I initially picked this book from the list Penguin sent out because I saw on Goodreads that it was compared to The Penderwicks. And I’m sure we all know how I feel about the Penderwicks…I’m talking a minor obsession here that was a decade in the making.
So here I am ready to feel all the gush…but I ended up feeling feeeeelllllzzzzzz
The Girl Who Sailed The Stars by Matilda Woods
Pub Date: June 25th, 2019
Publisher: Philomel Books
Price: $22.99 CAD
Adventure, friendship, and magical realism come together in this heartwarming, whimsical story. Perfect for fans of A Snicker of Magic and The Penderwicks .
When Oona Britt was born in the magical town of Nordlor, where all of the homes are built from wrecked ships, her parents never expected her to be a girl. Having listened to a faulty prediction from a washed-up soothsayer, they were promised a “bold and brave son,” so as the youngest of seven sisters, Oona’s birth became a disappointment — especially to her sea captain father, who doesn’t believe there’s a place for girls aboard ships.
But Oona is different from the rest of her family. She longs for adventure and knowledge. So she steals aboard her father’s ship just as he’s about to set sail for his annual winter whale hunt, and suddenly finds herself in the midst of a grand adventure! The ship has its own sea cat, Barnacles, and a navigator named Haroyld, who show Oona how to follow the stars. But for all that, Oona’s father is furious. Can she prove to him that she’s worth his love and pride, even though she’s not the bold and brave son he was promised?
Oona was an incredible heroine. She was a plucky, stubborn and curious girl who has been basically shunned her entire life for not being the “prophesied boy” that her captain father was expecting. Her family was so horrible to her. Like this was not Penderwick-like at all, I don’t know who came up with that lie. And still, I found the Penderwick vibes in Oona herself. I saw it in her bravery, her drive and her desire to be loved by the only family she has ever known until she discovers a new one.
As you already know, I hated her family. They were despicable. It was a funny despicable but still…ughjufsn I wanted to take Oona away from their clutches and give her a big hug because she deserved it. I think the dad was the worst of all bleh.
I am not the biggest cat person, but this cat was sure interesting. I really enjoyed how Woods played with his nine lives.
This Incredible World
I felt the cold. I smelled the sea salt. I heard the wind. It was all so incredibly vivid for me. Woods did such an excellent job in explaining how the North worked in contrast to the South. The origin story bits weren’t tedious but very interesting and helpful in understanding the culture of the people. Moreover, I loved how she incorporating the shipwrecks into the village. I would be scared to live in a house made of potentially haunted wood, but still cool! There was a whole mythology that Woods set up that enriched this world with each turn of the page and each risk Oona took!
Then the actual Sailing was Something Else
This is a pirate MG book! And I hated how the pirates treated my darling little Oona, except for one character of course. But wow oh wow this was more than just sailing to go whaling. This was an adventure of myth and fancy. The waters of this world held so many fantastical creatures that brought this story to life and made the title of this book a thing that actually happens. *Is that a spoiler…oops*
There was a lot of twists and turns to be had on sea. (And on land) Oona goes through many trials to try and win the favour of her father, but I loved that she finds something else instead.
The Illustrations were cute
Umm not like drop dead gorgeous Oh ma gosh! but they definitely added some charisma to the story. Especially when the more magical and fantastical bits were designed!!!
I took off one star just because I would have liked a little more risk…If that makes any sense. Things were too easy. Like I adore my precious Oona, but I wanted her to suffer a little bit more (???) Wow I am an evil, evil person and read too much YA.
Overall, this was a gorgeous quick and easy read. I’m sure MG readers will find many things enchanting about this story and will be hopping up and down to go on a nautical adventures themselves!
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
Recommend: Yes! It is a fast, fun and magical read!
Let me know what you think! Have you read any of Woods’ work? What are some of your favourite Pirate books? What MG books have you been loving as of late?
Aw this sounds so incredibly cute! I miss reading MG… I usually ended up enjoying them, unless they were truly horrible. But there’s just this charm to the stories that makes it almost impossible to dislike them so I can totally relate 🙂
Oona looks like an incredible heroine, just the kind you would want to be when you grew up, despite her circumstances. Poor girl! I always hated when kids were mistreated in stories, especially by their family of all people! Made me feel so miserable.
The cat sounds amazing as well! Animals in books happen to be my favourite part of MG sometimes, and I do have a soft spot for felines ^^
So cool that the world and pirates added an even more awesome touch to the book! One thing I love about MG is how many elements authors usually tend to incorporate together, and often in a seamless way too – just brilliant.
I’m really glad you enjoyed this, overall. I would knock out a star too if I felt there had been no high stakes at all, either. How else are we going to stay in the edge of our seats, rooting for a happy ending? Talk about boring xD
Anyway, lovely review as always, Rendz ❤
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Thanks, Soph! I had a really good time with this. I am usually one to reach for MG to feel a little magic and this one definitely delivered. Charming MG books are a great pick me up!
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Suffering is good for the soul! But also, I’ve noticed a lot of middle grade having a lot more parental intervening lately. I too want risk.
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Suffering for the soul but an HEA for the heart. This wasn’t so much of parental intervening, it was more that the dangers put in her path were solved to easily! More risk is always fun 😉