Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I was entranced with this book from the start. As soon as I started at the chapter title, Vanity Fair-esque with the hint of what is to come: "In Which Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard discovers a boy in a locked room and is consequently asked to save the world," I knew that I was going to devour this book. Ophelia is an eleven year old girl whose mother has recently died of a lingering illness, and she is grasping for connections. Her father is absorbed in his curator work, and has brought Ophelia and her sister, Alice to a foreign city so he could open an exhibition on swords. With her father busy and her sister emotionally distant, Ophelia spends her time wandering the immense museum, inspecting galleries, and it is during this time that she meets a boy in a locked room who needs her to release him, find a sword, and save the world. Ophelia is a very practical sort of girl - she belongs to the Children's Science Society of Greater London - and she needs proof, and has a hard time accepting the Marvelous Boy's stories and accounts of magic. She must go on a series of quests through the museum to find the items she needs to save the Marvelous Boy, each time testing her resolve and belief in science versus magic. Karen Foxlee completely drew me in with this story, and reading this story over Christmas was the best timing ever with the impending winter and incessant cold of the museum. My only complaint, and it is a small one, is that the story ends very quickly. I wanted to know more about the Snow Queen and what happened after the final conflict. I think Foxlee's writing compares very favorably to Lemony Snicket's, and I would recommend this book to readers 8 - 12 years old.
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