The Girl Who Sailed The Stars | Review // MG reads are coming for my heart

Greetings readers!

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

The Girl Who Sailed the Stars

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?


Chapters Indigo | Amazon CA

The Likes

The Characters:

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.

Q: What children's books will you be reading into your old age? I've got lots of answers for this one. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall takes the number 1 spot. (yeah yeah Narnia is in 2nd let me live) There's just something about the Penderwicks that completely fills my heart with joy. Pure, good hearted happiness. And there are so many overtones of sadness in those books but I just can't help but feel happy when I reread them! THE GIRL WHO SAILED THE STARS is said to have Penderwick vibes~~ so you know I had to pick it up! Many thanks to @penguinteenca for the advanced copy! Day 6 of #flbmythicmay | Illustrated Cover #thegirlwhosailedthestars #matildawoods #bookstagram #reader #books #fantasy #mgbooks #middlegrade #kidlit #bookstagram #illustratedcovers #magicalrealism #bookishcanadiansThe 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!!!

The Questionable

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?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz


Hinder Review

Greetings readers!

I will be super honest: the cover on this one had me clicking request before I actually read the synopsis. o_o I mean it is purple and pretty and definitely magical! So isn’t it reasonable to think that the story will be equally as magical and pretty.

Well…it wasn’t too far off.

Definitely magical. And a whole lot of emphasis on this word “pretty”.

Hinder by Kristin Ping

via Goodreads

Ethan Sutcliff seems like a normal seventeen-year-old—at least that’s what he’s trying to portray. In a secret society run by the Supernaturals, Ethan is what witches call a Bender. Benders are Witches’ Guardians, who are able to control a witches’ ability, bend it, or move it away from harming humans. In Ethan’s case, he is able to bend the Earth element. But at the age of fifteen, he lost all connection to it, and the reasons behind it could only mean one of two things: His Wielder is either dead, or hiding out somewhere.

Alex Burgendorf has been living in her aunt’s locket for the past sixteen years with her mother—a Fire Wielder, and her father—a Water Wielder. For sixteen years, her parents vowed to protect her, and they have, as she is the last Earth wielding witch. However, time is running out. Alex must find her Bender, or the fate of the Supernaturals might be at stake.

*I was provided a free copy via Net Galley and the Publisher, but all opinions are my own*

Umm so yeah. I was expecting a lot of magic from this book. I mean elemental magic! YES. Two people having to work side by side to make it work. Yes. Their journey to finding each other and making it work. Heck yeah. A book full of teenager angst and petty characters. No……….. Well they weren’t all that petty, but they were truly vain.

What I Liked

Characters I Sort of Liked

Alex: She annoyed me only for 40% of this book. After living in a locket for sixteen years, with only her family as company, you’d think she would be a little more socially awkward. Not in this case. Yes, she went through some embarrassing stuff but that’s not what bothered me. Since she was so drop dead gorgeous, her family made her go under a glamour to keep the bad guys away and other reasons which I will discuss later. Her new face was very unattractive in many people’s eyes and adopted a sick nick name. And while she tried to stick up for herself, she agreed with people. She was, despite her many attempts to not be, vain. Vain. Vain. Petty and vain. Not always thinking things through. Another thing that made me want to shake her!!! But other than that, she was okay. Nothing spectacular in my eyes.

Ariel: The epitome of cool aunt! She was more of a sister to Alex and I liked that she helped navigate Alex in her journey.

Bender and Wielder Magic Dynamic: One of my highlights of this novel was definitely the magic. Elemental! HOORAY! I love elemental magic! In this book, magic is controlled in pairs! You have the source or “wielder”, who can conjure the magic and the doer or “bender” who can control and do all the wicked tricks! So I really liked that part! I also liked the story behind the villains and that there was mention of other types of magical beings!!! The magic just really made this book for me.

Humour: You hook me, if you can write something funny. This had some very funny scenes a lot of them held innuendos about–you know–*things*. But I liked that I found myself laughing or cringing from second hand embarrassment! And there was quite a bit!

What I Disliked

Ethan: From chapter 2, I thought he was an a**whole. He is the jock/golden boy/suavesmoothtalker/everygirlsdream *rolls eyes*. Plus he has a tendency to associate animals with girls as soon as he sees them. Total turn off. He even admits to the wrongness of it, but continues to do it anyways. Just no. As the novel goes on he becomes *less* shallow by like a millimetre. But he just didn’t cut it for me. I found him rather selfish, kind of irritating and…….umm just a big nope.

The Over-Powering Romantic Plot: So this is what really brought down the book for me. It didn’t help that I didn’t like one half of the ship. The catch with the whole Bender/Wielder thing is that they cannot fall in love because then a whole bunch of bad stuff will happen and they will become the bad guys or die. The bigger issue in these characters case is that they are so drop-dead gorgeous that resisting each other makes up the plot of most of this book. *Hence the ugly glamour*

O_O Okay.

I could have worked with this had there been less emphasis on the drop dead gorgeous looks. While I like to think that teenagers go for more than just looks, I know that I’m talking about a very small demographic of teenagers. To be honest, a lot of the decisions we make are based on appearance. It’s a sad, but true fact. This book showcased that fact a lot, in my opinion.

The Lack of Action: There was action and it could have been so much cooler had the magic been focused on more than the romance! I liked the action, but it sadly over-shadowed!

Overall, I thought it was okay. The ending was fine, it did leave some room open for a sequel, but I have no clue if there will actually be one! I would be interested in reading it though! The author did mention that there would be separate series that follow the other kinds of magical beings mentioned in this story so I am definitely up for that!

Rating: 3 / 5 Stars

Recommend: Like the romance genre, but want to try a little magic?! Then this one is for you!

Let me know what you guys think! Do you mind when the romance over shadows the rest of the story? I feel like it kind of kills the anticipation of cute moments!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz


Website Built with

Up ↑