McKay’s Forever Rose (2008) was supposed to be her final novel about the Cassons, but in this sixth outing the family sparkles as brightly as ever. The author rolls back time, focusing on oldest sibling Caddy as a 12-year-old whose life is in typical Casson disarray. Caddy’s mother is in the hospital after prematurely giving birth to Rose, and Caddy’s younger siblings, Indigo and Saffy, are up to their usual well-intentioned hijinks, derailing their often-absent father’s attempts to introduce order and nutrition into the chaotic household. Caddy’s social life is also in turmoil, with each of her best friends in a state of flux—one is resisting a scholarship to a private school, one develops an eating disorder, one is moving to Tasmania—and Caddy reaches out to each with affecting results. McKay also throws a wild card into the mix: Dingbat, a rakish classmate who tries to woo all four friends simultaneously. With effervescent characters and dialogue, this welcome addition to the Casson saga again strikes a lovely balance between humor and poignancy. Ages 10–up. Agent: Jennifer Luithlen Agency. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/30/2012 Release date: 03/20/2012 Genre: Children's
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