Lily's Crossing

Lily's Crossing

4.4 129
by Patricia Reilly Giff, Reilly Giff

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This “brilliantly told” (New York Times) Newbery Honor Book gives readers a sense of what it was like to be on the American home front while our soldiers were away fighting in World War II.
As in past years, Lily will spend the summer in Rockaway, in her family’s summer house by the Atlantic Ocean. But this summer of


This “brilliantly told” (New York Times) Newbery Honor Book gives readers a sense of what it was like to be on the American home front while our soldiers were away fighting in World War II.
As in past years, Lily will spend the summer in Rockaway, in her family’s summer house by the Atlantic Ocean. But this summer of 1944, World War II has changed everyone’s life. Lily’s best friend, Margaret, has moved to a wartime factory town, and, much worse, Lily’s father is going overseas to the war.
There’s no one Lily’s age in Rockaway until the arrival of Albert, a refugee from Hungary with a secret sewn into his coat. Albert has lost most of his family in the war; he’s been through things Lily can’t imagine. But soon they form a special friendship. Now Lily and Albert have secrets to share: They both have told lies, and Lily has told one that may cost Albert his life.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Named a 1998 Newbery Honor Book, an ALA Notable Book, and a Boston Globe—Horn Book Honor Book.

"Details...are woven with great effect into a realistic story."
The Horn Book Magazine, starred

"Exceptional characterizations and a robust story line...this has all the ingredients that best reward readers."
Publishers Weekly

"Brilliantly told."
The New York Times Book Review

"With wry comedy and intense feeling...Giff gets across a strong sense of what it was like on the home front during World War II...The friendship story is beautifully drawn."

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Exceptional characterizations and a robust story line turn this WWII homefront novel into far more than a period piece. Spending the summer of '44 at her family's vacation home on the Atlantic, Lily feels angry and deserted when her widower father joins the Army and is sent to Europe just after the Allied invasion. Her ever-critical Gram seems to be breathing down her neck at every turn, and Lily has gotten off on the wrong foot with Albert, the Hungarian refugee boy staying with neighbors. She just can't seem to break out of her self-described role as "a last-row, last-seat kid in school with terrible marks... [who] told lies every other minute." Giff keeps the spotlight off Lily's flaws, refraining as well from overtly linking them to her self-consciousness at being motherless. Rather, she uses them to generate the plot: as Lily and Albert work their way into friendship, Lily tells a lie with unexpected and potentially dangerous consequences. Lily learns her lesson in a resolution that feels psychologically true. In the background, characters cope with wartime shortages, stumble into tragedy as sons and brothers fall in battle-in short, lead complicated lives with the hope of redemption. Closely observed, quickly paced and warmly told, this has all the ingredients that best reward readers. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Set during WW II, Lily's life with her beloved Poppy is disrupted when he is sent overseas. Lily, left with her grandmother, meets a Hungarian refugee named Albert. He too is suffering a separation from his loved ones. Gradually they become friends and eventually Lily, who has encouraged Albert in his scheme to return to Europe, realizes the danger. The story has a happy ending and Lily comes to understand herself and Albert. The story is filled with believable characters and historical details that make it real and relevant. Newbery Honor book.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
Lily, 10, spins yarns or what some might label "lies." It's her way of protecting herself. But during that summer of 1944 at Rockaway Beach, her favorite place, nothing is the same. She is so angry at her father who is going overseas that she refuses to say goodbye. Her best friend has moved away and to make matters worse, her grandmother introduces her to a refugee boy from Hungary. At first she is rude to him, but later they rescue and care for a kitten. Each child tells stories, but the tale Lily tells puts Albert in danger. This story is engrossing as Lily crosses over from self-absorption to being empathetic.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7-Set during World War II, this tenderly written story tells of the war's impact on two children, one an American and one a Hungarian refugee. Lily Mollahan, a spirited, sensitive youngster being raised by her grandmother and Poppy, her widower father, has a comfortable routine that includes the family's annual summer migration to Gram's beach house in Rockaway, NY. Lily looks forward to summer's freedom and fishing outings with Poppy. She meets Albert, a Hungarian boy who is staying at a neighbor's house. At first, her fertile imagination convinces her that perhaps Albert is a Nazi spy, but eventually the two become good friends. The war interferes directly with Lily's life when Poppy, an engineer, is sent to Europe to help with clean-up operations. History is brought to life through Giff's well chosen details and descriptions. Both children suffer from the separation from loved ones, and both live with guilt for not having said proper good-byes. Albert even feels that he in some ways betrayed his sister Ruth, who was too ill to make the transatlantic journey. The developing friendship between Lily and Albert, and Albert's plan to swim to Europe to find Ruth, will grab readers' attention and sustain it to book's end. Despite convenient plot twists to reach a happy ending, Giff's well-drawn, believable characters and vivid prose style make this an excellent choice. A fine addition to collections that include Sonia Levitin's Silver Days (Atheneum, 1989).-Renee Steinberg, Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
In 1944, Lily's eagerly awaited summer vacation becomes a time of anxiety when her widower father, Poppy, announces that he's off to Europe with the US Army Corps of Engineers. Lily's lonely in Rockaway with both her father and her summer friend, Margaret, gone, until she meets an orphan from Budapest living temporarily with her grandmother's neighbor. At first she responds coldly to Albert, but is soon drawn to him by his awkward dignity and his tragic tale of dead parents and ill sister, Ruth, left behind in France. As they care for an abandoned kitten together and wistfully watch ships passing on the horizon, a solid friendship develops, and by the time they part, Lily and Albert have helped each other through difficult times. Much of the plot, characters, and premise is conventional, but Giff (Shark in School, 1994, etc.) really pulls readers' heartstrings with Albert's memories of his family, the loss of Margaret's well-liked brother in the war, and Lily's joyful reunion with Poppy. Pull out the hankies for the final scene, in which Lily returns to Rockaway the following summer to find Albert—and Ruth—waiting for her. It's a strong ending to a deftly told story.

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Yearling Newbery Series
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.50(d)
720L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

He couldn't hear her, but in another flash he saw her, she was sure.  And the rest of it seemed to be in slow motion.  The next wave was so swollen, so tremendously high, that it pulled his boat up, and up, and the boat poised there on the crest for an instant, motionless.  She could see him clearly, the orange of his life jacket standing out even in the darkness.

Then, as the wave slid out from under the boat, she could see the forward part rising, almost straight up.  Lily watched it, breathless, as it slid back, and in that second, Albert was tossed into the sea.

She could see the orange life jacket a little longer, but after only seconds a wave pulled her boat in one direction and Albert in another and he disappeared.

She kept calling, kept trying to turn the boat in circles, glancing at the lights on the boardwalk to mark her place, watching for the streaks of lightning to show her where he was.

She veered away from his empty boat, which was spinning first high on a wave, then into the crest.  In another flash she saw him again, just the quickest glimpse, the orange life jacket, and his dark head above the water.

"I'm here," she yelled, not sure he had heard her, or even seen her, and then another wave came, a mountain of a swell that moved toward them, pushing Albert toward her.  Lily could see him turning toward her, his mouth open.  He was gulping water, and she reached out, and by some miracle, her hand hooked around the top of the jacket.  She held it, feeling her nails rip, but knowing she wouldn't let go, even if she was pulled out of the boat.

But the wave was past them now, and the water grew calm just for the second he needed to grip the boat, and she pulled at his jacket with both hands until he tumbled into the boat.

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Lily's Crossing 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 129 reviews.
Waterspirit More than 1 year ago
This was a beautiful tale. It told about the ups and downs of friendships, all about the war, and was a very good overall read. This book was also educational, But definetly not boring!!!! I reccomend this book to anyone who wishes to learn, laugh, and even cry!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the first emotional book i ever read and i fell in love with it right away. If people ask me what is your favorite book i would say lily's crossing. Never going to forget this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lillys Crossing is a great book that people may be able relate to. It is packed with adventure, thrill, heart warming freindships and people being able to connect with others that yowould not belive. This is a fantastic book and i reccomend this to everyone. This book may touch your heart and change your life the way it bdid for me. Great great book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book i read for a book report a long time ago and it was amazing i completely recommend it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This aword wining book is great! Evrything by this ather is great! I recimend WILD GIRL,NORY RIEN'S SONG,andPICTURS OF HOLLIS WOODS.
AmberLee13 More than 1 year ago
I really loved and enjoyed this book and I also thought that it was very interesting. In this book written by Patricia Reilly Giff, it talks about a little girl named lily who goes to her grandmothers every summer but this summer is different. She finds out that her best friend has to move away. The friend decides to leave lily an extra pair of keys so if lily every decided to write another book that she could go up in to the attic and write a book in peace and quiet. Then after lily's friend moves away a Hungarian boy moves in next door with their neighbors for the summer. Lily starts off to not care for the boy but then begins to bond with him over a cat that they both had found and are caring for. Then out of nowhere lily's father must leave to go over to the war to help the soldiers. Then later the Hungarian boy and lily must leave for it is the end of the summer. Then the very next summer lily returns to rockaway to stay with her grandmother and when she gets to her grandmother's house she finds her father standing there with the boy and his sister who was across seas because of sickness. So I thought that this was a little twist in the story. So, I really recommend this book to anyone between the ages ten and up. I would also rate this book a five out of five because I just thought that this book was very good and I also had fun reading it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book i ever read it is a awsome book if you like to laugh or smile for at least an hour after you read it love it:)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did not even know that a book could be this great................
Tricia Lucas More than 1 year ago
Gabriella Yepes More than 1 year ago
i picked up this book and couldent put it down my momm had to tell me to stopp reading!
Annabelle Hardwick More than 1 year ago
i read it and i couldn't put it down!!!!!! i wish there were more like it.
Rebecca Hunderfund More than 1 year ago
i have always loved this book. Gret book for children. Lily, the main character, is very believeable and connects to you. definatly worth the cost.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am reading this for battle of the books
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very engaging story. Since I was Lily's age about the same time I found it brought back many memories. I bought it for my 10 year old granddaughter. and she is enjoying too. We have "bookclub" discussions about it. I recommend it for other parents.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In this book Lily has planned a spectacular summer in Rockway. But by the summer of 1944 World War 2 has changed almost everyone's life. Lily's best friend, Margaret, and her family has moved to a wartime factory town. And worse her father is on his way overseas to the war. There's no one else Lily's age in Rockway until Albert comes. Albert has lost most of his family in the war; he's been through things things Lily can't imagine. But when they join together to rescue and care for a kitten, they begin a special friendship. For Lily and Albert have their own secrets to share. They have both told lies, and Lily has told a lie that may cost Albert's life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a really good book! I love it i would totally read it again u should read this book!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a really great book that I definitely recommend. It has a relly nice setting and great this book in elementary school and still love it years later.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BEST BOOK EVER!!!! I couldnt put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVE this book so far and cannot wait to read more! This book has deffinetley got me up in my room reading like crazy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book so far is good and number #4 have you read this book i think you need to read it again
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite historical fiction books. The story is great and so are the characters. Im not very emotional but this book put me on the verge of tears at some points. Deffinetly a 5/5 rating!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just read the first five pages and so far it is awesome. This book is for kids that are learning about world war two. And like books that are histofical books