Indigo’s star by Hilary McKay

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What’s new in the Casson family? Well, Indigo is finally better after being sick for a long time, so he has to go back to school and face the bullies. Fortunately he meets a new friend, an American boy called Tom, who plays the guitar, loves climbing on top of buildings and refuses to speak about his new family. Rose, the youngest in the Casson family, refuses to wear glasses and she simply adores Indigo’s new friend (though she tries to deny it). Saffy and her friend Sarah want to protect Indigo from the bullies but it’s not really working. And sweet Caddy is dating pretty much every boy available while still talking to her dear Michael. Bill is obviously in London and darling Eve almost never leaves her beloved garden shed.

The second part of the charming Casson family series takes us further as we get to know more about Indigo, the only boy in the family. The writing style continues to be effortless and humorous with sentences that contain a story worthy of an epic adventure. This book is even better than the first one and I highly recommend it to everyone who enjoys reading children’s literature and YA novels. It has a feel good quality to it even though it contains some serious life lessons.

While the book concentrates mainly on Indigo, we also get to see more about Rose. She writes letters to her father in order to make him come home but although she tries to make them as alarming and shocking as possible, the effect is quite different and Bill just laughs at them. We don’t get to see much of Saffy, Sarah and Caddy; they are always there but sort of in the background. Caddy doesn’t want to admit that she is in love with Michael and instead has hundreds of boyfriends (one of whom then falls for Eve) and I really missed reading about her. The focus is on Indigo and his new friend Tom, who are both my favourites in this series.

Every time I read a Casson novel I wish I had a family like that. They are so unique but they always stick together and help each other out. You are never alone if you are a Casson kid. Their house is full of joy and happiness and laughter and life. Sure, there is also sorrow and pain but it’s easier to overcome those feelings as a family. That is why I know I will never stop rereading this series even when I will be old and grey and quite possibly a bit mad.

 

Rose had the sort of eyes that manage perfectly well with things close by, but entirely blur out things far away. Because of this even the brightest stars had only appeared as silvery smudges in the darkness. In all her life, Rose had never properly seen a star.
Tonight there was a sky full.
Rose looked up, and it was like walking into a dark room and someone switching on the universe.

Hilary Mckay, Indigo’s star

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Saffy’s Angel by Hilary McKay

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I started reading this series as a favour for my best friend, who at the time did not enjoy reading and was forced to read a book for school anyway (yes, we sometimes cheated like that in primary school, but who doesn’t). She chose this book because of the cover and I thought it was rather beautiful as well, so I said, why not, I’ll read it for you and tell you what happens. Boy, am I glad I actually did read it. So letโ€™s meet the family!

The eldest Cadmium is a teenager and madly in love with her driving instructor. Also, she collects hamsters and Guinea pigs. Then there is Saffron, the main character in the book, who at the beginning finds out she was actually adopted and so her siblings became her cousins. Indigo, the only boy in the family, wants to travel to the South pole and so he keeps testing his fear of heights by hanging from the windowsill of his bedroom (itโ€™s not as dangerous as it sounds, he always makes sure he holds on to something). And then there is Rose, the youngest, the artistic one, who paints on walls and always answers the phone. Their mother Eve is also an artist and she spends most of her time in her garden shed, painting away, while their father Bill, also an artist, but a proper one, divides his time between London and his family (London usually wins).

When Saffy realizes she is adopted, something in her changes and so she desperatelyย wants to find out more about her old life. She meets a new friend Sarah, who ends up crafting the most brilliant plan of going to Siena, where Saffy used to live, and retrieving the stone angel that her grandfather left her. Cadmium is busy flirting with Michael, her driving instructor, who keeps bragging about his amazing girlfriend, and that actually helps Caddy study for her exams. Indigo gets better and better with his fear of heights and darling Rose keeps annoying their father by talking nonsense on the phone. The three siblings manage to find Saffyโ€™s angel and bring it to her when she returns from Siena, thinking the angel is lost.

This book is insanely funny, on occasions even terribly sad, but always written in such a way that you just know everything will be all right at the end. It makes you feel happier and better about life in general. I think everyone can find bits and pieces of themselves in the characters which are so well written and their development is slow but persistent, just like it usually is in real life. I fell in love with all of them and I am not ashamed to admit that this series is still very close to my heart even though I am not a kid anymore.

 

Michael allowed himself to look at Caddy for the first time since she had climbed into the car. It was a moment that he always put off for as long as possible because his concentration was never quite the same afterwards.

Hilary McKay, Saffy’s angel