Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee

17910570240 pages
Published January 28th 2014 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Source: Library

Synopsis: Unlikely heroine Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard doesn’t believe in anything that can’t be proven by science. She and her sister Alice are still grieving for their dead mother when their father takes a job in a strange museum in a city where it always snows. On her very first day in the museum Ophelia discovers a boy locked away in a long forgotten room. He is a prisoner of Her Majesty the Snow Queen. And he has been waiting for Ophelia’s help.

As Ophelia embarks on an incredible journey to rescue the boy everything that she believes will be tested. Along the way she learns more and more about the boy’s own remarkable journey to reach her and save the world.

A story within a story, this a modern day fairytale is about the power of friendship, courage and love, and never ever giving up.

Review: I love any books that are based on fairy tales, so of course I was drawn to this book as it is based on the Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen. However, I am not a big fan of Andersen’s fairy tales, so I was curious what Foxlee would do with this tale, though granted, it’s not one of the worst by Andersen. I liked the modern update to a city where it always snows and a cold museum.

The book was beautifully written and that was the main draw of the book for me. I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next. The passages and the trials Ophelia has to endure were all beautifully written and I felt myself holding her breath many times, as I was feeling the same tension Ophelia felt. Ophelia was a smart and quirky protagonist and of course she was the most interesting. However, I also was intrigued by her father and mother, who were both revealed to be deeply complex and quirky people as well. The Marvelous Boy, who doesn’t even have a name, while not the most complex character, he is the driving force for Ophelia to conquer her fears and save the world.

It seemed to me that there was a connection between going to this cold city and museum and the death of Ophelia’s mother. Alice, Ophelia’s sister, becomes emotionally cold and her father becomes distracted while Ophelia is seemingly involved in a deep fantasy. Obviously, the Snow Queen had a part to play, but it also showed how grief has come down on this family and how each family member deals with her death. I also liked how Ophelia’s mother is a character without being alive. She “talks” to Ophelia and encourages her when Alice and her father don’t believe her story.

Again, it was a beautifully written book, and I read it quickly, so it wasn’t a slow moving book, but it felt like it dragged a little bit, with the Marvelous Boy relaying his story and Ophelia having to jump through many hoops before finding the courage and will to destroy the Snow Queen.

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