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“A triumph.” —Philip Pullman, bestselling author of the His Dark Materials saga
Four young lives are forever changed at the dawn of World War II in this “stirring and unforgettable” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) novel from award-winning author Hilary McKay.
In England, Ruby has no friends because of the speckled blotches on her face that kids say look like dirt. And Kate is sickly all the time, her older siblings each taking turns looking after her. Ruby and Kate’s first meeting is nearly disastrous, but the two lonely girls soon strike up a friendship. Their connection becomes all the more important when England joins the war against Germany and the blitz begins overhead.
In Germany, Erik and Hans are best friends filled with plans for their future: Erik taking over their beloved local zoo, and Hans serving pastries right outside the gates. They never expected to be forced to join the national service, training as pilots and tasked with hurting people.
And in London a mistreated dog roams the streets looking for handouts, and for a friend.
All of these lives will cross in the most surprising ways in this heartrending tale of war and compassion, and hope that can be found in even the most unexpected friendships, brought to life by award-winning author Hilary McKay.
About the Author
Hilary McKay is the award-winning author of The Time of Green Magic (which received five starred reviews), The Skylarks’ War (which was a Boston Globe Best Book and received three starred reviews), Binny Bewitched (which was a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year and received two starred reviews), Binny in Secret (which received three starred reviews), Binny for Short (which received four starred reviews), and six novels about the Casson family: Saffy’s Angel, Indigo’s Star, Permanent Rose, Caddy Ever After, Forever Rose, and Caddy’s World. She is also the author of Wishing for Tomorrow, the sequel to Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess, and The Swallows’ Flight. Hilary lives with her family in Derbyshire, England. Visit her at HilaryMcKay.co.uk.
"Hilary McKay is incomparable, a storytelling wizard at the height of her power – and this book is a time machine, transporting you back to 1940. I’m so convinced that McKay’s fledgling swallows are based on her own experience that I find it hard to believe she hasn’t also soared in combat or marched into battle herself."
— Elizabeth Wein, author of Code Name Verity
* "Stirring and unforgettable."
— Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"McKay’s cast are their usual endearing selves, with grim realities present yet carefully negotiated and offset by charm and joy."