The Great Godden
The Great Godden

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Annotation: In an eccentric, turreted vacation house by the sea, our watchful narrator sees everything, including many things that shouldn't be seen, while brothers and sisters, parents and theatrical older cousins fill the hot days with wine and tennis and sailing and planning a wedding. Enter two brothers, the sons of a fading film actress; irresistibly charming, languidly sexy Kit and surly, silent Hugo. Suddenly there's a serpent in this paradise, and the consequences will be devastating.
Catalog Number: #256297
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Copyright Date: 2021
Edition Date: 2021
Pages: 196 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-536-21585-6 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-9248-X
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-536-21585-4 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-9248-6
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2021933911
Dimensions: 20 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Kirkus Reviews
A London teen recounts the summer that tore the family apart.Every summer, a White English family with four children holidays at the father’s inherited seaside home. Because the father’s cousin, Hope, and her longtime Scottish partner, Malcolm, stay a few doors down the beach, the entire family is in and out of each other’s houses and lives. Their days have always been filled with sailing, tennis, horseback riding, and jovial dinners, making summer an idyllic time for all. Until this summer. The narrator—the oldest child and an unnamed, ungendered teen with plans to go to art school soon—recalls the insidious transition when teenage Kit Godden, the offspring of a legendary bronze-skinned Hollywood actor, and Hugo, his slightly younger brother, stay with Hope and Mal as the couple plans their end-of-summer wedding. While Hugo seems to lurk in corners, golden-skinned Kit, with “hair like Medusa’s snakes,” ingratiates himself with the family, starting a controlling relationship with the narrator’s 16-year-old “sex goddess” sister and stirring conflicting, sometimes lustful, emotions in the narrator. Through the narrator’s keen observations, made more poignant in hindsight and through sarcasm, readers view the twisting and turning development of Kit’s manipulation. Although slim, Rosoff’s taut, psychological story elicits a slow burn, leaving readers wondering how far and wide Kit’s power will extend through the family. It’s all just the beginning of the narrator’s loss of innocence.A searing coming-of-age novel. (Fiction. 14-18)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* A British family of six takes its annual vacation to the beach for what is sure to be a glorious summer. The narrator, whose name and gender are never revealed, is the oldest of the four siblings, which also include beautiful Mattie (16), Tamsin (14), and young Alex. Just down the shore live cousin Hope and her intended, Malcolm, an actor. It's a happy time, jarringly interrupted when two American brothers, the Goddens, show up, dumped on Hope by her godmother, a famous actress en route to Hungary to make a movie. Kit, the older brother, is the quintessential golden boy, gorgeous and charismatic; soon everyone is in love with him, especially Mattie. Silent, saturnine Hugo, on the other hand, is Kit's disagreeable foil. No one likes him except perhaps the narrator, but even they fall for Kit, who cheats on Mattie to have sex with them. Is that love or something else? Printz Award winner Rosoff (How I Live Now, 2004) has written an absolutely remarkable coming-of-age story. Everything about it yle, substance, mood, atmosphere, tone, and especially characterization spot-on. One wants to read the book several times to tease out how Rosoff achieves her effects. The effort is a joy, just like this unforgettable novel, the first of a planned, summer-themed trio.
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Starred Review ALA Booklist (2/1/21)
Reading Level: 5.0
Interest Level: 9-12

From National Book Award Finalist Meg Rosoff comes a lyrical, compulsively readable coming-of-age tale that is heady, irresistible, and timeless.

Everyone talks about falling in love like it's the most miraculous, life-changing thing in the world. Something happens, they say, and you know . . .
I looked into his eyes and I knew.
Only, everyone else knew too. Everyone else felt exactly the same way.


This is the story of one family during one dreamy summer—the summer when everything changes. In an eccentric, turreted vacation house by the sea, our watchful narrator sees everything, including many things that shouldn’t be seen, while brothers and sisters, parents and theatrical older cousins fill the hot days with wine and tennis and sailing and planning a wedding. Enter two brothers, the sons of a fading film actress—irresistibly charming, languidly sexy Kit and surly, silent Hugo. Suddenly there’s a serpent in this paradise, and the consequences will be devastating. In a propulsive narrative carrying intrigue and a growing sense of unease, Meg Rosoff, best-selling author of the iconic How I Live Now, offers a summer tale of innocence lost that will find its place among the classics of young adult literature.


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