Title: A Girl Called Owl |Author: Amy Wilson |Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books |Series: Girl Called Owl #1 |Genre: Middlegrade |336 pages
I have read and reviewed this book a while ago and fell totally in love with the writing and the world building. Since I’ve thought about reading the sequel that came out last year – Owl and the Lost Boy – I decided to do a reread of A Girl called Owl to keep the characters fresh in my mind for the new book.
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?
I was actually surprised how many details I had forgotten since the last time I read this book. I remember the feeling I had when reading quite well but the actual storyline? No. Which is weird since I remember details of the books I read rather easily. I don’t think it had anything to do with the quality of the book. The book was – even the second time around – amazing.
I’ve always loved books that have winter setting. Coldness creeping into bones, making everything heavy and tired. Snow that mutes the whole world and is beautiful and dangerous at the same time. Frost, that enchantes your windows with its flowers and fern pattern and is so pretty and fleeting. Winter brings this feeling for me, of wonder and loneliness, of ruthlessness and quiet. I loved how this book was portraying all those feelings I usually feel in winter.
Owl is a great protagonist. There is something she needs to know, something that eats away at here and her search for it, her feelings about it were so great to follow. Owl is weight down by all those questions and the changes that happen to her, all the while there are changes happening around her to other people as well, and it makes her feel alone and scared but also stubborn and determined. I felt like Owl was much like winter herself, gentle and calm at some times and angry and destructive with a storm inside her at others.
I also liked the other characters in this book, Mallory and Alberic. I loved the mystery around Alberic and how he was described. Mallory was a great and supportive friend, even though she had a lot of stuff going on herself. In the end she was a driving force, a sturdy rock for Owl. I liked her. There were lots of other characters that I found intriguing but don’t want to go into detail about, since I don’t want to give any spoilers.
A big theme in this book is searching and finding and losing. Searching for Owl’s father, searching for answers, searching for herself, losing herself. It was well implemented and I found myself yearning for those answers as well. Amy Wilson is really great at portraying and relaying her character’s feelings. It was easy to feel with Owl, the unfairness of it all, the fear and the annoyance and the anger and the sadness and the happiness and the delight.
I loved the worldbuilding and the small fairy tales (or rather stories) that were mixed in between the other chapters that made this book so much more immersive.
The book has great pacing, great setting, great characters, great everything. Maybe I’m just looking at this through rose-tinted glasses but I loved the overall feeling I got when reading this book, how warm and cold it made me feel at the same time. Long story short, I love Amy Wilson’s writing. I’m really looking forward to reading the sequel and spending more time with the characters and in Owl’s world.