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With characteristic vision and grace Meg Rosoff has done it again in this exquisite novel that merits a place alongside I Capture the Castle, Bonjour Tristesse and The Lost Estate (Le Grand Meaulnes) for its coming-of-age, loss-of-innocence excellence. Though contemporary, it feels timeless and elementally affecting, much like the Great Godden’s impact on the family whose story it tells.
With an idyllic seaside summer stretching ahead, the tingling anticipation of The Great Godden’s unnamed teenage narrator is deliciously palpable: “This year is going to be the best ever: the best weather, the best food, the best fun. The actors assembled, the summer begins.” But there are still two more actors to take to the stage - enter the Godden brothers in a shiny black car. The narrator’s older sister Mattie is immediately smitten by magnetic, handsome, self-assured Kit: “She was desperate to lose her virginity, and what sort of person would say no to Mattie? Surely not some movie star’s kid, fresh off the plane?” Though Mattie is certainly attractive, it’s obvious that charmer Kit has the upper hand of any situation, but might he also be a trouble-maker, as his curt, less-of-a-looker brother warns?
Such wonderings underpin some of this novel’s essence. With the stage fully set and summer speeding towards the climax of a wedding, it poses fundamental questions about motivation, and the nature of agency, of lust, of the desire to be seen for who you are. Quivering with unease, passion and paranoia, it also reveals how past experiences engrave themselves upon us, creating fault-lines that may crack and cause future ructions.
Sophisticated, seductive and smoothly readable, this is a summer story par excellence, and a coming-of-age tale for all times.
This is the story of one family, one dreamy summer - the summer when everything changes. In a holiday house by the sea, in a big, messy family, one teenager watches as brothers and sisters, parents and older cousins fill hot days with wine and games and planning a wedding. Enter the Goddens - irresistible, charming, languidly sexy Kit and surly, silent Hugo. Suddenly there's a serpent in this paradise - and the consequences will be devastating.
From bestselling, award-winning author Meg Rosoff comes a lyrical and quintessential coming-of-age tale - a summer book that's as heady, timeless and irresistible as Bonjour Tristesse and I Capture the Castle but as sharp and fresh as Normal People.
A wonderful, captivating writer - Daily Telegraph
Meg Rosoff has the gift of being able to talk to the reader with a directness that goes like an arrow to the heart - The Times
No one writes the way Rosoff does - as if she's thrown away the rules. I love her fizzy honesty, her pluck, her way of untangling emotion through words - Daily Telegraph
It is only occasionally that a writer comes along with a voice so stridently pure and direct and funny that you simply can't question it - you tumble willingly into its thrall -- Julie Myerson - Guardian
A wonderfully original voice - New Statesman
A magical and utterly faultless voice - Mark Haddon
Searingly well written, her books read like Samuel Beckett on Ecstasy - The Times
Like Ephron, Rosoff has a lightness of touch, and is also a clever comic writer: her dialogue is sharp, her characters keenly observed and ruthlessly well realised - The Sunday Times
The perfect read for an afternoon by the sea - NetGalley user
An irresistible summer read - NetGalley reviewer
I have never connected with a book so quickly. The atmosphere and the heady setting of summer and nostalgic longing was enticing from the first page... my heart was swept away with this book - NetGalley reviewer
I genuinely couldn't put it down - NetGalley reviewer
A thoroughly captivating read that reels you in and won't let you go - NetGalley Reviewer
Publication date: 09/07/2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
|Publication date:||9th July 2020|
|Publisher:||Bloomsbury YA an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC|
|Genres:||NewGen - YA Fiction, Books of the Month, Relationship Stories,|
|Categories:||Family & home stories (Children's / Teenage), General fiction (Children's / Teenage), Romance & relationships stories (Children's / Teenage),|
Meg Rosoff grew up in Boston, Massachusetts and moved to London in 1989. The bestselling author of ten books, she has won or been shortlisted for twenty international awards including the Orange First Novel Prize, the Carnegie Medal, the National Book Award and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. Her first novel, How I Live Now, has sold over one million copies and was made into a feature film. Meg Rosoff was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2014. She lives in London with her husband, daughter and two lurchers. Author photo © Eamonn McCabeMore About Meg Rosoff