Please Note: I received a free copy of A Girl Called Owl from it’s publisher Pan Macmillan in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review in any way, and all thoughts expressed are solely my own.
“When you have a kid, don’t call it something stupid.
Don’t call it Apple, or Pear, or Mung Bean.
Don’t call it Owl.”
A Girl Called Owl by Amy Wilson
Published January 31, 2017 by Macmillan Children’s Books
Source: Pan Macmillan Australia (publisher)
It’s bad enough having a mum dippy enough to name you Owl, but when you’ve got a dad you’ve never met, a best friend who needs you more than ever, and a new boy at school giving you weird looks, there’s not a lot of room for much else.
So when Owl starts seeing strange frost patterns on her skin, she’s tempted to just burrow down under the duvet and forget all about it. Could her strange new powers be linked to her mysterious father?And what will happen when she enters the magical world of winter for the first time?
A glittering story of frost and friendship, with writing full of magic and heart, A Girl Called Owl is a stunning debut about family, responsibility and the beauty of the natural world.
When I received this, I was absolutely delighted because what can I say? I’m a sucker for owls! But this wasn’t a story about owls (however they are a pretty common theme throughout the book. Yay!), but the story of a girl who happens to be named Owl.
Owl has never known her father. When she was younger, her mother would tell her stories of the charming Jack Frost, and the magical land in which he resides. But now that she’s older, she’s sick of the tales, and wants to know the truth. But when strange frost patterns start appearing on her skin, she discovers that there might be more truth to her mother’s stories than she initially thought.
This is the kind of book that would make for perfect Winter reading. I’m actually disappointed that I didn’t get to read this during the colder months. I can just picture sitting curled up on a couch in a cocoon of blankets, with a hot cup of tea. Mmmm, doesn’t that sound just perfect?
It’s weird, but the story had a lot going on, whilst at the same time feeling like not much was happening plot-wise. First, you have Owl’s quest for information on her father, as well as the whole Elsa-like development. And then you have Jack himself, who is considered too wild by some of the more influential members of the fae court, and who want him banished. Add just a pinch of school/friendship drama, and voila! With all of these things happening, the story felt a bit disjointed at times and almost lost me, but it was still all fairly easy to follow. It just felt really slow for the most part, whilst never exactly dragging.
The relationship that Owl shared with her friend Mallory felt realistic, which was great! Both sides were dealing with some pretty big changes in their lives (Owl is basically Elsa now, and Mallory’s parents a separating), and they both wanted to help each other out, whilst the how of doing that was not exactly clear to them. They would fight, yet come through for each other in the end. It’s those sorts of friendships that I really appreciate in books.
I really enjoyed the whole twist on the seasonal cycle, with it being controlled by a cast of folklore-inspired characters. And I was fascinated with the writing and the way the words were strung together. It was so simple, yet made the book feel magical, and really added to the story as a whole.
Ridiculous as it sounds, the thing that irritated me the most about this book, was the use of the word “fay” when describing the fairfolk. I know that it is one of several correct spellings, but because it’s so uncommonly used (“fae” being the most common), it really bugged me. It might also be because that’s my aunt’s name (spelling-wise) and it felt so weird seeing the word in a different context.
A Girl Called Owl is an enchanting tale filled with magic and adventure, and is the perfect change-of-season read.
Thank you Pan Macmillan for the ARC.
Are you a fan of Percy Jackson or Disney’s Frozen? Why not give this one a try?
If you think you might enjoy A Girl Called Owl, you can purchase a copy in any of the following places: QBD, Dymocks, Booktopia, The Book Depository, Amazon (kindle)
Does this one sounds up your alley? What books are your recommended Winter reads? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Until next time,