Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee is reviewed by MaryAnne Locher.
A knock-kneed, asthmatic, tween-aged girl digs deep within, faces her greatest fears, and saves the world. Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy (Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers; 2014; $16.99, Ages 8 – 12) by the award-winning author of The Anatomy of Wings, Karen Foxlee, combines a classic fairytale and contemporary fantasy to create the perfect middle-grade fiction novel.
Ophelia, her older sister, Alice, and their father are grieving over the death of the girls’ mother. Ophelia’s father takes a job at a museum in a city that is inexplicably in a perpetual state of winter. Snow and ice cover all the land.
The girls are left to fend for themselves much of the time as their father helps the beautiful museum curator, Miss Kaminski, prepare for Battle: The Greatest Exhibition of Swords in the World.
Ophelia’s father is quite taken by Miss Kaminski’s beauty and Alice enjoys the finer things in life that Miss Kaminski offers her. Normally a logical girl, Ophelia’s intuition has her avoiding the curator. Instead, Ophelia has taken to wandering about alone and discovers a secret room inside which, locked up, is a boy from a different time than the present. The boy requests Ophelia’s help in finding the key to release him so that together they may save the world from the evil snow queen. The room, as well as the key to it, is guarded by unearthly creatures that test Ophelia’s sensibilities and courage even more. As the time draws closer for The Exhibition, Ophelia discovers dark truths about the curator that give Ophelia the brave determination needed to save the boy, her family, and the world from the snow queen.
This book is a wonderful modern day fairytale that Kirkus Reviews called- ”A well-wrought, poignant and original reworking of Andersen’s “The Snow Queen.”