A girl called Owl by Amy Wilson

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Macmillan, 2017. ISBN 9781509832460
(Age: 9 -14) Highly recommended. A wondrous winter read, A girl called Owl is magical, with relatable characters, adventure and beautiful prose. With a strange name and a father she has never met, Owl is finding things difficult. Her best friend is also having a bad time with her parents separating and there is a strange new boy at school who has noticed that she has weird frost patterns on her skin. Then using her new powers she enters the mysterious world of winter finding links to her father, who has only been described by her mother as if he belonged to a folk story.
The author has written an engrossing story that combines the everyday problems that Owl faces, of fitting in, wanting to know her father, and supporting a friend in need with a wonderful winter world peopled with Jack Frost and the fay. Her writing also reflects these two different worlds: the everyday one is written in a straight forward way while the descriptions of the winter world are lyrical and memorable. Delightful sketches of an owl in different poses are on the chapters about Owl icicles and leaves adorn the chapters peopled by mythical creatures.
Owl is a feisty and caring heroine, who faces danger and adventure in a winter world, and readers will be engrossed with the way she finally meets her powerful trickster father and how she manages her powers in a cold world.
The combination of mythology, magic and a haunting landscape make this a memorable debut that is sure to entrance its readers.
Pat Pledger