And Both Were Young by Madeleine L’Engle
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Published in 1983
Recommended Age Group: 12 and Up
Summary: And Both Were Young is the story about Philippa Hunter, nicknamed Flip, and her journey toward womanhood with the help of a boarding school and a friend named Paul. Flip’s father takes her to the boarding school along with a friend of her father's named Eunice. Eunice is the one who suggested the boarding school but Flip is not excited and wished she could stay with her father who was touring the world creating illustrations for a new book. Flip also doesn’t like Eunice and feels that she is inappropriate with her father whose wife died not even a year before.
It is because of her mother’s untimely death and Eunice’s infatuation with her father that Flip closes off and isn’t friendly with the girls in her new school and as a result Flip isn’t popular. However, she does meet and get to know Paul, a mysterious boy with a troubled past. It is with his help, and the help of her art teacher Mrs. Perceval that she is able to get past her loneliness and achieve things she never thought possible.
Personal Notes: The many interesting elements made this book more fun to read. The boarding school experience reminded me of my first experiences in college. Another interesting thing was the post World War II time setting. In the boarding school there were German people and Jews but they realized that the problems were caused by the leaders and managed to make friends and get past the pain and suffering caused by the war. I think this was a valuable lesson. Flip taught another lesson when she realized that her popularity problems were as much her fault as they were the fault of the other girls. Overall it was a great book and fun to read.