Author: Ebony McKenna
Publisher: Egmont Books Ltd
Pub. Date: 4.5.2010
Genre: Middle Grade
Keywords: Enchantment, Love, Family, Ferrets
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.