April 2010, Egmont
304 pages, Paperback
Young Adult, fantasy
Magic, spells, family life, family business, bond of sisters, deceit, treasure, health inspector, business & family reputation, friendship, a ferret, growing up, fortune telling, teen romance
Summary from Egmont
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?
The first thing I liked about Ondine was the cover. It's pretty! It's magical, feels warm (emotionally - it is the same temperature as everything else) and really captures the essence of the book. The second thing I liked about Ondine was Ondine. The name is beautiful and unusual - hopefully I'll learn the origins in my forthcoming interview with Ebony (hopefully posting on May 14th).
Ondine herself is likeable. She's a sweet girl, very hard working. Although there are the usual family mishaps, she loves her sisters dearly. She cares for the family business, which is why she works her socks off when its reputation is threatened. If that plummets, so too could their source of income. I enjoyed watching Ondine and her family pull themselves together, trying to meet deadlines. As the story intensifies, Ondine who is normally sweet natured finds herself blurting out how she really feels about matters. Initially that causes friction between her sisters, but it does all work out for the best in the end.
Not that Ondine would necessarily agree with that: thanks to Shambles appearing on the scene, her aunt descends upon her with wisdom (and a lot of laughs). Shambles is cute as a ferret. He's quite useful with information gathering. I enjoyed the mystery surrounding his transformation into a ferret, and how he tries to become human again. The results will have a strong impact on Ondine. As for the Duke and his family - they are evil!!! Well, they do the odd good, necessary deed, but they are greedy money-and-status-hungry so-and-so's. They are fitting opposition for Ondine and Shambles. Although Shambles would say that Ondine's aunt is the real villain of the story.
If you're after a light read, which delves deep into emotions, but is chock full of laughs, definitely read on to watch Ondine's life unravel as she juggles the family business, dealing with the emotions of a teenager, and finding more about the transformed ferret. I give this a 10/10
Be sure to check out more about Ondine's world on Ebony's website.
Knife by R J Anderson, This involves fairies living in their own world, but includes a lot of humour, emotions and transformations.
Eyes like Stars by Lisa Mantchev, more fairies, magic laughter and mayhem (and a business threatened)
I, Coriander by Sally Gardner, magic mixing with reality, focuses on family life and with lots of humour.