Lovely British children's books about a family of eccentrics. The mom is an absent-minded painter who named her children after paint colors, the hilariously insensitive father is nearly entirely absent, and the four kids are up to assorted hijinks involving keeping hamsters in pockets, stowing away to Italy, and searching for Saffron's inheritance, a missing stone angel.

A plot description doesn't do these books justice. McKay is one of those writers (mostly British, in my experience) who writes short, seemingly simple books about ordinary life in which every sentence is perfect, scattered details build to hilarious comic set pieces, and can turn on a dime between laughter and tears because the characters and their emotions seem so genuine. Light but not shallow.

Saffy's Angel

Indigo's Star

From: [identity profile] mrissa.livejournal.com


I love these. I love these so much. I love that Saffy and her best friend have different kinds of family and neither is privileged over the other. I love the handling of the disabled character as a character rather than Look A Disabled Person. I just--love these books.

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


Sarah is also about the only time I've ever seen a disabled character who sometimes walks and sometimes uses a wheelchair, depending on circumstances. Fairly common in real life, almost never seen in fiction.

How's the rest of the series?

From: [identity profile] mrissa.livejournal.com


I am very fond. None of her other books outside the series have really been hits for me, but this entire series I love.

From: [identity profile] dancing-crow.livejournal.com


Love love love these books. And I completely agree that it seems like British writers do this more or more easily (or something, somehow).

Indigo's Star is the general favorite around here (with 75% readership in the household) but I must admit to a mad deep love for the 5th one Forever Rose because it makes me laugh every single time. I am also fond of others of hers, in part because I can see her working on the ideas that seem so perfect in the Casson books.

And also because I love all of her characters, and would like to meet them. Rachel, in the Exiles, eats anything, to the point where it becomes a running joke. There is a scene in Exiles Abroad where Phoebe expressively buys an array of fantastic food without saying a word. There are these kids in all her books with affectionate, capable parents and the kids still manage to have adventures and do meaningful, exciting things without being broken. In the same kind of way that Sarah is in a wheelchair but not broken - if you see what I mean? They are real. They have agency. They do not Stand For Something.

I really love her work.

From: [identity profile] asakiyume.livejournal.com


I agree with this: I love all of her characters, and would like to meet them. They seem so definitely themselves, not Types or Roles, just fun, unusual people.

From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/la_marquise_de_/


I'm another huge fan of this series. Just terrific, all the way through.

From: [identity profile] asakiyume.livejournal.com


I really fell in love with Saffy's Angel, and I enjoyed Indigo's Star, too. I actually haven't read the rest! Crazy, because I know I would love them. But yeah, real characters with genuine emotions. Great books.

From: [identity profile] tool-of-satan.livejournal.com


I just read the first of these. It reminded me a lot of some of Diana Wynne Jones' books, just without the magic.

From: [identity profile] tool-of-satan.livejournal.com


Now that I've read all five books - you should definitely read the remaining three, they are all excellent.

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


Thank you! When I next have time to read... (Such a sad statement. But it's finals week.)
.

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