LONGLIST REVIEW: A Girl Called Owl

 

Thirteen year old Owl doesn’t know why her mother gave her such an unusual name, but believes she must be called Owl for a reason. Her anxieties about her identity are added to by the absence of a father in her life. She must have one, everyone does, but her mother’s vague responses to Owl’s questions add further to her frustrations. When she was younger, Owl’s mother would tell her fairy tales to quell her barrage of questions, but now she is older, the childish answers simply do not satisfy her.

Owl’s worries deepen when frosty crystals appear on her body and she demands to know more about her father. Her mother’s answer is unbelievable- how can her father be the supernatural being Jack Frost? At first, Owl’s best friend, Mallory, is no help in supporting her with this unbelievable revelation as she has problems of her own, but the new boy at school seems unfazed and more understanding. Alberic explains that he is also one of the Fay creatures, like Owl, and reveals to her the existence of the Elementals, immense beings with the power to change the seasons. Jack Frost, ruler of winter; the Earl of October, ruler of Autumn; Boreas, God of the wind; the Queen of May, ruler of spring and Mother Earth, the leader of Royal Court.

‘They’re big characters - kind cruel, wild, nurturing, all the things you’d expect from nature’.

When Owl realises that the Elementals meet in the Old Druid Wood every few months, she is determined to find out more about her father. As Owl gets to know him, she uncovers an elaborate plot to discredit and banish Jack Frost and that she is positioned at the heart of it. The Elementals have joined forces to take their revenge on Jack for his encroaching frosts on their seasons and will battle for power to break through the icy grip of winter that Jack leaves in his frosty wake. Not only does Owl struggle with each of these incredible revelations, but she also struggles to get a grip on her own new found ability to control ice- this gift threatens to overpower her and change her forever.

This debut novel by Amy Wilson is full of ancient beings and icy magic, blending fantasy and the everyday perfectly. It is a brilliant, engaging read that hooks you in and pulls you along. Perfect for more mature Primary school aged children, exploring ideas about identity, friendship and loyalty, it sits perfectly in our moving on category. This is absolutely a book to fall in love with.

A Girl Called Owl   by Amy Wilson, illustrated by Helen Crawford-White

 Macmillan Children’s Books     ISBN: 9781509832460