Review: A Girl Called Owl

Published by MacMillan Children’s Books
Published on 26th January 2017
Illustrations: Helen Crawford-White

A Girl Called Owl is a marvellously magical read, full of wonder, danger and adventure which spans both a wintery real world and a secret hidden world – truly beautiful!

All her life, Owl McBride has been told by her mother that her father comes from a magical wintery land, but folktales are just for little children, and she’s not a child anymore.  Owl is searching for the truth … but the truth may be more than she ever imagined …

As winter approaches, 13-year-old Owl notices strange and beautiful frost-like patterns on her skin … her tears are ice … and the new boy Alberic keeps staring at her!  When her mother finally reveals the truth of who her father is, Owl refuses to believe it …

… to be different is difficult …

Owl’s paternal problems are just beginning, but her best friend, Mallory, also has family problems to deal with – and these are grounded very much in reality.  Both girls are fragile, and this leads to friction in their friendship, but there is also incredible support, trust and loyalty.

Unable to control her newfound frost-magic, Owl needs Alberic’s help to distract her classmates from noticing her powers.  Alberic clearly knows more about Owl’s background than she does herself, and seems to be trying to help her … or does he have ulterior motives?  A fledgling friendship develops between them, but where has Alberic come from, and why does he seem to be following her?

Owl decides to take action, and wanders into the local winter landscape, which she feels an affinity towards, to attempt to attract her father’s attention.  But his attention is not at all what she had hoped for …

In her desperation to find out more about her father, and build some kind of relationship with him, Owl finds herself lying to her mother, in danger of losing her humanity in her magic, and making choices that could put her life at risk, all in order to connect to her father, no matter the consequences.

Owl is a wonderful character, who is more believable, despite her other-worldly quality, because she is fallible.  She lies, feels guilty, argues, but she’s also brave, determined and a real fighter for what she believes in. 

I loved the magical quality, steeped in frost-magic and folklore, but also the authenticity of the relationships very much grounded in reality. 

7 thoughts on “Review: A Girl Called Owl

      1. We can get planning our own wintery challenge!!
        FrostHeart and Amelia Fang & The Lost Yeti Treasure come out in October.
        There would be a few rereads for me such as The Way Past Winter and The Snow Spider.
        A Girl Called Owl is now a must on my list!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Good choices! Shadows of Winterspell also comes out in October. I haven’t read The Missing Barbegezi, Frost Hollow Hall or The Snow Sister yet. I’d re-read The Clockwork Crow and The Way Past Winter.

        Liked by 1 person

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