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Love to Everyone

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  349 ratings  ·  98 reviews
The Penderwicks meets Warhorse in this charming story about a girl who is fighting for her independence during World War I, from award-winning author Hilary McKay.

Clarry Penrose finds the good in everyone. Even in her father, who isn’t fond of children, and especially girls. He doesn’t worry about her education, because he knows she won’t need it. Her grandparents, who car
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 18th 2018 by Margaret K. McElderry Books (first published May 3rd 2018)
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Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
These are the kids from Binny in Secret, right? I’m not making that up?

Anyway, this is a short book, but it FEELS big. It also feels old school, the way it follows Clarry from childhood to adulthood. I miss books like that.

It also doesn’t pull it’s WWI punches, wow.

I recommend it.
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Clarry was 3 days old when her mother died.'

The Skylarks' War is a poignant narrative following the lives of Clarissa ( Clarry), her brother Peter and cousin Rupert. Growing up at a time when the world outside was amidst turmoil, the three and their friends build happy memories together that are at stake during the world war. The 'pity of war' that Owen once wrote about has been brought out once again from the perspective of a kids growing into adults. Although the book does get a bit draggy o
Oct 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
This is so meticulously plotted that I don't quite know how to untangle what didn't work for me from what absolutely did.

I'll start by saying that, as a war book, this isn't as successful to me as The Road Home or Rilla of Ingleside. It's too contemporary for that. Something about it screams "historical fiction" instead of "product of its time." Part of that might be Clarry, who's oblivious for a good chunk of the book, which blunts its impact. Part of that is the way the book tries to be every
Jessica Gilmore
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Occasionally, very occasionally, you read a book that slips so perfectly into the canon that it seems as if it was always there. That you read it as a child, reread it over and over, until it forms part of you along with Anne Shirley and Jo March, the Fossil sisters, Jo Bettany and Veronica Weston and Nicola Marlowe... the Skylarks' War is such a book.
Clarry's birth coincides with her mother's death, and her father, who only misses out on tyranny through indifference, thinks it's a shame she did
I feel like each book of Hilary McKay’s is a gift to the twelve-year-old I wish I'd been. (I actually don't think I would have had the sophistication at that age to appreciate her stories adequately.) She gives us a cast of earnest, messy characters, often caught in difficult family situations, who seem to thrive on their shared devotion of each other.

I believe this is her first historical fiction, and while we got more than a glimpse of horrors of the Western Front during the Great War, it was
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Darn you, Hilary McKay! You made me cry.
First, I love McKay's writing and will follow her anywhere. When her Binny books first wove in a historical thread, I was completely surprised and intrigued. Now here is the story of the Penrose cousins, front and center, which answers all the questions first posed in "Binny in Secret." Hilarious, touching, tragic, and hopeful: it's all there. McKay's trademarks are there, too: dysfunctional parents (for which she makes no excuses), kids with a full range
Kathryn Miller
This book would have been a firm four stars with a good edit, and readers less frustrated with the bagginess of a lot of current children's lit writing will find much to adore in this book. It aims high, which is always admirable, and doesn't entirely miss the mark.

It feels a little like a junior Catherine Cookson novel to me, with characters a little too simple, relationships too emotionally pat, and situations too plot-serving, to be the classier kind of work I think it was aspiring to.

It's a
L.H. Johnson
Endlessly beautiful, in that way that only Hilary McKay can be, The Skylarks War is perfect. I thought it might be on page ninety-seven, and then when I finished it and let out a great gasping sob at that ending, I knew it was. This is rich, wild and lovely storytelling, and reading it is like reading something you have known your entire life. I wonder sometimes at how McKay can do this, and then I realise that I don't need to wonder. I simply need to be glad that she can, and does, and that boo ...more
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hilary McKay's storytelling is so very lovely; the structure of her sentences so supple and clear; her characters so utterly real. You don't have to want to be there with them, you are. This is called Love to Everyone in the US; but I like the British title better.
Meggan Turner
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was written so beautifully. I honestly didn't know anything about it when I picked it up from a blogger event, and I never expected to love it so much. The story was beautiful and honestly I can't actually form words right now about how much I loved it.
Debbie Gascoyne
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, childrens
We first met Clarry, Peter, and Rupert, the group of young people at the centre of this lovely, nearly perfect new book by the always-wonderful Hilary McKay, as featured in an inset story in Binny in Secret. There, they were the curators of a little museum of objects that Binny discovers, and we are given snippets of information about them: that they, like Binny and her family, spent summers in Cornwall, and that Rupert, the oldest, fought in WWI.

The Skylarks' War follows the three, along with t
Pavitra (For The Love of Fictional Worlds)

Also Posted on For The Love of Fictional Worlds

Disclaimer: An ARC was provided via Pan Macmillan India in exchange for an honest review. The Thoughts, opinions & feelings expressed in the review are therefore, my own.

Actual Rating 4.5 Stars

The Skylark’s War is a middle grade / juvenile fiction told in the POV of Clarrisa aka Clarry (& sometimes her brother and cousin as well!) – and its told in the backdrop of the turbulent times of the world war.  

Clarry is a wonderful inquisitiv
jenny ☆
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whoa. Okay. This book.

The Skylarks’ War is a beautiful children’s novel, the latter half of which is set against the backdrop of WWII. We follow Clarry Penrose, her beloved brother Peter and favourite cousin Rupert, from childhood to adulthood while World War II is raging.

Where to begin with unpicking this book? First of all, the prose is absolutely, gloriously beautiful. From the descriptions of Clarry's 'Skylark summers' in Cornwall to the gutting depictions of the front lines. One particular
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Skylarks War by Hilary McKay is a delightful children's historical novel to be enjoyed by ages ten to adult. The story begins in 1902 continuing into World War I.
The reader follows two siblings, their cousin and friends. We get to know them intimately. We like them and care about their outcomes. We watch as they grow and develop before becoming embroiled in war. Their idyllic childhood summers contrast with the battlefields of World War I. War effects those at home and at the Front. Lies are
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant book set during the years leading up to and including the First World War. The main character is Clarry, a young girl growing up with her father and older brother Peter. Both children realise early on that the paths they are expected to follow in life are not the ones they would wish for, and so they begin to do something about it.

The best part for me about this book is that it manages to challenge the traditional children's novels of the time it is set in while sticking to the basi
Mrs. Debraski
I already thought Hilary McKay was a marvelous underappreciated writer, and now I think even more so! (Is she really underappreciated? Maybe not, based on awards, but it seems like no one else I know reads her books. And they should.) This will immediately draw some comparison to The War that Saved My Life. It is some solid hard core historical fiction. McKay does not flinch from describing the horrors of trench warfare. I loved discovering that I would be reading about not just a few summers in ...more
Oct 08, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: october-2018, kindle
I really enjoy books set during the First and Second World Wars, and was therefore intrigued by Hilary McKay's The Skylarks' War. Throughout, whilst some of the descriptions certainly captured things well, I did not feel as though the writing was fantastic. However, the characterisation and family dynamics were well done. McKay is understanding of both her protagonists and their feelings. I found the ending rather twee, and was going to give the novel four stars before I got to the last 10%; it ...more
Stephen Connor
This book is some feat, beginning in 1902 and finishing after the end of World War I.

It largely follows Peter and Clarry, siblings whose mother died 3 days after Clarry’s birth. Their father never seems to recover from this and is a distant character, a figure in the shadows and one not at all aligned with his children’s wishes. They love him just the same.

Peter injures his leg when he is young, meaning he cannot enlist at the outbreak of war. He is studious, a fatherly figure for his younger
Lindy MacLaine
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Haunting. Full of the vividness of real life, including the pain. A profound way to introduce WWI to a middle-grade reader.
Charlotte Holmans
A wonderful heartfelt story set in the years before the first world war, the story of childhood and growing up with war just over in France. Loved the ending!
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Moving very readable book, with a real feeling for the period. Gives an insight to the First World War and how society viewed it and women. A worthy prize winner.
Joyce Krom
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a charming book that will satisfy fairytale fans and historical fiction fans alike. Clarry lives a Cinderella-like life, pastoral and full of wonder, all the while she is completely neglected by her father and merely tolerated by her grandparents. McKay's descriptions of the adults in Clarry's life are reminiscent of the way Roald Dahl most often characterizes adults in his stories. The relationships Clarry builds with her peers are deep and meaningful, and demonstrate that sometimes fa ...more
Privy Trifles
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Reviewed by Privy Trifles August 17, 2018


Genre: Fiction/ Young Readers

Publishers: Pan Macmillan India

Behind the Book

Clarry and her older brother Peter live for their summers in Cornwall, staying with their grandparents and running free with their charismatic cousin, Rupert. But normal life resumes each September – boarding school for Peter and Rupert, and a boring life for Clarry at home with her absent father,
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderfully written story, and at the beginning I was certain it was going to be a 5 star read for me - it slips so deliciously into these children's lives & felt immediately like a classic, like the Railway Children or Noel Streatfield. I loved Clarry, her battles with her dreadful father, her relationship with her brother, and her escapes to her grandparents' house in Cornwall. The descriptions are beautiful, and you really feel yourself there & a part of the era as it moves ...more
Dawn Woods
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
A wonderful book for those aged 10 to adult. We follow Clarry, born at the start of the novel, closely followed by the death of her Mother when she was just days old. Clarry throughout blames herself and thinks others do too. Set at the beginning of the 20th century Clarry is an intelligent girl trying to follow rules she doesn't know about. She's constantly told that girls don't do this, that or the other, but can't quite see why.
Her Father, like many Victorian - Georgian men, does not have a
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent children’s book that can also be enjoyed by adults.
The story centres on Clarry and Peter, starting in 1902, when we find the children living with a cold, distant father after the death of their mother when Clarry was a few days old.
The characters are brought to life against a background of school life, growing friendships and ultimately, the First Workd War.
I warmed to them all and loved following their stories.
My thanks to Netgalley for this copy.
Sohinee Reads & Reviews (Bookarlo)
Read The Full Review Here:


I have never read any book set in the times of war and I know that there are a lot of books which are centered around that time. ‘The Skylarks’ War’ is a historical children’s fiction which is set in the time of World War I. The book is about Clarrisa (Clarry) who along with her older brother Peter travel to their grandparents’ house to enjoy the summers. Along with their cousin Rupert, this brother-siste
Aug 20, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through Netgalley.

The Skylarks' War follows our main character Clarry and her family during the war, it has a sweet narrative as we follow these children making the most of a bad situation and still having positive childhood experiences. As this is a children's novel, it was quick and fairly simple read, however, for the most part it appeared to be a historically accurate telling of people's life during the war. I enjoyed the chara
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mostly known for her children’s books, British writer Hilary McKay has set forward a completely, intriguingly heartwarming work, last year, marking the centenary of the end of the First World War. The Skylarks’ War is based primarily on a tolerably cold, motherless house in Plymouth. The house’s “father” was Mr. Penrose who was not much fond of children, including that of his own and with the birth of his second child, Clarry followed by his wife, Janey’s death only three days later, he discards ...more
Apurva Nagpal
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Skylarks’ War is an interesting historical fiction novel centering the Penrose siblings- Clarry, her brother Peter and their cousin Rupert.

Clarry was 3 days old when her mother died, leaving the kids with their father who wasn’t fond of kids. Growing up with a distant father, the only thing she and Peter looked forward to were their summers in Cornwall, at their grandparents house and meeting Rupert, away from the shadow of the approaching war.

When Rupert goes off to fight at the front, and
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Hilary McKay was born in Boston, Lincolnshire and is the eldest of four girls. From a very early age she read voraciously and grew up in a household of readers. Hilary says of herself as a child "I anaesthetised myself against the big bad world with large doses of literature. The local library was as familiar to me as my own home."

After reading Botany and Zoology at St. Andrew's University Hilary