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The Great Godden

Written by Meg Rosoff

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The Great Godden Review

Books of the Month Family / Home Stories Featured Books for Young Adults Romance / Relationship Stories Star Books Personal Social Health Economic (PSHE)

Summer love, lust and loyalties tangle in this piercingly powerful coming-of-age story

Shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2021 | Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award 2020 | July 2020 Book of the Month

With characteristic vision and grace Meg Rosoff has done it again in this exquisite novel that merits a place alongside I Capture the Castle, Bonjour Tristesse and The Lost Estate (Le Grand Meaulnes) for its coming-of-age, loss-of-innocence excellence. Though contemporary, it feels timeless and elementally affecting, much like the Great Godden’s impact on the family whose story it tells.


With an idyllic seaside summer stretching ahead, the tingling anticipation of The Great Godden’s unnamed teenage narrator is deliciously palpable: “This year is going to be the best ever: the best weather, the best food, the best fun. The actors assembled, the summer begins.” But there are still two more actors to take to the stage - enter the Godden brothers in a shiny black car. The narrator’s older sister Mattie is immediately smitten by magnetic, handsome, self-assured Kit: “She was desperate to lose her virginity, and what sort of person would say no to Mattie? Surely not some movie star’s kid, fresh off the plane?” Though Mattie is certainly attractive, it’s obvious that charmer Kit has the upper hand of any situation, but might he also be a trouble-maker, as his curt, less-of-a-looker brother warns? 


Such wonderings underpin some of this novel’s essence. With the stage fully set and summer speeding towards the climax of a wedding, it poses fundamental questions about motivation, and the nature of agency, of lust, of the desire to be seen for who you are. Quivering with unease, passion and paranoia, it also reveals how past experiences engrave themselves upon us, creating fault-lines that may crack and cause future ructions.


Sophisticated, seductive and smoothly readable, this is a summer story par excellence, and a coming-of-age tale for all times.

Joanne Owen

Other Info

The Great Godden Synopsis

Everyone talks about falling in love like it's the most miraculous, life-changing thing in the world. Something happens, they say, and you know ... That's what happened when I met Kit Godden. I looked into his eyes and I knew. Only everyone else knew too. Everyone else felt exactly the same way.

This is the story of one family, one dreamy summer - the summer when everything changes. In a holiday house by the sea, in a big, messy family, one teenager sees everything, including many things they shouldn't, as brothers and sisters, parents and older cousins fill hot days with wine and games and planning a wedding.

Enter the Goddens - irresistible, charming, languidly sexy Kit and surly, silent Hugo. Suddenly there's a serpent in this paradise - and the consequences will be devastating. 

The Great Godden Press Reviews

"A wonderful, captivating writer" - Daily Telegraph

"Meg Rosoff has the gift of being able to talk to the reader with a directness that goes like an arrow to the heart" - The Times


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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781526618535
Publication date: 10/06/2021
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781526618511
Publication date: 09/07/2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781526618511
Publication date: 9th July 2020
Author: Meg Rosoff
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 256 pages
Suitable for: YA readers
Genres: Family / Home Stories, Romance / Relationship Stories, Personal Social Health Economic
Recommendations: Books of the Month, Star Books
Collections: Our favourite children's books of 2020,

About Meg Rosoff

Meg Rosoff worked in publishing, journalism, politics and advertising before writing How I Live Now. Her books have won or been shortlisted for 18 international book prizes, including the Carnegie Medal and the Orange First Novel Prize, and been translated into over 20 languages. In 2016, Meg was the recipient of the prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the world’s largest children’s literature award. She lives in London with her family and two dogs. Click here to read a Q&A with the author's Good Dog McTavish. Click here to read more about Meg Rosoff.

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