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Book Review: Saffy's Angel by Hilary Mckay


'After Saffron discovers that she's adopted, life is never quite the same. Her artistic parents and doting siblings adore her, but Saffy wants a piece of her past. So when her grandfather bequests her a stone angel - a relic from the childhood she never knew - Saffy knows she has to find it. Realizing that Siena holds the key, she stows away on a car trip to Italy.

The rest of the family are engaged in their own wacky projects: Caddy, a hopeless student, is revising for her A levels and desperately trying to pass her driving test. Indigo, the only boy in the Casson family, is determined to rid himself of his fear of heights. And the youngest, Rose, a budding artist, has a knack for baiting her pompous dad, with entertaining results . . .'


Saffy's Angel is the first in The Casson Family series of books about middle child Saffron, and her struggle with her identity after learning she is adopted. Her birth-mother, her adopted mother's sister, died in a car crash in Siena when she was only little and her father was not in the picture. The only real sense of connection Saffron feels she has left is to her grandfather, now in a nursing home with dementia but somehow is able to remember Saffron over everybody else.

Before his mental decline, he went back to Italy for a stone angel that belonged to Saffron, but never managed to find it and seemingly forgot about it altogether - that is, until he leaves it to Saffron in his will. Now given something to connect her to her biological mother and father, Saffron journeys to Italy in search of the angel, hoping it will bring her peace.

The Casson family is full of love but very chaotic, sometimes overwhelmingly so. This means that Saffron often feels she is not being heard, and this is amplified by her new sense of not belonging. Despite this sombre premise, this book is full of silly and humorous antics with fascinating characters like Sarah, Saffy's new friend who manages to convince her family to take her and Saffron to Siena on an impromptu holiday. We also get a look into the lives of the other memories of the Casson family, where little Rose stands out hilariously above the rest. This book is perfect for children who love adventure, humour, chaos and for those who are feeling a little lost.

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