The Skylarks’ War – Hilary McKay

 The Skylarks’ War – Hilary McKay, Margaret K. McElderry, (9781534460041), c2018, 2019

Format: Hardcover

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

 Genre: Historical fiction

 What did you like about the book? Clarry’s mother dies as she is born, causing her 3-year-old brother to hate her (he does change after a while) and her father to completely ignore her, leaving her in the hands of her grandmother to look after for some years. Clarry is then raised by the housekeeper and her brother, Peter.  Clarry somehow sees the good in everyone, doing exactly as she is instructed, even helping her older brother with his homework.  Clarry is sent to a school that is not really a school until she finally rebels after meeting a girl who goes to a proper high school.  She and Peter blissfully spend their summers with their older abandoned-by-his-parents cousin Rupert at their grandparents’ home in Cornwall.  It is impossible to not become involved in the lives of Clarry, Peter, Rupert and friends Simon (Bony) and Vanessa.  All are created with such care that you are living right there with them as World War I begins.  (The book was published in England as Love to Everyone.)

Anything you did not like about the book? The father was a really horrible character, not interested in his children even slightly, and yet Clarry still loved him and took care of him.  And is it assumed that Clarry marries her first cousin Rupert or were they just very good friends?  Also the grandparents: they seem like loving, caring people yet they raised two sons that had no interest whatsoever in their children…

 To whom would you recommend this book? Those who like historical fiction, especially occurring around the beginning of the 20th century in England, with extremely relatable characters and a fully fleshed-out story will like this book.  Perhaps those who liked Goodnight, Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian.

Who should buy this book? High schools, upper middle-school grades and public libraries.

Where would you shelve it? High school/ Middle-school fiction

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes, I think so.

 Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Retired Librarian, Manager, Youth Services Book Review

          Date of review: 10/13/2019

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