Forever Rose

Hilary McKay

Book - 2008

As Christmas approaches, eleven-year-old Rose, the youngest member of the eccentric Casson family, discovers that life is filled with both catastrophic problems and wonderful surprises.

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The Casson family series
New York : Margaret K. McElderry Books 2008.
1st U.S. ed
Item Description
Originally published: Great Britain : Hodder Children's Books, 2007.
Physical Description
291 p. ; 22 cm
Main Author
Hilary McKay (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

McKay concludes her series of books about the British Casson family, first met in Saffy's Angel (2002), with a title that's just as wild and endearing as its characters. As usual, chaos reigns in the artistic Casson household: David, a young family friend, has run away from home and lodged himself (and his drum set) in the Casson's living room. The children's mother, becomes ill, prompting Daddy's return from London, where he was living with a girlfriend. And oldest sibling Caddie, missing since she fled her own wedding, resurfaces with an astonishing surprise. In a precocious and hilarious style that often reads like free-form poetry in its perfectly timed line breaks, narrator Rose describes these larger dramas as well as her own private triumphs: learning to love reading, being a loyal friend, and herding her "rubbish family" toward a joyous conclusion. Readers meeting the Cassons for the first time will be lost, but those who know the characters will rejoice in this final sly, celebratory view of a messy, imperfect, and fiercely loving family. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

The fifth—and, sadly, final—volume about the Casson family, Brits like the author, is the best of them all, a jewel of a domestic comedy. Rose, the youngest, is now 11 and occupies an as yet uncharted zone between daft and brilliant. Writing in a diary (she cheerfully ignores the printed dates and supplies her own), she copes with her separated but still doting parents, her talented siblings and the assorted people they collect (where is Caddy, the oldest sister, when she periodically phones Rose? And what is to be done with David, her brother's lummox of a friend who has been kicked out by his mother and has no place to put his drum set?). Then there's Rose's friend Molly, with her nutty plan to hide out overnight at the zoo in the arctic foxes' shelter, a scheme Rose will go along with only because she's certain it will fail. McKay is an expert at twinning the point of view: she lets readers see Rose's logic, but her timing calls forth every bit of the situational humor. The ending ties all the ends together—some may say too neatly, but fans will find the wrapup utterly satisfying. Ages 10–14. (Apr.) [Page 138]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 5–7— This final installment in the Casson family saga finds 11-year-old Rose feeling deserted and confused. Saffy and Indigo are busy with their teenage pursuits, Caddy has been missing for nearly a year since her almost-wedding to not-Michael in Caddy Ever After (S & S, 2006), Mummy is spending all her time in her artist's shed to avoid spreading germs from a bad case of bronchitis, and Daddy Bill is still living in London, finding the peace and quiet he can't get at home. To make matters worse, Rose does not like Mr. Spencer, "the new irritated teacher of class 6." She is having a difficult time with reading, is deeply disappointed when no one has time to shop for a Christmas tree, and is affronted by the ubiquitous presence of Indigo's displaced friend, David, and his problematic drum set. However, her spunky friend Kiran is unfailingly loyal and supportive, and, when their schoolmate Molly proposes an extension of their class trip to the zoo into a secret overnight stay, the two agree to go along. What results from this mischievous, if dangerous, escapade are some surprising resolutions to Rose's disenchantment with school and home, and even a new configuration of the family. McKay is at the top of her game with this poignant, hilarious account, narrated in diary form by irrepressible, artistic Rose. Readers will empathize with her frustrations, secretly admire her and Kiran's sassiness, and cheer as everything falls nicely, and unexpectedly, into place.—Marie Orlando, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY [Page 130]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

As Christmas approaches, eleven-year-old Rose, the youngest member of the eccentric Casson family, discovers that life is filled with both catastrophic problems and wonderful surprises.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

In addition to trying to solve the problem between Caddy and Michael, Rose now has to find a way to get out of the zoo after being locked in during a wild night's outing with her friend Molly, in the latest sequel to the Casson family novels.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Rose knows that nothing stays the same forever. Still, it's hard to watch her sisters and brother growing up and moving so far ahead of her. Caddy is back, but she's not living at home. And worse -- she's broken up with Darling Michael. Saffy and Indigo are so busy, they are seldom home. With her father in London and her mother painting in the shed, Rose is often alone in the house. Maybe that's why she agrees to her new friend Molly's crazy scheme. At least it seems crazy when Rose finds herself locked in the zoo at night with a roaring tiger. Maybe she should have been paying more attention to what Molly was saying. But on that spooky night, Rose finds out a secret that just might change everything -- and help bring her family and friends together and new life to their old house. Hilary McKay infuses her charming characters with much love and laughter in this final visit with the delightfully daffy Casson family.