Sally Nicholls on falling in love with Saffy’s Angel.
Hilary McKay’s 2001 novel – the first about the Casson family – was the first book I ever read which made me want to write a gushing fan-letter to the author. I was twenty-two, about to start an MA in Writing for Young People, reading my way through the children’s section of my library in preparation. I made a friend wait an hour outside a shop because I couldn’t put David Almond’s Skellig down. I rediscovered authors I hadn’t read until childhood. But it was Saffy’s Angel I fell in love with.
Since the day Saffron discovered she was adopted as a toddler, she has always felt out-of-place in her chaotic artist family. When her grandfather leaves her a stone angel in his will, she is determined to find it. The journey will take her to the house in Sienna where she was born. But will it finally bring her home?
I loved how real and vivid every character in this book is – from dappy Eve, the mother, to determined six-year-old Rose. I loved the simplicity of the quest story, I loved the derring-do of best friend Sarah, and I loved that a book that’s so hilariously funny could have such heart.
I love this book. I still wish I’d written it.
Saffy’s Angel (978-0340989043) by Hilary McKay is published by Hodder Children’s Books at £6.99 pbk.
Sally Nicholl’s new novel, An Island of our Own (978-1407124339), is published by Scholastic Press, £6.99pbk.