by Hilary McKay
Overall: 3 out of 5 stars
This book came very highly recommended by a friend which makes it hard not to give it more stars. I liked it eventually… I just didn’t love it. The four Casson children just didn’t grab me. The oldest one, Caddy, especially, I found unbelievable and irritating. I felt as though McKay had taken the artist caricature one step too far with Caddy and her mother both, and even the other siblings Rose and Indigo. I also had a lot of trouble placing the novel in time, partly because of these flighty, vague British characters. They would talk as though they were straight out of a nineteenth-century novel, but then mention the refrigerator and email and it was all very jarring. There were a few plot points that made fantastical leaps but perhaps younger readers would be able to make it work. The overall story was quite sweet, if a bit simple, but again, younger readers would probably really be satisfied by the ending. I did really enjoy the way that handicaps were addressed – via a neighbor girl who uses wheelchair, who becomes Saffy’s best friend and who is quite possibly the most likeable character in the book.