Remembering Mal Peet’s work

I was so sad to hear that Mal Peet died recently. I discovered his books late in my life, and was sorry I hadn’t found them earlier. I was hoping our VCFA students might get to hear Mal speak at Bath this summer, but sadly that is not to be.

tamarIt’s been a few years since I read it, but I can still remember Tamar, his Carnegie Medal winning historical novel set in the 1944 “Hunger Winter” with two undercover Dutch operatives parachuting into Nazi-occupied Holland. Small things turned the story. A box inherited by the 15-year-old character from her grandfather. A broken plate. The unraveling of an old story by a girl with all the energy and anguish that only the young can feel in quite that way. He nailed it all.

And the soccer books–in lesser hands those stories with their interweaving narratives would have crashed and burned. Soccer and “dream-like”? Would those two thoughts not seem to be at odds? But Mal Peet had me riveted with his quick wit and keen eye and deft story turns. I am only sorry our paths never managed to cross in real time.

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