cover image Owl in Love

Owl in Love

Patrice Kindl. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $16 (208pp) ISBN 978-0-395-66162-8

``I am Owl. It is my name as well as my nature,'' announces the droll heroine of this highly original first novel. By night Owl, a shapeshifter, assumes her owl form, but by day she is an ``ordinary girl (more or less)'' who goes to high school. An everyday affliction overtakes her, however: she is in love with her science teacher, Mr. Lindstrom. Kindl's first-person narration shifts expertly back and forth between the perspective of a bird and that of an adolescent misfit making the first attempts at human friendship. The reader takes flight with Owl as she hunts for mice and rabbits, moons around outside Mr. Lindstrom's window and savors the life of a free owl. Owl's love for Mr. Lindstrom is, of course, ill-fated but, in an ironic and superbly imagined twist, Owl is destined for a truly happy ending. Kindl's prose is remarkably even in its wit, one of many virtues in this tautly plotted and touching novel. Ages 10-14. (Oct.)