Caddy Ever After (by Hilary McKay)

I first heard about Hilary McKay, from another book review blog, about a year ago.. I got hold of and read 'Saffy's Angel', and was hooked!

'Caddy Ever After' is the fourth novel for older children in the Casson family series about a rather bohemian family... Eve is an artist who works in a shed and does almost no cooking. Her husband, a more serious artist, lives away from the family in London. Caddy is now 19 and at university; Saffy is 15 and still friends with Sarah. Indigo is 12 and growing up rapidly.. and Rose, still precocious, is eight.

Despite Caddy's name being in the title, this book is mostly about Rose. A little different from the others in the series, it's written in sections, from the perspective of each of the children, in the first person. So we see Rose in school, Indigo helping to organise a disco, Saffy going out for a drive with the rather strange Oscar.. and Caddy falling in love, yet again, with another rather odd young man.

Having read the book, I'm not quite sure what the story was about. There are lots of intertwined sub-plots, mostly about romance, albeit in a very low-key way.  Sarah, Saffy's best friend, doesn't really want to go to the dance until she's invited and persuaded that she can indeed dance... and then she becomes quite ill.

Caddy doesn't appear until part way through when she finds herself preparing for a wedding... her parents are pleased, but Rose thinks it's completely wrong.

The book was mildly amusing in places, and I liked the way that the different styles of each of the children came through with their separate entries. I kept reading, too, wondering what - if anything - was going to happen.

I didn't think it anywhere near as wonderful as the earlier books in the series.. on the other hand, I'm quite eager to read the final book about the Cassons, to find out how it all ends.

Worth reading if you've read the earlier ones in the series, but I think it would be very confusing as a stand-alone novel. Intended roughly for the 9-13 age-group, but could be read by any confident readers from about six and up.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 7th June 2012

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