To join in, all you need to do is:
- Post a picture of the front cover of a middle-grade book which you have read and would recommend to others with details of the author, illustrator and publisher.
- Open the book to page 11 and share your favourite sentence.
- Write three words to describe the book.
- Either share why you would recommend this book, or link to your review.
This week I’ve chosen
Back Home by Michelle Magorian, cover art by David Frankland, published by Puffin
I chose Michelle Magorian’s Goodnight Mister Tom for #MGTakesOnThursday a few weeks ago and Amy recommended this one (thank you!)
I listened to the audiobook, which was read by the author, and enjoyed it immensely, but I’ve bought a physical copy now too.
At age 7, in 1940,Rusty was evacuated to America. Fast forward five years and our story begins as she returns to England to a very different life, and when she’s sent away to boarding school things turn even bleaker as she struggles to understand and follow the seemingly endless and nonsensical rules amongst people she feels she doesn’t belong with.
This is a fantastic story for anyone who’s ever felt out if place, misunderstood or frustrated that they can’t do wrong for doing right.
It captures Rusty’s dreams worries and frustrations so well and does a brilliant job of sending out a clear message that not only can girls do anything boys can, but also that following less academic interests and strengths is a viable option in education and beyond.
I really loved Rusty and could relate to much of her confusion, disbelief and annoyance at her mother’s actions. However, reading this as an adult I also really felt for Rusty’s mum, Peggy. Do I think she made the best choices? No. But it was clear how torn she felt and how constrained she too was by the expectations and societal norms around her.
All the characters were brilliantly written – from those your heart goes out to to those you hate. Bea in particular struck a chord with me, ever the peacemaker, forward-thinking, positive and understanding she had more than a smidge of my grandma, Dot (who herself acted mediator on many an occasion between my mum and I) about her and she was definitely my favourite character because of this.
My favourite sentence from page 11:
“Rusty sipped the weird brown liquid. It was no use. She was never going to get used to this stuff. It tasted awful.”
This book in three words:
Do not conform.