And Both Were Young
by Madeleine L'Engle
reviewed by Lauren Yeh
And Both Were Young, is a sweet and moving story written by Madeleine L’Engle. Ever since she lost her mother in a car accident, Phillipa Hunter, also known as Flip, becomes closer than ever to her artistic father. Things change when she is sent to an all girls’ boarding school in Switzerland, where she meets many other international girls that talk about boys, clothes, and can even speak several languages. She is an insecure, awkward, teenager with no self-confidence and can’t seem to fit in or be herself anywhere except during art class with Madame Perceval. From dealing with her mother’s death, leaving her father to a woman that “lusts” for him, and adjusting to a new school, Flip is miserable and feels like an outsider. Luckily, she had met a boy named Paul shortly before attending boarding school. He someone who can actually understand how she feels and be comfortable around. Paul has a mysterious past, but cannot seem to open up until Flip comes along. As the two grow in their friendship, they help each other overcome their own obstacles, and help one another fill in their “missing pieces.”
When I saw when the book was first published (1949), I was taken aback. I did not think I’d enjoy this book because I would have a hard time being able to relate to it. I was wrong. As I read, I found myself constantly relating to Flip. Many teenagers may sometimes feel insecure about their appearances or have low self-esteem. We may feel like we do not fit in anywhere, and cannot be ourselves. We have many struggles that we have to face throughout life. As you journey with Flip, you see how she matures by overcoming these struggles and becoming confident through her actions and how she helps Paul discover the truth about his past.
L’Engle did a great job with making the story real. You could feel the strong connection between Flip and Paul and the development of their friendship and romance. L’Engle also does a great job in characterizing each character, and making them unique. I really enjoyed this novel, and could not put it down until I finished. If you enjoy any of Madeleine L’Engle’s novels, you will surely adore this one.