Forever Rose written by Hilary McKay
Forever Rose is the fifth book, in the series of books by Hilary McKay, telling the story of the ups, and downs, in the lives of the Casson Family. In this installment Rose, the youngest of the children, is eleven years old. Her brother and sisters are growing up, and she feels somehow left out. Rose is often alone when not at school. Her father is still in London, her mother is not well, and is spending even more time in the shed in the backyard that is her studio. Indigo and Saffron are busy with school, part-time jobs, and other activities outside of the house. Her eldest sister, Caddy, is back in town but not living at the family home.
This is why when Rose's friend Molly comes up with a crazy scheme to hide and sleep-over at the zoo following a class visit, Rose finds herself agreeing to the plan without realizing it. This involves the whole class covering up for the fact three of their classmates, Molly, Rose, and Kiran, are not on the bus on the return trip to school from the trip to the zoo. The girls find the zoo is not as quiet, or as welcoming, in the dark after all the visitors leave.
It is during that spooky night at the zoo Rose learns a secret that could change everything for her family. The Casson family and their friends unite to spend a wonderful Christmas holiday together, along with a new member of the family. Forever Rose is the story of new beginnings, of relationships mended, and learning to understanding others needs.
Each installment in the series about this remarkable, talented, and interesting family has been fun to read. Thank you Hilary McKay for such a wonderful family and their story! For those who have not yet read these books, the story begins with Saffy's Angel, followed by (in order) Indigo's Star, Permanent Rose, Caddy Ever After, and finally, Forever Rose.