Snowglobe by Amy Wilson
Published by: Macmillan Children’s Books (Pan Macmillan)
Fiction: Middle Grade, 256p
Rating: 4/5 stars
When daydreamer Clementine discovers a mysterious house standing in the middle of town that was never there before, she is pulled towards it by the powerful sense of a mother she never knew. The place is full of snowglobes, swirling with stars and snow and each containing a trapped magician, watched over by Gan, the bitter keeper of the house. One of these is Dylan, a boy who teases her in the real world but who is now desperate for her help.
So Clem ventures into the snowglobes, rescuing Dylan and discovering her own powerful connection to the magic of these thousand worlds. Vowing to release the magicians from the control of their enchantments, Clem unknowingly unleashes a struggle for power that will not only put her family, but the future of magic itself in danger.
About the author:
Amy Wilson is a graduate of the Bath Spa MA in Creative Writing and is the author of the critically acclaimed novels: A Girl Called Owl nominated for the CILIP Carnegie medal, and A Far Away Magic.
*I received an Uncorrected Proof Copy of this book from Pan Macmillan India in exchange for an honest review.
The central character of Amy Wilson’s Snowglobe is Clementine, a social misfit in school who is bullied because she is ‘different’ and who readers know have a magical quality about her. We see faint glimpses of Clementine’s magical gift, which she is yet to discover while she tries to hold on to her absent minded father and being a loner at school. Things change when she spies a strange house in town, one she’s never seen earlier. She enters it and finds snow globes hanging around and soon realizes that they have trapped people who have magical powers. Also trapped is Dylan who has never stood up for her in school.
Clementine’s back story of trying to find the whereabouts of her mother who is connected to the world of magic is interspersed with the emotional arc of a desperate need to know why her mother left when she was small. Her mother’s diary gives Clementine an introduction to her mother’s world but it is only when she tries to rescue Dylan from the snowglobe that he’s trapped in that she discovers things about herself and the world of her mother.
Clementine finds out that her two aunts have trapped people with magical powers, including her mother in the fear that magic can bring about chaos. In the world outside the strange home, Clementine must try and reach out to Dylan who is yet to take a stand for her, to work on his fears. Clementine’s character growth from someone who is angsty about being a misfit to one who tries to reach out to people; her attempts at reaching out to her father and slowly how she sees that there are people who can be kind to her and then finally, her wisdom in accepting who she is and how her family is, is a beautiful transition.
I was truly fascinated by the imagery of different snowglobes as prisons that had different elements: from icy cold to warm breeze and autumn air. The writing is fast paced and there is just the emotional quotient with themes around friendship, standing up for people, acts of kindness and loyalty that keeps readers invested. More than magical powers being used to drive the story further, it is more of forging bonds, uniting against odds, facing one’s fears that are given more importance.
I have an honest confession to make here: I had no idea I would love this book as much as I did! I will definitely recommend this book for people who love Middle grade fiction with just a dash of magic realism.