"A triumph." --Philip Pullman, bestselling author of the His Dark Materials sagaFour young lives across Europe are forever changed in the dawn of World War II in this "stirring and unforgettable" (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) novel from award-winning author Hilary McKay. In England, Ruby has no friends because of the speckled blotches on her face that kids say look like dirt. And Kate is sickly all the time, her older siblings each taking turns looking after her. Ruby and Kate's first meeting is nearly disastrous, but the two lonely girls soon strike up a friendship. Their connection becomes all the more important when England joins the war against Germany and the blitz begins overhead. In Germany, Erik and Hans are best friends filled with plans for their future: Erik taking over their beloved local zoo, and Hans serving pastries right outside the gates. They never expected to be forced to join the national service, training as pilots and tasked with hurting people. And in London a mistreated dog roams the streets looking for handouts, and for a friend. All of these lives will cross in the most surprising ways in this heart-rending tale of war and compassion, and hope that can be found in even the most unexpected friendships, brought to life by award-winning author Hilary McKay.