This is a big book for any young (and not so young) reader, so you’re going to have to love the story to stick with it. But Patrice Lawrence does big stories with heart and soul: her award-winning Orangeboy packed a solid 449 pages.
Indigo Donut is told in alternating points of view by Bailey and Indigo, who meet in sixth-form college where their rocky romance kicks off. Indigo thinks very little of Bailey initially, so her sudden change of heart comes as something of a surprise to the reader. They couldn’t be from more different backgrounds: Bailey is the single much-loved son of professional parents with plenty of opportunities in life, while Indigo has been removed from her large and chaotic broken family following a shocking act of violence. This haunts her life, along with a string of failed foster placements, which have left her anti-social, angry and resentful. Her future looks bleak.
Lawrence gets under the skin of the teenager on the cusp of adulthood with uncanny accuracy. She portrays with authenticity their cockiness and self-belief, counterbalanced by their angst and uncertainty.
This book has diversity at its centre, with a broad mix of ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation throughout. The London setting is sufficiently well drawn to allow the reader to imagine the surroundings without excessive detail overwhelming the action.
Indigo Donut takes a little time to get into the story and the opening chapters could be tightened up a little. However, the author succeeds in pulling together the tumbling and varied subplots to reach a satisfying conclusion.