ARC Review: Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy

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December 27, 2013 by Alice in Readerland

OpheliaA modern-day fairy tale set in a mysterious museum that is perfect for readers of Roald Dahl and Blue Balliett.

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.

Special thanks to Random House/Knopf Books for Young Readers and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this title solely in exchange for an honest review. Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee will arrive in stores January 28th, 2014.

Here’s an ARC review, in list form:

Why I Picked Up This Book

* Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy is inspired by The Snow Queen, and I’ve seen a couple different versions of The Snow Queen and have really enjoyed them.

* I’ve been wanting to read more Middle Grade.

* As you may have noticed, it’s snowing here on Alice in Readerland this Winter, so I thought the book would be a fun match for me.

What I Enjoyed About This Book

* The Setting – This book has one of the coolest settings ever: a museum! I’ve always loved visiting museums, but I also love museums in fiction too (I was a huge fan of From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler when I was younger and I also enjoyed Night at the Museum). The beginning of the book where Ophelia is going through different rooms in the museum definitely caught my attention.

* The Author’s Fairy Tale ProseOphelia and the Mysterious Boy had some really well-crafted sentences that felt like it was pulled straight from a fairy tale, which fits perfectly with the fairy tale retelling/inspiration.

Cynical Cindy Says

* The complaint I have about the story lies within the title itself: Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy. The main reason I got this book was because it was inspired by The Snow Queen, and the two reasons why I love the story of the Snow Queen is 1) In the fairy tale, the girl was the one really driving the story. Her close childhood friend (or her boyfriend/best friend in some versions) disappears and the girl decides to go on a journey to find him. She overcomes all these obstacles and finds him and rescues him, because she’s good-hearted, determined, and quick-thinking. In Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy, it felt like the Marvelous Boy was driving the story more than Ophelia. As soon as he meets her, the Marvelous Boy asks her to save the world and then gives her orders/instructions. Near the end of the story, he still has to spend some time convincing her to do *insert heroic spoilery act here*. Reason 2) why I love the original Snow Queen tale is that, while the girl drives the story, the girl’s love and friendship with the boy is what drives her to rescue him. The girl and boy had been very, very close for a long time, and that’s what motivated the girl to search for him. In Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy, Ophelia meets the Marvelous Boy for the first time, and then he gives her instructions on what to do next.

* The story also felt more elementary than Middle Grade to me, which is not a bad thing, it’s just that I wanted to read Middle Grade. 

I love so many books from this publishing company, so I’m really disappointed this one didn’t work out for me! My gripes about this book are very personal, so while I won’t be recommending it, I’m sure that there are others who will still like it!

Do you have any Middle Grade book recommendations for me? 

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9 thoughts on “ARC Review: Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy

  1. To bad you didn’t like this one as much as you would have hoped. I have this one to review as well but I don’t know anything about the Snow Queen so I hope I like it. :)

  2. To bad this didn’t live up to expectation! Love the cover!

  3. Boooh, what a shame. I requested this book and I’ll be reading it soon, but I was expecting more from it :( For the same reasons why you disliked the book, so I’ll probably end up not loving it as much as I expected. Thanks for giving me better expectations :)

  4. Bummer! The premise sounds really interesting. Thanks for the review!

  5. DoingDewey says:

    The cover is beautiful and I’ve never read a re-telling of The Snow Queen, so that would be fun. I think the things that you didn’t like would bother me too though, so I’ll probably pass on this one.

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