Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations


***The Exiles in Love

by Hilary McKay

Reviewed October 9, 2003.
Aladdin Paperbacks, New York, 1999.  First published in London in 1996.  170 pages.
A Sonderbooks’ Stand-out of 2003:  #3, Young Adult Contemporary Novels

After I read and loved Saffy’s Angel, by Hilary McKay, I ordered several of her paperbacks from  I continue to be very happy with that purchase.

The Exiles in Love is the third book about the four Conroy sisters (though they don’t necessarily have to be read in order).  Their family is chaotic, funny, and completely delightful.

In this book we learn that the Conroy women have a “family failing” of falling in love.  Ruth is now fifteen, and she’s the first to go.  She brings a squashed hedgehog home after school to try to save it, and falls horribly in love with the bus driver.  Next, she finds herself in love with Jane Eyre’s Mr. Rochester, even dreaming about him at night.  As if that weren’t enough, next it’s the young temporary English teacher.  Naomi falls for him, too.  Alas!  He can’t even tell them apart, which leads Naomi to take drastic measures.

Meanwhile the younger girls are up to antics of their own.  Rachel, who always looks grubby, wants desperately to be May Queen, even washing her face with morning dew (no matter if it’s a bit grassy).   Phoebe reads nothing but adult spy novels and is practicing to become an international spy.

Big Grandma thinks that the answer to their troubles is a French exchange student, to give them a certain je ne sais quoi.  Can a handsome and charming French teenage boy really help four girls who were already having trouble falling in love too often?  Does Big Grandma perhaps have an ulterior motive?

This is more wonderful light-hearted fun.  I’m now convinced that a Hilary McKay book is a guaranteed enjoyable reading experience.

Reviews of other books by Hilary McKay:

The Exiles
The Exiles at Home
Caddy's World
Saffy's Angel
Indigo's Star
Permanent Rose
Caddy Ever After
Forever Rose
Lulu and the Duck in the Park
Lulu and the Dog from the Sea
Lulu and the Cat in the Bag
Lulu and the Rabbit Next Door

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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