The Skylarks' War

Publisher: Macmillan

Review

Clarry and her brother Peter live for their annual summer trips to Cornwall – a chance not only to escape their apathetic father, but to experience the joy of exploring nature with their exciting cousin Rupert.

But when the First World War begins and Rupert enlists in the army, their world is thrown upside down – will they ever see him again? And how will the shadow of conflict change their lives?

The Skylarks' War is a real triumph of a book, somehow managing to simultaneously be small-scale while encompassing huge themes of war, love, sexism and family. Every single word is carefully chosen by maestro Hilary McKay, resulting in some incredible passages that will stop you in your tracks.

The descriptions of life on the front are hugely evocative and brutal, skilfully portraying the horrors of war while never being too violent for young readers. But the effects of the war are felt by the characters who stay in England, too, from one girl's new life as a nurse to the impact of food shortages.

Written in a timeless, classic style, The Skylark's War will transport you into Clarry and Peter's lives, following them all the way from childhood mishaps to adult decisions. A must-read.

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