The very funny sequel to The Exiles has four often devilish British sisters devising creative ways to sponsor an African boy's education. Ages 8-12. (June)
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7-A novel with a single, simple conflict. The plot centers around Ruth, 13, who, impulsively and without her parents' knowledge, pledges 10 pounds a month to support a young boy's schooling in Africa. Desperate to raise the promised money, she enlists the help of her three younger sisters, and, for a year, they secretly work to earn, borrow, or steal the funds. This is the heart of the novel, surrounded by a few amusing incidents along the way. Neighbors, Big Grandma, the girls' parents, an elderly couple, and even the vicar become entangled in the efforts to acquire cash. In the end, their grandmother discovers their secret, and all is resolved happily-an elderly neighbor has died and left a trust fund for the boy and money for the girls to visit Africa. There just is no meat to this story. There is little that distinguishes the Conroy sisters from one another, as none of them are developed as individuals. Also, characterizations of the minor characters are clichd. To add to the confusion, the meaning of the title will not be clear to those who haven't read The Exiles (McElderry, 1992), and some readers may have difficulty with the British terminology and colloquialisms.-Lucinda Lockwood, Thomas Haney Secondary School, Maple Ridge, BC
Hilary McKay is the award-winning author of Binny for Short, which received four starred reviews, and six novels about the Casson family: Caddy’s World (which received three starred reviews), Saffy’s Angel (winner of the Whitbread Award, an ALA Notable Book, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book, and a School Library Journal Best Book), Indigo’s Star (an ALA Notable Book and a Publishers Weekly Best Book), Permanent Rose, Caddy Ever After, and Forever Rose. She is also the author of Wishing for Tomorrow, the sequel to Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess. Hilary lives with her family in Derbyshire, England. Visit her at HilaryMcKay.co.uk.