The Great Godden

Meg Rosoff, 1956-

Book - 2021

At the house on the beach, everything is always the same. Summer unspools in days of sticky heat and lazy beach walks, the family only reconvening for lantern-lit suppers in the garden with the sea a constant roar in the background. Predictable, familiar - and easy. But everything changes with the arrival of the Godden brothers: Kit, magnetic and lazily seductive, and Hugo, intense and unknowable. By the end of summer, nothing will be the same. -- Book jacket.

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Subjects
Genres
Young adult fiction
Published
Somerville, MA : Candlewick Press 2021.
Edition
First US edition
Language
English
Item Description
"First published by Bloomsbury (UK) 2020" -- title verso.
Physical Description
196 pages ; 21 cm
ISBN
9781536215854
1536215856
Main Author
Meg Rosoff, 1956- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* A British family of six takes its annual vacation to the beach for what is sure to be a glorious summer. The narrator, whose name and gender are never revealed, is the oldest of the four siblings, which also include beautiful Mattie (16), Tamsin (14), and young Alex. Just down the shore live cousin Hope and her intended, Malcolm, an actor. It's a happy time, jarringly interrupted when two American brothers, the Goddens, show up, dumped on Hope by her godmother, a famous actress en route to Hungary to make a movie. Kit, the older brother, is the quintessential golden boy, gorgeous and charismatic; soon everyone is in love with him, especially Mattie. Silent, saturnine Hugo, on the other hand, is Kit's disagreeable foil. No one likes him except perhaps the narrator, but even they fall for Kit, who cheats on Mattie to have sex with them. Is that love or something else? Printz Award–winner Rosoff (How I Live Now, 2004) has written an absolutely remarkable coming-of-age story. Everything about it—style, substance, mood, atmosphere, tone, and especially characterization—is spot-on. One wants to read the book several times to tease out how Rosoff achieves her effects. The effort is a joy, just like this unforgettable novel, the first of a planned, summer-themed trio. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Through an unnamed, ungendered teen's sharp eye and knowing narration, Printz Medalist Rosoff tells a dryly humorous story of summer and love gone awry. Each summer, a cued-white London family gathers at their beloved seasonal residence: a gabled, periwinkle blue beach house that's long been in the family. The narrator, whose room features an old widow's walk complete with telescope, watches everything, including three younger siblings—bat fanatic Alex, horse enthusiast Tamsin, and newly beautiful, self-obsessed 16-year-old Mattie—as well as Hope, a younger cousin of their father, and her partner, Malcolm, who live down the beach. This year, there are two surprises: Hope and Malcolm are engaged, and the Godden brothers, gorgeous Kit and sulky Hugo, sons of a once-famous actress, move in with Hope and Malcolm for the season. Kit, a manipulator par excellence, immediately makes a play for Mattie's affections, but also, says the narrator, "slipped between my ribs like a flick-knife." Between Mal and Hope's wedding planning, the Godden brothers' tensions, and Kit's erratic attentions, the summer darkens, leading this effective character study and depiction of childhood's end to a surprising climax. Ages 14–up. (Apr.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Through an unnamed, ungendered teen's sharp eye and knowing narration, Printz Medalist Rosoff tells a dryly humorous story of summer and love gone awry. Each summer, a cued-white London family gathers at their beloved seasonal residence: a gabled, periwinkle blue beach house that's long been in the family. The narrator, whose room features an old widow's walk complete with telescope, watches everything, including three younger siblings—bat fanatic Alex, horse enthusiast Tamsin, and newly beautiful, self-obsessed 16-year-old Mattie—as well as Hope, a younger cousin of their father, and her partner, Malcolm, who live down the beach. This year, there are two surprises: Hope and Malcolm are engaged, and the Godden brothers, gorgeous Kit and sulky Hugo, sons of a once-famous actress, move in with Hope and Malcolm for the season. Kit, a manipulator par excellence, immediately makes a play for Mattie's affections, but also, says the narrator, "slipped between my ribs like a flick-knife." Between Mal and Hope's wedding planning, the Godden brothers' tensions, and Kit's erratic attentions, the summer darkens, leading this effective character study and depiction of childhood's end to a surprising climax. Ages 14–up. (Apr.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Spending the summer in a turreted seaside vacation house while her family members plan a wedding, a teen bonds with the sons of a fading movie actress, before a malevolent presence challenges her innocence. By the award-winning author of How I Live Now. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"In an eccentric, turreted vacation house by the sea, our watchful narrator sees everything, including many things that shouldn't be seen, while brothers and sisters, parents and theatrical older cousins fill the hot days with wine and tennis and sailingand planning a wedding. Enter two brothers, the sons of a fading film actress; irresistibly charming, languidly sexy Kit and surly, silent Hugo. Suddenly there's a serpent in this paradise, and the consequences will be devastating"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

From National Book Award Finalist Meg Rosoff comes a lyrical, compulsively readable coming-of-age tale that is heady, irresistible, and timeless.Everyone talks about falling in love like it's the most miraculous, life-changing thing in the world. Something happens, they say, and you know . . .I looked into his eyes and I knew.Only, everyone else knew too. Everyone else felt exactly the same way.This is the story of one family during one dreamy summer—the summer when everything changes. In an eccentric, turreted vacation house by the sea, our watchful narrator sees everything, including many things that shouldn’t be seen, while brothers and sisters, parents and theatrical older cousins fill the hot days with wine and tennis and sailing and planning a wedding. Enter two brothers, the sons of a fading film actress—irresistibly charming, languidly sexy Kit and surly, silent Hugo. Suddenly there’s a serpent in this paradise, and the consequences will be devastating. In a propulsive narrative carrying intrigue and a growing sense of unease, Meg Rosoff, best-selling author of the iconic How I Live Now, offers a summer tale of innocence lost that will find its place among the classics of young adult literature.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

From National Book Award Finalist Meg Rosoff comes a lyrical, compulsively readable coming-of-age tale that is heady, irresistible, and timeless.Everyone talks about falling in love like it's the most miraculous, life-changing thing in the world. Something happens, they say, and you know . . .I looked into his eyes and I knew.Only, everyone else knew too. Everyone else felt exactly the same way.This is the story of one family during one dreamy summer'the summer when everything changes. In an eccentric, turreted vacation house by the sea, our watchful narrator sees everything, including many things that shouldn't be seen, while brothers and sisters, parents and theatrical older cousins fill the hot days with wine and tennis and sailing and planning a wedding. Enter two brothers, the sons of a fading film actress'irresistibly charming, languidly sexy Kit and surly, silent Hugo. Suddenly there's a serpent in this paradise, and the consequences will be devastating. In a propulsive narrative carrying intrigue and a growing sense of unease, Meg Rosoff, best-selling author of the iconic How I Live Now, offers a summer tale of innocence lost that will find its place among the classics of young adult literature.