Thank you to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting to participate in this blog tour.
When Riley watched Chroma, the latest movie by Armani Manora, he had no idea how much his life was about to change. Riley’s parents, Jean and Paul, are currently getting divorced, and they have managed to keep the situation hidden from Riley, until now.
They were unaware of the effects this was having on Riley’s emotional and mental well-being, and as tensions rose at school and at home, he was visited by a voice in his bedroom. Before too long, he began a journey that was not only dangerous, but eye opening.
Chroma explores the rapidly changing family dynamic throughout divorce, and how a child’s imagination can take them to unknown places. It is emotional, insightful and a moving story which not only teaches us how to be an adult, but how to be a child.
Chroma by Oscar Wenman-Hyde is one of those books that is really difficult to classify in terms of genre or even target age category. It is an interesting mix of thriller, mystery, sci-fi, middle grade, (I’d still argue that the target age group is adults) and literary fiction, all blended into a very visual, cinematographic experience.
The protagonist of the book, eight-year-old Riley, knows that something has changed in his parents’ relationship and these changes are both scary and confusing. In fact, Jean and Paul are going through divorce, but would like to keep it secret from Riley. They need to work out how to move forward and build up a new life without sacrificing Riley’s emotional well-being and sense of security. Riley is a fan of Armani Manora’s sci-fi films and can’t wait to see his latest release Chroma. Exhausted Jean knows some of her parental choices might be debatable, including that of allowing Riley see films intended for much older audience. She intends to supervise watching the film and cover Riley’s eyes should any scenes become too scary or violent, but…she falls asleep and lets Chroma work its powers on her sensitive and imaginative child.
Surprisingly few books deal with the topic of divorce from the perspective of a child. Riley is propelled into this new reality and has to find a way to understand and cope with the changes. We also get Jean and Paul’s points of view, which make it even more evident that Riley (as any child in this kind of situation) has to operate with very little knowledge of what is going on and has to fill in the gaps by using his imagination. I really liked the title evocative of the purity and complexity of the protagonists’ emotions, but also reminding us that every family is different and every divorce is different and there are myriads of factors to take into account.
Would I go to see the film this book should definitely be made into? Of course! The topic, the characters and their feelings are all highly relatable. Even if you are one of those lucky people whose life hasn’t been touched by divorce, we all have the universal experience of childhood as the time of great discoveries and intense feelings.
Thank you to Rachel and the author for the review copy. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.
Author Bio –
Oscar Wenman-Hyde is a writer living in Gloucester, UK. Born and raised in the quiet towns of North Devon, Oscar would spend the majority of his time as a child writing and directing short films with his brother and neighbours. From here, Oscar’s passion led him to explore all aspects of his creativity, by graduating with a BA Hons in Songwriting at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. He now finds joy in all mediums of writing and although he has worked and trained in many areas, he is always inspired by film and remains grounded in storytelling.
Social Media Links –
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OJ-Scriptwriting-106185034262166
- Instagram: @oj_scriptwriters & @oscarwenmanhyde
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Sounds like a powerful story, Toni. Excellent review!
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Thank you, Marialyce! It’s a debut book, so it isn’t perfect, but the story was moving. I’m not sure how much of it was based on his own childhood.
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