'The Skylarks War' by Hilary McKay
We follow brother and sister Clarry and Peter who exist for their summers in Cornwall at their grandparents - where they link up with their wonderfully enigmatic cousin Rupert.
We watch them grow up against the harsh backdrop of the 1st World War- life has forced them all to cope and survive- their September to July's are governed by expectations and limitations placed on them by their 'absent' parents.
Rupert we learn later has learnt to face life with a smile, through his time at boarding school as his way to cope. His future is set by generations that came before; so we witness a young man unable to articulate his fear, unable to verbally protest and instead he takes matters into his own hands ...
And for me this was one of the first moments where we see one of the children- Peter's cousin Rupert show a depth of understanding for another's predicament- he knows that it wasn't an accident' but rather a calculated act of desperation.
Throughout the book the young people show such a maturity of understanding- they offer each other support - enabling them to navigate the adult world they find themselves in.
Hilary McKay beautifully parallels their coming of age - with their growing involvement and awareness of the war that they are all caught in.
A beautifully written and very moving book. I highly recommend it.