Saffy's Angel

Common Sense Media says

Colorful story of quirky, loving, artistic family.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Saffy becomes friends with a girl in a wheelchair, whom her family ignored for years; Saffy's mother allows her children to do dangerous things, like hang out of a window.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this novel features kids using poor judgment: Indigo hangs out his window in order to cure his vertigo, Rose eats paint, and Saffy, the central character, hides in her friend's car to join her family on vacation (without telling her mother).

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Saffy's not quite sure of her place in her chaotic, artistic family. First, she learns that she was adopted (by her mother's twin, making her brother and sisters actually her cousins). Then, her grandfather, with whom she always imagined a special relationship, dies.


When he leaves her a \"stone angel\" in his will, Saffy and her best friend hatch a sneaky plan to get from England to Italy (Saffy was living there when her mother died and reasons that's where the angel must be). But when Saffy returns back home, she finds it is where she is meant to be after all -- and where her mysterious angel is, too.

Is it any good?


The plotting is solid, but it's the characters that make this book such a fantastic read. This is the story of adopted Saffy finding her place in her family, sure, but it's also an introduction to the nice, but nutty, Cassons. Saffy's family members are flawed but also creative and loyal, including mother Eve, who forgets things like dinner, and who is overly permissive because she believes her kids "were in every way more talented, intelligent, and wise than she would ever be."

The only character who isn't particularly sympathetic is Bill, the father, who spends his week acting the part of an artist in London, belittling his talented wife who must juggle her work and four children alone at home. But he is shot down at times by his outspoken offspring, and ultimately learns to see his wife's artistic ability. In the end, this is a funny and tender novel. Readers will fall in love with the Cassons, and be excited to get Hilary McKay's other books about the children who live and create in the unkempt Banana House.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the Cassons' hands-off parenting style, while restating their own philosophy and rules.

Book details

Author:Hilary McKay
Genre:Coming of Age
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Publication date:June 10, 2005
Number of pages:160
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12
Read aloud:9
Read alone:10

This review of Saffy's Angel was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
Adult Written bymoviemadness April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

One of the most wonderful books for preteens

This book (and the rest of the Casson family series) is wonderful. They are all well-written, funny, and inspiring. Each character is quirky and lovable. Great book!
Teen, 15 years old Written byVivian_L September 4, 2009

Favorite book from when I was young~

I first read this when I was about 8 or 9, and I really loved it. I reread it again a year ago, and I still loved it. It's a great book with a great theme, and I recommend it to everyone.


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