As you might have guessed, if you recall the sorts of books that I usually review, I tend to prefer fantasy, or at least fantastical, novels. More often than I expect, however, I read a realistic fiction novel and am overwhelmed by how much I love it. That’s what happened when I read Hilary McKay’s newest book, Binny for Short.
To be fair, I wasn’t completely surprised by the fact that I liked it—I’ve read almost all of McKay’s middle-grade fiction books, from the Exiles series to the Casson family books, and enjoyed them all—but I always forget how completely sucked into her works I get. (And I always forget how indelible the characters she creates are. I think that Binny’s younger brother James might be the most appallingly—and realistically!—riveting 6-year-old in existence).
Binny and her family have had their share of hard luck. First her father died, leaving them both utterly sad and in debt. Then, to pile heartbreak on heartbreak, Binny’s beloved puppy Max is given away without her knowledge. More than two years later she still hasn’t gotten over it, and is still trying to find him.
When Binny’s (NOT beloved) Aunty Violet dies and leaves the family her old house in a seaside town, things begin to look up for the family—or at least for Binny’s mother, older sister and younger brother. Binny is still so incensed at Aunty Violet (the instigator of Max’s kidnapping) that she can’t be happy in the house. But the town, with Kate in the café, Liam on the seal boats, and a best ‘enemy’ just next door, might change the way Binny feels about the house and herself. And sometimes, when you never give up hoping, the world turns out to be a nicer—and fairer—place than you thought it was.
Posted by: Sarah