Last night, I finally, finally read Hilary McKay’s Caddy’s World, which is the prequel to her Casson Family series – a series I adore so much that it’s a major part of why I started writing MG books in the first place! When I first discovered Book 1, Saffy’s Angel, my world – as a reader and a writer – was ROCKED. I read that book again and again and again, and then I devoured the rest of the series.
So when Caddy’s World came out, a few years after the other books in the series, I immediately asked for it for my birthday…but then I found, to my horror, that I couldn’t read it after all, because part of the plot circles around Caddy’s then-dangerously-ill baby sister, and at that point in my life, my own little boy had been a scarily-ill baby so recently that I couldn’t bear to go back into that headspace. So I set it aside, sighing, even though Hilary McKay is my very favorite children’s writer in the world.
But it’s finally been long enough since MrD’s rocky start in life that I thought I might be ready to try the book again…
…And oh, am I glad I did! This is a standalone prequel, so there’s no need to have read any of the other Casson Family books first – for someone who has read those books, it’s actually kind of a shock to see such a different angle on that family, from the point-of-view of twelve-year-old Caddy! – and it might just be my favorite book that I’ve read this year. It’s so full of heart and humor and wonderful friendships and complicated, emotionally true characters, and I loved every single moment of it. I cried at the end, in the best possible way.
After I finished, I walked around the house in a daze – partly because I was still half-stuck in the world of the story, and partly because I was so blown away and inspired as a writer. It made me want to level up!
In other words, I highly, highly recommend it, whether you’ve read the other Casson Family books or not. I LOVED it.