Rosoff, Meg. Great Godden, The. Fiction. Candlewick, 04/2021. 256pp. $17.99. 978-1-5362-1585-4. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 9-12.
A white British family, artsy and rich in love, intelligence, and quirkiness if not in actual cash, always spends summer at their beach house. Rosoff takes this classic and familiar sunshiny structure and wonderfully subverts it into something dark and twisted. Narrated by the unnamed and not-gendered oldest child, who seems to be around 17 or 18, this summer is set apart by the arrival of the white Godden brothers, Kit and Hugo, who could not be more different. Kit is all golden charm and charisma; Hugo is brooding, unsocial, and diffident. Kit has the ability to make everyone feel that they are at the center of his universe and they all fall for him, especially 16-year-old Mattie who is just blossoming into sexy womanhood. Though only a slight novel, it beautifully evokes the sublime feeling of summers that never really exist except in books and characters that teeter on caricature before revealing their depths.
Hayley Beale, San Francisco University High School