what the final third of this book was, absolute clarity.

Was Mizuki somewhat of a manic dream pixie character? It’s arguable I guess. But then this novel really is all about Arlo, the secondary characters are almost superfluous because the novel is a reflection on his life and how his existence is akin to a manic sort of dream as he becomes more and more engulfed by his grief.

What’s certainly true from reading both of Ruffles’ novels is that she is a brilliant writer. Her prose is exquisite. And what is more she is a writer who really understands emotional torment. She gives an authentic voice to those mired in loss, in anxiety, in depression.

She is 100% an auto buy author for me.


Other Works by Lydia Ruffles I’ve Reviewed

My Socials

10 thoughts on “Colour Me In by Lydia Ruffles – Book Review

  1. Ooh, is this magical realism? That part of the blurb: ‘familiar black weeds start to crawl inside him’ or is that all just metaphor? 😅 This sounds really good… I’m gonna have to check it out!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s just really good metaphor. But I think that’s where Ruffles excels because she has such a visual style of writing. As in it’s really easy to truly feel all that the chargers are feeling etc. I love both of her ya books so much that she’s now an auto buy author for me 🙂


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