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Literature / Casson Family Series

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Time passed, but the Banana House stayed the same. Generations of guinea pigs came and went. Years went by so quickly that Bill and Eve constantly lost track of their child's ages. Caddy and Saffron grew long legs and long gold hair. Indigo took to dressing entirely in black. Rose started school.
Saffy's Angel

A series of novels by British author Hilary McKay. The books follow the lives of the four Casson siblings, the children of artists, all named for colours on the colour wheel that their mother Eve owns. There are 6 novels, beginning with Saffy's Angel in 2002. Rose also has a blog at Hilary McKay's website, and it could be considered somewhat canon.

  1. Saffy's Angel
  2. Indigo's Star
  3. Permanent Rose
  4. Caddy Ever After
  5. Forever Rose
  6. Caddy's World

The four main characters are the Casson siblings: The oldest girl Cadmium Gold (or Caddy for short), the second oldest girl Saffron (Saffy), the only boy Indigo, and the youngest girl Permanent Rose. With its delightful characters, beguiling writing, and enjoyable narratives, this series will continually draw readers back into the happily dysfunctional world of the Casson Family Series.


The Casson Family Series show examples of:

  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: Averted in the case of Caddy and Michael's relationship, as his heart belongs to her despite him leaving in book three and Caddy fully realising that it is only Michael leaves she truly loves at the end of Caddy Ever After. Subverted with Bill Casson and Eve, however, as Eve still loves him even though his heart seems to go yonder if he is away from her.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Rose tells Forever Rose from her own perspective. Also, Rose's blog at McKay's official site.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Rose has showed signs of this as she longs for Tom to return her feelings. A blog update seemed to hint that he does, but so far since her May 14th 2011 update, nothing is really known officially about how Tom and Rose feel about each other.
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  • Anchored Ship: Caddy/Michael as of Forever Rose is a Type 1, and Indigo/Sarah as of Caddy Ever After and Forever Rose also belong to Type 1. Tom/Rose is still up in the air, however, making it a Type 4.
  • Batman Gambit: Pulled off by Rose's younger friend Molly, of all people, by getting them intentionally left behind at the Zoo so that Sadist Teacher Mr Spencer is reprimanded by the Head and Class 4 is replaced with a kinder teacher instead, Mrs Shah.
  • Beautiful Dreamer: Rose watches Tom sleeping in her blog on Christmas since he has dared her to go sledding with him early in the morning, and when Tom sees her, he gently blows her a kiss then goes back to sleep.
  • Big Brother Instinct: The only time Indigo has gotten himself into a fight was when he thought his bullies were going after Rose. Though it turned out the circumstances were more complicated than that and Rose was actually beating them up.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Rather, little sister instinct. Saffron and her next friend take on the bullies that were going after Indigo. Rose, later on, does the same thing when she thinks they broke Tom's guitar further, and the boys admit even if they were trying to rescue her that they had it coming for what they did to her brother.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Tom leaving to return to America because of a family crisis. Rose hides under the bed and refuses to say goodbye to him, and later, Rose and Indigo watch the stars and wish on airplanes as they think of him.
  • Britain Is Only London: Averted, as the series mainly takes place in a little "unspoiled" town, though Bill does live in London, so it gets mentioned often, but only one book (Permanent Rose) has actually used it as a setting near the end.
  • The Casanova: Bill. And how.
  • Character Blog: Rose's at McKay's official website, found here. Rose now has a Twitter.
  • Character Development: Most pronounced in the case of Tom Levin, who is a surly, troubled, and a bit sardonic in his behavior American boy, but who grows up thanks to Rose's and Indigo's influence in his life, which gives him the strength he needs to return to America to be there with his half-sister, who is very ill and whom he formerly hated.
  • Chekhov's Gunman/Foreshadowing: Several examples.
    • Book two has one henchmen of the gang mentioned by name in the middle of the book, and later he returns at the beginning of book three, and he is David.
      • Book three, Permanent Rose, has Caddy asking if anyone remembers who "Alex," a crossed-out name in her address book, is, though no one remembers. Cue Alex appearing prominently in Caddy Ever After during the third act of the novel.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Eve ever so much, to the extent that it annoys Rose as her mother doesn't function well in real life. Also Caddy to a lesser extent.
  • Colourful Theme Naming: The four Casson children. Cadmium Gold (yellow) has long blond hair and a bright, cheerful personality, Indigo (dark blue) is a calm, sensitive boy with indigo-blue eyes and dark hair and Saffron (red) is a fierce, snappy and independent girl. For Rose, see Meaningful Name.
  • Cool Big Sis: Caddy for Indigo and Rose, and Saffron too occasionally. Sarah acts as one for Rose as well, but not Indigo. (It's her Cool Big Sis-ness to Rose that probably first attracted him to her).
  • Cultural Translation: Though popular overseas (such as in the States) some readers have a bone to pick with the changing of minor English-isms prominent in the previous novels not showing up the more recent ones, like "university" being called "college".
  • Dance of Romance: It is implied that Indigo and Sarah danced to one at his disco in book four and possibly kissed too.
  • David Attenborough: Is mentioned in the fifth book, Forever Rose quite often because Rose's friend Molly is such a fan of him.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Rose, Indigo, Saffron, Sarah, Tom... pretty much all of the main characters tend to be pretty snarky.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Indigo when it comes to wooing Sarah.
    "Gosh, you are stubborn," Sarah said, laughing hard and unromantically.
  • Dysfunctional Family: The Cassons.
  • Dumb Blonde: Eve, somewhat. Averted with her daughters Caddy and Saffron.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Hoo boy. Tom, Indigo, Darling Michael, and even Bill Casson, so much so that Sarah Lamp Shades this on Rose's blog because of the Estrogen Brigade that Bill gathers with an Even the Guys Want Him statement to drive his fangirls off.
  • Everyone Can See It: Tom/Rose. Rose takes a lot of guff for it due to her stubbornness and the fact that she can't see that she has a Precocious Crush on him, especially in Permanent Rose. As they matured, it has become all the more apparent to everyone Rose and Tom are around the obvious attraction the two have for each other, which has caused Rose much consternation, especially since it's evident that she fears that Tom doesn't reciprocate her affections for him.
  • First Guy Wins: If and when Hilary McKay actually gets Tom and Rose together finally in the blog (probably) or on Twitter, it will be this trope; as Tom was the first boy Rose met.
  • First Love: Rose Casson's First Love has always been American First Boy Wins Tom Levin, but nothing is known yet so far about whether he returns her affection or not since Rose has updated her blog and on her Twitter she is loath to give out information about Tom (especially since he's with Weird Meg but has also shown realisation of feelings Rose-wards) so nothing is known definitively yet how Tom feels about her.
  • First-Name Basis: Darling Michael, Caddy's favorite boyfriend, is only known by his first name until Forever Rose reveals that his last name is Cadogen. Also, David's last name is unknown, as he only goes by "David" as far as we know.
  • Full-Name Basis: Tom Levin is the only one allowed to get away with calling Rose her full name, Permanent Rose.
  • Gentle Giant: David, Indigo's friend in Permanent Rose, who formerly had bullied Tom and Indigo with the rest of the rabble.
  • Genki Girl: Caddy and Permanent Rose.
  • Guy of the Week: Caddy's dating method in books two and three, though she never forgets Darling Michael.
  • Held Gaze: In the blog spin-off of Hilary McKay's Casson Family Series, Rose's Blog, Rose mentions how her Love Interest, Tom Levin, "looks and looks at me, looks until I cannot look away." It's a Lampshade Hanging, albeit an unintentional one.
  • Heroic Bystander: Ironically enough, the boys bullying Indigo rescue Rose when she's about to cross the street with Tom's broken guitar without using a crosswalk or looking both ways. They pay for it when Rose believes they broke the guitar further and recognizes them as the gang going after her brother, leading to her beating them up.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Tom and Indigo, Indigo and David.
  • Jerkass: Some fans regard Bill Casson as this - with good reason.
  • Insistent Terminology: Michael in the first book.
    "Don't call me darling, I'm a driving instructor!"
  • Irony: Saffy's constant insistence throughout the first two books how "Bill is not [my] father." It later turns out to be true, however. It also gives her a Heroic BSoD.
  • I Was Beaten by a Girl: Twice; the first time, Sapphy takes on Indigo's bullies, and they have the sense to not go on further. The second time, Rose thrashes them when she thinks they broke Tom's guitar, and the boys admit even if they saved her life, they deserved that for bullying Indigo.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Tom Levin. (Bill Casson)
  • Just Friends: Rose and David. David and any female he comes in contact with, ie Saffron, Sarah, and Rose.
    • Rose and Tom's relationship has apparently reached this stage given her December 19 2010 Blog Post on her Character Blog. And her Twitter account is only accentuating that fact, even though it's apparent to fans how much Rose loves Tom even though she has recently said that Meg and Tom were "meant for each other" but fans know she's lying to herself.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Indigo gains a circle of bullies that go after him for the fact that he stands out, and he refuses to fight back. Then they rescue his sister from being run over by a truck, and she thinks they smashed up Tom's guitar, which she was holding. Cue Rose unleashing a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on them, and they all admit that Indigo didn't need to help her out because she was kicking their butts, and biting.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Canon's opinion on the David/Rose pairing, which is hardly ever written in fanfic or thought about.
  • Love at First Sight: Caddy and Michael, Caddy and Alex(though that one didn't work out so well).
  • Married Tothe Job: Bill Casson, to some extent. (such as when he's not philandering.)
  • May–December Romance: Tom/Rose, the books' fandom most popular pairing, are five years apart, but this doesn't stop Rose from being in love with him from the age of eight. (and there's hints throughout the books that Tom reciprocates her feelings). Also, Indigo/Sarah to a lesser extent.
    • Case in point, as of the Rose's blog; Tom is eighteen and Rose is thirteen, and Indigo made her really unhappy with the revelation that the age disparity between both of them is too much, and so Rose sulks and sulks, finally making her blog to ease her pain, as Rose has not - and will probably never - get over Tom Levin. So.
      • Discussed near the end of Caddy Ever After between Rose and her best friend Kiran about how it's a shame that Michael is too old for Rose, then she could marry him instead. Rose tells Kiran that Michael only loves Caddy, and so it wouldn't work out.
  • Medium Awareness: Rose, being forced to read a book about a "Remarkable Youngest" throws it away in disgust after shooting down her objections to it being anything like her own life, and then declares (directly to the reader) "Do you think I will still be moaning on the last page? NO! Throw the book away!"
  • Meaningful Name: All the Casson kids, but Rose especially, as the "Permanent" in her name is a reference to her being a preemie baby, and Eve named her Permanent Rose as a sort of promise - and so that she would be permanent as other people sent her flowers after Rose was born , implicating that Rose wouldn't be around long enough for real gifts, so Eve called her Permanent Rose not only after the gorgeous color described in the book, but in the defiant belief that her little daughter would permanently stay with them.
  • Meet Cute / Crash-Into Hello: Tom first meets Rose after she has caused a traffic jam by recklessly crossing the street to see him because she is so interested in him, and crashes into him, causing him to catch her.
  • Missing Mom: Linda for Saffron. Also Tom's mother.
  • No Infantile Amnesia: Averted; all of the Casson children remember the events from their childhood vividly, including Saffron, and this is a plot point in book one. Tom also has it too, since it is Discussed in book two.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Eve, often. Also Caddy, who had to re-take her exams several times before she passed, but this trope is most certainly Eve's.
  • Oblivious to Love: Rose in Permanent Rose, who at least is unaware herself the own feelings she is harbouring for Indigo's friend Tom Levin. It doesn't stop her family from teasing her about it though. A Justified trope though because Rose is only almost nine and merely is distraught by how "incomplete" she feels at the absence of Tom. Averted when she fully comprehends her feelings for him as she matures.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: Rose remembers one of Indigo's former bullies when he comes asking for help.
  • Precocious Crush: The implication in Permanent Rose is that Rose (who is only eight/nine at the time) has a crush on Tom Levin, who is at least twelve/thirteen at the time, but she isn't aware of it herself that she has a crush on him.
  • Purple Prose: Employed occasionally when McKay is describing elements like stars, colors, or paints or just evocating the setting of her novels. And it works!
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Rose and Sarah. Indigo is the male version of the trope.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Indigo/Sarah in Caddy Ever After. Saffy and David in the latest blog update.
  • Romantic False Lead: Meg in the latest blog updates and when fans ask Rose about her and Tom on Twitter. Rose is very, very jealous of her, which lends credibility to her only being there as a potential roadblock before Rose and Tom's much-anticipated Relationship Upgrade. Rose seems resigned to her now, claiming that she and Tom are meant to be together, but it's very obvious Rose is lying through her teeth about it.
  • She Is All Grown Up: Likely to be Invoked as a means of getting Tom and Rose together in her blog if it happens there.
  • Ship Sinking: Indigo/Sarah is over, according to the newest blog update for December 2013, and Rose mentions that Tom is married to someone else. This hasn't deterred the shippers at all, who continue to ship Tom/Rose staunchly despite McKay's constant Wordof God that the two are not getting together.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: David hasn't swerved in his affection for Saffron throughout all the books, and later moved with her to Siena, where the blog implies that they had a Relationship Upgrade.
  • The Ditz: Eve Casson. She has her moments of Genius Ditz, though, notably in naming her children, which even Bill commends her for in the first book.
  • Runaway Bride: Subverted. Caddy agrees to marry Alex instead of Darling Michael, but he now doesn't want to marry her. Later, Caddy steals all of Rose's postcards from Micheal and runs off in search of him instead.
  • Sadist Teacher: Mr Spencer in Forever Rose. He even cancels the celebration of Christmas for her class.
    • He has improved somewhat by Rose's blog though.
  • Ship Tease: Tom/Rose, constantly. Dammit, McKay, make your fans happy and finally give them that Relationship Upgrade we long for!
  • Title Drop: In book one, after Caddy has lovingly restored the angel, she takes it out to the garden where the others are waiting and says "Look! Look at Saffy's Angel!".
    • Rose also ends Forever Rose with a poem that has these words:
    Which is exactly
    What I intend
    To do
  • Troubled, but Cute: Tom Levin.
  • The Bully: Tony and the rest of his rabble in Indigo's Star. David counts as one at this time.
  • UST: Tom and Rose. And Rose's blog updates at Mckay's official site don't help matters.
  • Will They or Won't They?: A defining element in Tom and Rose's interactions with each other, and McKay employs it enough that fans are demanding resolution to the two's highly evident UST, since Rose's blog (and the books) makes good use of it.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Indigo for a play that Rose mentions in her blog. Tom tells her that "Sarah won't be able to resist [Indigo in the dress]."
  • Verbal Tic: Rose has a habit of using the word "So." as one word at the end of a sentence after making an essential point about something.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Rose asks Indigo why best friends argue with each other so much more than other friends. His response is because best friends listen to each other so much more than other friends do.
  • The Unreveal: For the 19 December 2010 blog post, no one still knows what exactly Tom said to Rose that evening or what she told him - only that it kept Rose up thinking "long, long thoughts."