Subscribe to The Horn Book

Review of Love to Everyone

Love to Everyone
by Hilary McKay
Intermediate, Middle School    McElderry    330 pp.
9/18    978-1-5344-2710-5    $17.99
e-book ed.  978-1-5344-2712-9    $10.99

In Binny in Secret (rev. 7/15), McKay introduced us to Clarry, her brother Peter, and their beloved cousin Rupert in a subplot set during World War I in London. Here, McKay gives us the full story of these three: stubborn, grumpy Peter; kind, charismatic Rupert; and especially Clarry, adoring of the boys and, as a girl, destined to stay home and care for her selfish, neglectful father. As the three grow up, Peter is sent to boarding school; Rupert enlists in the army; and Clarry defies her father’s apathy and earns a place in an academically rigorous girls’ high school. Then Rupert is declared missing, “presumed dead,” and Clarry sets off to find him. This is a story both broad and deep, sketching the scope of the Western Front (shaped like a “ravenous, expectant smile. A greedy, unreasonable smile, considering how very, very well it was fed”) but drawing us closely into Clarry’s heart and mind as she emerges valiantly into adulthood. McKay’s genius as a writer is everywhere apparent: she conveys complex nuances of character with a light hand, moving gracefully from the hilarious to the heart-breaking; she paints scenes with spare, lucid detail (for example, a blackbird turns over dead leaves “like someone flicking through a book to find the illustrations”). Buoyant with the warmth of family love and friendship, and especially with McKay’s witty, incisive style, this exceptional novel invites — and amply rewards — re-reading.

From the November/December 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Deirdre Baker About Deirdre Baker

Deirdre F. Baker, a reviewer for The Horn Book Magazine and the Toronto Star, teaches children’s literature at the University of Toronto. The author of Becca
at Sea (Groundwood), she is currently at work on a sequel—written in the
past tense.

Share
Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind

*