The Great Godden

Candlewick. Apr. 2021. 256p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781536215854.
Gr 10 Up–A family’s calm English summer is disrupted by the arrival of two brothers. Starlet Florence Godden leaves her sons Kit and Hugo with their godmother for the season while she films in Hungary. This is a well-written coming-of-age story, narrated by an unnamed family member. It has a nostalgic feel that may remind readers of youthful family vacations, but since the golden Kit Godden is a heartbreaker, an edge of betrayal is woven into the storyline. Some characters would’ve benefitted from fuller description, including the sullen younger brother Hugo who rarely speaks. An abundance of white privilege, a lack of diversity, and the problematic, almost insulting use of a bisexual character, limits the appeal of this novel.
VERDICT A secondary purchase for libraries where novels like Katie Cotugno’s 99 Days are popular.

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