Reviews

The Great Godden, by Meg Rosoff

etoile75's review against another edition

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4.0

A splendid and welcome return to YA from Meg Rosoff whose books are always such a treat. Short, full of angst, The Great Godden fits well in the traditon of those summer coming of age tales, à la Bonjour Tristesse. Many will consider her style “literary”, rather a rare reflection for YA (sadly and wrongly) and this makes the book equally attractive for adult readers and therefore a great crossover. But more importantly the writing style the turn of phrases, the language used, they all show Rosoff’s great respect for her potential young readership, which for me is summed up perfectly in this sentence: “When people express nostalgia for you, I always suspect they have inadequate recall”
. Rosoff gets her young readers (this is also strongly demonstrated by her choice of narrator), and never talks down to them and she does so so well. Perfect summer reading!

kyleofbooks's review against another edition

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2.0

Just about as aimless a plot as the family’s Summer it depicted.
The Great Godden is a quick read with clean writing, but I found the whole thing pretty pointless.

wendytheowl's review against another edition

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3.0

FR
Je préviens d'avance, qu'il y a plusieurs tw; mais que je ne peux pas les citer sans dévoiler une grosse partie de l'intrigue du livre. Si vous voulez vraiment les savoir, ils sont trouvables sur internet facilement.
J'attendais beaucoup (trop) de ce livre.. Et souvent dans ces cas-là, on en est déçu. C'est ce qu'il s'est passé avec ce livre.
Concernant l'écriture, j'ai adoré le style; qui était très vrai, très direct. Outre ça, j'ai également beaucoup aimé la narration, et comment ça nous a été présenté.
Mais je n'ai pas pu m'attacher à aucun personnage... Et le dénouement final... je n'ai pas trouvé correct d'utiliser "ça" comme "ça". Je ne peux rien dire sans spoiler.
Et de plus, j'avais vu venir le tout très rapidement, c'était prévisible pour moi.
Je ne le recommande pas forcément, ou alors en vous renseignant peut-être avant.. Je ne sais pas trop..

ENG
I warn in advance, that there are several tw; but that I cannot quote them without revealing a large part of the plot of the book. If you really want to know them, they are easily found on the internet.
I expected a lot (too much) from this book... And often in these cases, we are disappointed. That's what happened with this book.
Regarding the writing, I loved the style; which was very true, very direct. Besides that, I also really liked the storytelling, and how it was presented to us.
But I couldn't get attached to any character... And the final outcome... I didn't find it correct to use "that" like "that". I can't say anything without spoiler.
And besides, I had seen it all coming very quickly, it was predictable for me.
I do not necessarily recommend it, or maybe if you informing you beforehand... I do not know too much...

lifeislikealemon's review against another edition

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4.0

Met prachtig simpele prosa schetst Rosoff een portret van zo'n zomer die je je altijd zal herinneren. Zo de zomer hetzelfde als altijd, maar anders. De Godden-broers, Kit en Hugo, zijn de anders in dit geval en die breken het verhaal op een fascinerende manier. Is het de YA waar je jezelf in kan verliezen? Nee. Is het het soort YA dat literair overkomt en perfect past op leeslijsten? Absoluut. Is het terecht. Ja. De schrijfstijl is prachtig, de gevoelens en twijfels die gezaaid worden, worden geoogst op het einde en ik bleef de hele tijd gefascineerd ondanks dat ik op dit moment zowat de concentratiespanne van een goudvis heb. Ik ben sowieso blij dat ik het gelezen heb. Misschien dat ik er zelfs nog meer van genoten had als mijn hoofd er meer naar stond.

fantine's review against another edition

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5.0

'The actors assembled, the summer begins.'

A summer which finds our narrator, an ungendered, unnamed eldest of four thrown headfirst into lies, lust and lunacy. A summer that clearly marks a beginning as much as an end.

'When people express nostalgia for youth, I always suspect they have inadequate recall'

This novel was a perfect exercise in holding back. Narrated with a youthful earnestness that appears ambivalent at surface level but reveals hidden depths that illicit a sharp nostalgic heartache that feels unique to coming of age stories. Its simplicity is bittersweet, and I am impressed by just how clear the image of each cast member is considering both the number of pages and characters.

The genderlessness of our protagonist was fascinating. Reading this book, and then thinking back on it feels like an immersive reflection of oneself. I found myself at different points assigning a gender, or none at all and then questioning myself on how and why this changes my perception of events.
The closest comparison I can give within the same genre and style would be David Levithan’s innovative [b:Every Day|13262783|Every Day (Every Day, #1)|David Levithan|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1356993940l/13262783._SY75_.jpg|18464379] which introduced my tween self to the concept of fluidity, and had a profound influence on my perspective of gender and sexuality.

'Was this just what relationships were like these days? Whatever you felt like with whoever was there?'

As much as I wish we could, we do not live in a beautiful genderless utopia - but a beach house during a hot summer when reality seems momentarily suspended, where skin and salt fuse together and nature seems so powerful it becomes almost unnatural was a profoundly beautiful and fitting setting. The environment was alive and electric just as much as the humans (and basset hound Gomez).

'Not for the first time I wondered about the perverted value of the human race, how beauty trumps nearly everything. Including goodness, money, and talent. On its own of course. It’s useless. A wasting asset. And very possibly ruinous for the owner as well. Even the Mona Lisa must get tired of being stared at.'

Though contemporary it had a wistful, timeless quality characteristic of a literary classic. This was a stunning lil novella that had me so captivated I read in one sitting, which is impressive considering my gooey isolation brain. Highly recommend!!

babynini's review against another edition

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4.0

this book was really something else omg :O at first (the first like 150 pages LOL) it was super hard and boring to get through i thought it would be another typical summer romance book but i never realised how amazing it was till i only had 20 pages of the book left!!!! i love how it didn't portray love as just a happy feeling but an emotion that could consume you in all the wrong ways, make you into someone that you're not and can leave you broken in pieces in a way in which you'll never be able to mend yourself to return into the person you once were :( also i did realise that i didn't know the main characters name when i was about halfway through but i didn't pay any attention to it thinking i just had really bad memory BUT HOW DIDN'T I REALISE TILL THE END THAT THE MAIN CHARACTER'S NAME, GENDER OR AGE OR [ANYTHING] WASN'T MENTIONED ABOUT THEM!!! I felt so stupid by the time I realised like!!! the author is so insane for pulling this off it was so amazing and with mal's affair, i thought it was with just somebody living on the beach but it was fucking KIT!!!! INSANEEE I didn't realise till hugo explicitly mentioned it when he was apologising :( I love how the author wrote kit's character and slowly but surely built up his character as the villain he is you could see everyone in the house slowly losing themselves and anxiety growing and growing all because of kit and then all because of him the summer's at that house were never the same again I wanna know his motivations and why he's like that and baby hugo :( he has to be my favourite character he's so pure and wholesome i love him so much i don't understand how he had the fate of having such a shitty mother who paid no mind to him and only focused on kit when hugo is right there! he really tried his best to clean up the mess kit was causing and tried to warn the mc but they didn't listen :( I hope hugo got the happy ending he deserved by no longer attaching himself to his family and finding a new family within the mc's family <3 this book was seriously so amazing I loved it so much help I don't think I've ever read a book where I went from hating to loving it in the last 20 pages AHHH

celestemarin's review against another edition

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4.0

My main complaint about this book is that it's not long enough. It's a story that has been told before--it's not the same story at all but reminded me a lot of I Capture the Castle--but the narrator's voice makes it fresh, and funny in a dry way.

emilyvelveteen's review against another edition

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3.0

A bit underwhelming, could have benefited from being a bit longer. Characters felt very under developed and surface level

birdplum's review against another edition

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lighthearted fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character

3.75

lydiahephzibah's review against another edition

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3.0

This was a strange book . . . I didn't really get it? But I kind of liked the atmosphere? But I'm also not entirely sure what the point was? It all felt very detached, and I only realised when reading other people's reviews that we never learn the narrator's name. I didn't even notice that while reading. It's a very quick read - 245 pages with large font and margins - and it felt like it lacked substance. Very much, as another reviewer put it, a "hipster book".