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Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  5,491 Ratings  ·  1,005 Reviews
A modern-day fairy tale set in a mysterious museum that is perfect for readers of Roald Dahl and Blue Balliett.

Unlikely heroine Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard doesn't believe in anything that can't be proven by science. She and her sister Alice are still grieving for their dead mother when their father takes a job in a strange museum in a city where it always snows. On
Hardcover, 233 pages
Published January 28th 2014 by Alfred A. Knopf
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Popular Answered Questions
Vishwa Asokan He forgot his name, unfortunately.
But I think it may be David, since Ophelia has a hunch over it.
Sorry if I am giving spoilers.;)
Zoe.M I think Ophelia says in the book he thinks his name is david but she does not want to call him that.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Have I read this book before? Surely not. It's impossible. The book's not even been published. And yet ... I feel as though I've done this before, read this before, but everything was better before.

I feel as though this is trying very hard to capture the quirkiness of Catherynne Valente's Fairyland series while tossing in other components of previously successful middle-grade novels. The hero or heroine must have a quirk (or more than one!): Ophelia has a long name, "Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whi
Colby Sharp
Dec 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014, 2014-nerdy

This would make a magical read aloud in a fourthish grade classroom.
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, read-2014
This book is geared toward middle school aged kids. Guess what? I may be aging in reverse because I totally liked it.
The story starts in a museum. Ophelia, her sister Alice and her dad are there for the dad's job. He is an expert on old swords of all kinds. Ophelia just can't sit still and begins to wander the museum. She comes upon a door that is locked and can't help but look through the keyhole. She discovers a boy locked away. He tells her that he has been locked up by an Evil Snow Queen an
Monica Edinger
Nov 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Poking around Netgalley I came across Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy and, intrigued by the description, began reading it and was quickly hooked. It is a lovely, moody contemporary reworking of Anderson’s “The Snow Queen” set in a museum, no less. I find books set in museum to be tricky things — sometimes the setting seems more important than the rest of it. Fortunately, in this case, it totally works. Our heroine, Ophelia, has arrived in the never-identified city with her older sister while their ...more
Jan 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned, arc, paperback
Check out YA Book Queens!

NOTE: I won this ARC in a giveaway, and Random House mailed it to my house in exchange for an honest review!

Honestly, I have been avoiding writing this review. I finished reading Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy today at lunch (yes, I read at school. I am well aware that that makes me a book nerd), and my friends were telling me to calm down because I was freaking out over the ending.

I haven't read any other reviews yet because I don't want someone else's thoughts and opini
Kate Forsyth
Aug 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really loved Karen’s mysterious and beautiful novel The Midnight Dress, and once I heard Karen speak about her new book Ophelia & the Marvellous Boy I knew at once that it sounded like my kind of book. I bought the gorgeous hard-back in London, and am glad that I did as the production is just exquisite.
The story revolves around eleven-year-old Ophelia who is smart and scientifically minded. She and her sister and father have moved to a city where it never stops snowing, as her father – who
C.G. Drews
This is a marvellous book. Okay, I admit! Pun totally intended. All the same, though, this is a fabulous and magical book. I ate it as fast as possible. (I'm a hungry reader like that.) And when I finished?

I'm very guilty of hyping myself up for books. Usually because I either a) love the author, b) love the cover, c) love the title/blurb or d) feel the need to get excited over something so I choose a book at random. But mostly it's a combo of a, b, and c. Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy has th
Ms. Yingling
Jan 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
Ophelia and her sister Alice have come to live in a city where it is always cold and snowy so that their museum curator father can work on an exhibit of his specialty-- swords. He feels it is a good change of scenery for the girls, who are still suffering from the death of their mother. Ophelia spends a lot of time investigating the museum, even though another museum worker, Miss Kaminski, says it could be dangerous, because girls have gotten lost and never been found. Ophelia finds a locked roo ...more
Dec 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful book that I would have adored as a child. There were a few pacing issues at the end, but this might have been my childish wish for the book to go on... "The trouble with magic was that it was messy and dangerous and filled with longing. There were too many moments that made your heart stop and ache and start again (p. 186)."

A magical book.
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
It has been three months, seven days and nine hours since Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard's mother died. Susan Worthington was a prolific horror writer who died young, and Ophelia, her older sister Alice and their father, Malcolm Whittard, are still grieving.

In an effort to help them recover and give them a chance of scenery, Ophelia's father accepts a last-minute posting to a museum in another country to finish setting up the greatest-ever exhibition of swords. Malcolm Whittard is, according
Jessica Woodbury
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-aloud, library
I have not done goodreads reviews of the books I've read aloud to my kids, which is an omission I need to correct. Especially because I feel like a lot of adults review kids' books without having a simultaneous kid's experience to consider. I get my own enjoyment (and I think it's best for adults to enjoy middle grade and younger chapter books by reading them aloud) and I get to see how the kids respond.

This book was a huge hit, and I wasn't sure it would be. It took us over a month to read (we
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg-fiction
Ohhhh. This book is just ASTONISHINGLY good. The title/cover never grabbed me when it first came out, but when I asked on a private author-group for recommendations of an MG fantasy novel that felt really magical and also really emotional and heartfelt, this was recommended to me - and the moment I tried the opening of the book, I was spellcaught.

This is by far the most breathtakingly beautiful and truly magical MG fantasy novel that I've read in *years*. It's full of grief and hope and bravery
Dec 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Wendy
Recommended to Wanda by: NetGalley
Shelves: netgalley, 2014
23 DEC 2013 - I was invited via pre-approval from the publisher through NetGalley to review this book. I am deeply appreciative of this invitation and am looking forward to this fun read. I will read this one closer to the publication date if 28 JAN 2014. If I read it sooner, I will forget what I have read.

15 JAN 2013 --“And you might think a name is just a name, nothing but a word, but that is not the case. Your name is tacked to you. Where it has joined you, it has seeped into your skin and i
This is the most fun I've had reading a book in a long time.

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy is a charming and whimsical fantasy tale perfect for middle grade readers. I've seen a lot of comparisons to the movie Night at the Museum, and I'd say that's pretty accurate. Ophelia spent her adventure at a museum where all is not as it seems, and readers are taken along for a ride with a literal race against time.

There were so many things I adored about Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy, but I will start w
Jenny / Wondrous Reads
Jan 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, for-review
Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy is one of the best middle grade books I've read for a long time. It's a modern day fairytale, a retelling of the Snow Queen, and is set in a museum in an unidentified country where there's lots of snow and ice cold weather. It reminded me of The Chronicles of Narnia, in part because of the snow-covered locations but mainly because of the magic that floated off the pages.

Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard is a fantastic character to carry this story. She's brave, cou
Sonja P.
Nov 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really, really liked this. this reminded me of Liesl and Po and Wildwood, in the best possible way. Definitely recommend it.
May 28, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a cute book, although a bit predictable for me. I think middle schoolers would enjoy this though, especially girls who enjoy an adventure/fantasy story. Ophelia finds a young boy being held as prisoner in a museum. He was prophesied to be the one to save he world from the Snow Queen. He has to find the Other One, the one who has the power to kill the Snow Queen.
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in school also, and I really liked it; except I can never find it at any of my local bookstores. Which makes me sad.
Sara Grochowski
Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard, her sister, Alice, and their father, the world's leading expert on swords, leave home for a foreign city where it always snows. Ophelia's father has been hired to curate a museum exhibit and, while exploring the museum, a confusing, drafty place full of curiosities, Ophelia discovers an abandoned room. Within the room is a small door. On the other side of the door, is a boy. As you might expect, this is no ordinary boy, but a Marvelous Boy, the prisoner of the ...more
Feb 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Given that Frozen is tearing up the box office, I suspect that many kids now have some interest in Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen." It's the perfect moment for Karen Foxlee's modern retelling OPHELIA AND THE MARVELOUS BOY to come out. And this was a wonderful book to curl up with on a cold day.

The Marvelous Boy was chosen by wizards to bear a sword and deliver it to the person who can defeat the Snow Queen. Ophelia is a young girl grieving over her mother's death and feeling ignored b
Rob Slaven
Jan 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
As usual I received this book for free just so I'd review it. Also as usual I'll give my candid opinions below.

Since this is a child's book I don't judge by my usual criteria but explore two basic questions. The first is whether I would want my child to read it. To this I say most assuredly yes. It has a strong lesson to teach about following your own path, bravery and never giving up and being systematic in everything you do. As a fairly logical person I would like every chance to influence my
Mar 22, 2016 rated it liked it
A young shy girl with glasses, Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard doesn't believe in anything that can't be proven by science. She, her older sister, and her father (an expert on swords) go to a foreign city “where it never stops snowing” to help set up a historical sword exhibition in a vast, creepy museum. With their mother recently dead, Ophelia and Alice are subdued and sad, with their father deliberately shutting everything but work aside, although he does seem to be falling under the spell ...more
Jen Ryland
Wonderful middle grade! This book has all the things I would have adored as a middle grade reader -- a underconfident/underestimated yet plucky heroine, a creepy villainess, a fun and imaginative setting, suspense, intrigue, and a whole lot of heart.

I was a HUGE fan of Foxlee's The Midnight Dress. I loved her lyrical writing and imaginative story structure, and think she's a natural to write for a middle grade audience that, like Ophelia's mother, still believes that all things are possible.

Rebecca Honeycutt
Understated but lovely. Not your typical fantasy adventure full of breathless action and splashy magic, but rather a quieter tale, more consistent with the bittersweet tone of Anderson's original Snow Queen story. Lyrical writing, fantastic atmosphere, and a steady pace help, but it's really Ophelia's character growth that drives this story. It reminded me of Flora & Ulysses in that respect--a skeptical girl learning that it's okay to experience feelings...even sad feelings about irrevocable ...more
Apr 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, english
Ophelia is adorable, she's the kind of character that has you rooting for her. I also really liked how full of emotion all the characters were, Opelia got scared, happy and confused, she wasn't locked in a mold like many characters. Her sister's mood and the fathers reactions all made the characters very real.
full of misery

Sempat mikir, kira-kira anak-anak yang baca buku ini jadi takut datang ke Museum atau malah pengen menjelajahi Museum biar bisa seperti Ophelia? Yang jelas kisahnya bikin gue merinding plus sedih.

Anyway, it's children book so don't worry it's happy ending :)
Barb Middleton
"She had expected magic to be simple and tidy, with people disappearing in puffs of smoke - not slowly, by degrees, in a lonely, aching way." What a great line. Not only does it describe the boy who is magically fading from the world, but it reminded me of illnesses and aging. My mom has Alzheimer's and I feel like she is fading by "...degrees in a lonely, aching way." Ophelia Worthington-Whittard, the 11-year-old protagonist, has recently lost her mom to cancer and her father and older sister a ...more
To be honest, as a kid, I was never really a dark and dreary fairytale sort of person.

One time, I had nightmares because I read a version of East of the Sun, West of the Moon complete with the gory “chop off your pinkie for your true love who turned into a bird and flew off because YOLO” scene.

My mom banned me from the collection of fairy tales for the next few months.

As a brief note on exactly what kind of kid I was, I then merged from fairy tales into Goosebumps. At night. With dim lighting
Claire Fayers
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this after seeing a friend recommend it on twitter. Thank you friend! It's a magical take on the Snow Queen, set in a museum, and with a heroine who suffers from asthma. I love the enclosed setting, and the various challenges and dangers Ophelia must face in the museum galleries. Wonderfully atmospheric, this is a perfect winter read.
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, middle-grade
A great, magical middle grade tale. Perfect for middle grade readers. We started it with me reading to the girls, but had to take a break for a while, so when we came back to it, we did it with the audiobook. The narrator did a great job.
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Karen Foxlee is an Australian author who lives and writes in Queensland. Her young adult novels The Anatomy of Wings (UQP/Knopf/Atlantic) and The Midnight Dress (Knopf/UQP/Hot Key Books) have been published internationally to much acclaim. The Anatomy of Wings won the Commonwealth Writers Prize Best First Book 2008 (South Asia/Pacific), the Dobbie Award 2008, and a Parent’s Choice Gold Award in th ...more
More about Karen Foxlee

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“She was running out of the room as fast as she could, with the sword raised before her. She called back to her father. "I'll be back soon. I've just got to save the world.” 10 likes
“The problem with magic was that it made her feel very alone.” 5 likes
More quotes…