ISBN-13: 9780374303648
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Published: April 2010
256 pgs
Source: Library

Madeleine L'Engle was the author of A Wrinkle in Time, and though I have yet to read it, I am looking forward to it since I have read so much rave reviews on it. I went to the library for this book but couldn't find it, instead I found And Both Were Young and thus here we are.

Anyway, I started off with the introduction page written by Madeleine L'Engle's granddaughter, Léna Roy, who shared with us that And Both Were Young was in fact L'Engle's first young adult novel. She was inspired to write this book after she was being dropped off at a boarding school instead of living with her parents when they were seeking a cure for her journalist father, who had inhaled mustard gas during WWI in 1930 (L'Engle was twelve-year-old then).

So basically this story is about the life of Philippa "Flip" Hunter during her studies at a Swiss boarding school. Flip travels to Switzerland with her artist father after her mother's death in an automobile accident, and along with the journey is another woman who is hoping to take the role of the late Mrs. Hunter but Flip didn't like her. She thinks she is bossy and arrogant, and she is absolutely dismayed and infuriated with her father for listening to her demands at times.

Feeling homesick and not to mention a loner and self-conscious at heart, she struggles to fit into the school life and making friends. She later knew a few girls whom she called her friends, but deep in her heart she knew she could not compare them with a boy named Paul, who she has met by chance before her admission to the boarding school. They became good friends quickly, and as their friendship grows, Flip no longer feels so miserable and with Paul's encouragement, her self-confidence began to grow too. The thing is, Paul is not a student at their boarding school and Flip has to keep their friendship a secret.

Then there is Madame Perceval, who is Flip's art teacher and kind of a mentor to Flip. Through her guidance, there is a change of mentality in Flip as she has became to be a more confident and ambitious young woman. It is also through Perceval that readers will get to learn a little more of Paul, as he has a tragic past but I will not go further as it is best for you to read it yourself.

At first glance, And Both Were Young may seem like a teenage romance story, but let me assure you there are certainly more to it. Madeleine L'Engle had written a delicate story that revolves around identity, growing up, the joy and misery of adolescence and of course, love. The romance between Paul and Flip is subtle, yet that does not disminish the effect and the attraction they have for each other.

There isn't much glimpse of WWII, though this story takes place after it but readers will see how this has deeply affected the girls at the boarding school, in particularly to Flip's friends. All in all, this is a wonderful read. Now that I have gotten a 'taste' of Madeleine L'Engle's writing style, I will be sure to check out her other books in the near future and needless to say, A Wrinkle in Time will be the top of that list.
9 Responses
  1. Iliana Says:

    Melody, you've been finding such great books! Another one for my list.

  2. Jenny Says:

    I loved L'Engle's books as a kid, but I feel like I didn't grow up into enjoying her books for slightly older readers. One of these days I'm going to have to give her YA and grown-up books a try. I love the nickname Flip for Philippa!

  3. Wanda Says:

    I was completely unaware of this book before reading your review. Having read and loved her "Wrinkle in Time" and others that followed, this book would be a nice way to "get in touch" with a once loved children's author. Enjoy your other L'Engle reads!

  4. Anonymous Says:

    I loved A Wrinkle in Time as a kid, but didn't know about this one. Thanks :)

  5. The Bookworm Says:

    This sounds like a great read!
    Interesting that the author's own experience with being in the boarding school influenced her to write the book.
    Great review.

  6. Julia Says:

    I'm still laughing at our conversation over the miss-understanding titles of this book *LOL* --- sound like you enjoy the book and I find the book interesting. Especially the introduction page about Madeleine L'Engle's grand-daughter, Lena Roy.

  7. Beth F Says:

    This one L'Engle book I haven't read. After reading your review, I think I'll have to find a copy of it. I am interested in how the effects of the war lingered for the teens.

  8. Like some of the others I've never heard of this book. Seems the only one you hear about is A Wrinkle in Time (which I've wanted to read since I was 10 but haven't gotten to it yet!). It sounds like a great read and I like when authors put themselves into their books a bit.

  9. Melody Says:

    To my wonderful friends:

    Once again, I'm so sorry for not being able to reply on a one-to-one basis. I'd had an insane week at work last week, and it looks like this week will be the same! So if I haven't visit/comment on your blog, I apologise and I hope once things have died down a bit, I'd be able to visit/comment more on your blog!

    Hope you all have a great week ahead! :)

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