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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Review: Ondine by Ebony McKenna


Title: Ondine
Author: Ebony McKenna
Publisher: Egmont Books Ltd
Pub. Date: 4.5.2010
Genre: Middle Grade
Keywords: Enchantment, Love, Family, Ferrets
Pages: 336
Description (from GoodReads):
This is a brilliantly witty story with a furry tail ending. One girl. One boy. One spell to be broken. Ondine de Groot is a normal fifteen-year-old who lives with her family in the European country of Brugel. She has a pet ferret called Shambles. But Shambles is no ordinary ferret...He's Hamish McPhee, a boy cursed by a witch. A witch who happens to be related to Ondine. When Shambles turns back into Hamish temporarily, Ondine knows that she has to help him break the spell. He is the most gorgeous boy she has ever met and her one true love! He just can't remain a ferret forever. Can he?

I'd like to preface this review by saying that I usually don't read Middle Grade; It simply isn't my niche. That said, I was drawn to ONDINE. McKenna's novel received many positive reviews on GoodReads praising its humor and wit, which caught my attention.

For me, it was the footnotes that inspired the most laughter. In the text, Ondine mentions a BeDazzle and, in the footnotes, she defines it as a "completely unnecessary yet strangely compelling device to attach sparkly plastic jewels to your clothes." I couldn't have said it better myself! I admit it: if I owned a BeDazzle I'd probably use it. Secretly.

The romance between Ondine and her ferret, which sounds a lot weirder than it actually is, was cute. Though it was ridiculously far fetched, I went with it, taking into account that ONDINE is middle grade and a light hearted read. It helped that, though he was in ferret form, Shambles/Hamish never really acted like a ferret. He talked and thought like a teenaged boy, so I sometimes forgot that he wasn't in human form... until he did something weasley.

My main complaint is due to the fact that none of the characters seemed fully formed. There was no real development and their relationships felt disjointed. Part of me thinks that I wouldn't have noticed these inconsistencies when I was in elementary school and junior high, but the other part of me wants to give my younger self (and kids in general) more credit than that.

Overall, ONDINE is a cute read that will bring a smile to your face, but I think it's better suited to younger readers.

Grade: C+

10 comments:

  1. +JMJ+

    I think I'd actually go for this! I'm not encouraged about the MG classification, because I think it would really rock as a YA novel (a light-hearted alternative to all the Werewolf Romances out there), but I'd be willing to give it a chance.

    Thanks for the review, Sara! =)

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  2. I just wanted to note that I don't take the MG classification lightly. My genre classification is def. based on which I personally think it fits into, and do not view this novel as YA... That said, there's MG that is more appealing to YA readers, due to the language, topics presented, etc. and there is MG that appeals more strongly to those transitioning from early reader novels etc.

    I think I went off on tangent with this comment... apologies.

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  3. I've got this one and it looks great. Sorry you didn't like it much :/

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  4. Thank you very much Sara for the great review.
    I get confused about how publishers classify books. Is this MG, is it YA, is it teen or tween? Because I think it's really important to show readers as much info as possible - so they know what to expect.

    Plus, the markets in Australia, UK and USA are very different. This book doesn't have a US publisher/distributor at this point, but when it does get picked up, I have a feeling they'll call it MG. In the UK and Australia, they're saying it's for those with a reading level of 12+ In other words, readers from about the age of 9 or 10 onwards. Which would make it a good fit for a MG novel.

    Having said all that (gee I can be long winded!) I originally wrote it for myself and my adult friends to have a good laugh. I didn't think a book about a girl falling in love with a ferret-boy would ever find a market.

    But every now and then magic happens and I'm very, very glad Ondine has found such a receptive and appreciative audience.

    Thanks again for being part of the blog tour.

    Now, I'm off to get me a bedazzler on ebay :-)

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  5. C+. To harsh for an ex-aspirant writer to dish out to a Published Author on their first Young Adult Novel.
    Rethink your grading standard...or write something!
    I don't read Young Adult books either but it's certainly not a High School Creative Writing Essay!

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  6. Whatever, i think your rating was fair Sara people will always have some shit to say, great review!

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  7. Everyone is entitled their own opinion, thanks for putting yours up-Great Review!

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  8. Wonderful review, Sara.

    Also, if you don't read Young Adult books stranger, your no judge for her opinion.
    Just because you aren't a writer or an ex-one for that matter doesn't faze your judgement of reading.
    Don't like her opinion? Write your own review.

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  9. I thought it was a great review, and I'm the author! :-)

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion and what Sara has given us is her fair opinion.

    I would hate to think someone's gone easy on me just because I'm a debut author. What would that say about Sara? If she says everything is wonderful, it invalidates her opinion. The fact she didn't go gushy means her opinion is her own and when she does truly rave about a book, you know she's being honest and she really did like it.

    I love your blog Sara. More power to you.

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  10. I read this book too, but I don't really like it. I have the same complaints as yours. Cute, but not good.

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