I began The Goose Girl with the expectation that it would be a “girl book” (largely because Shannon Hale, the book’s author, is known for writing princess books). I was pleasantly surprised, however, to discover that I enjoyed the book, and didn’t feel like it was distinctly “girly”.
Now, when I say “girly” I am referring to the type of book that focuses on romantic character arcs, themes of discovering inner value, and cute-ified animals—the kind of Disney-perfect story marketed to young girls. While The Goose Girl does satisfy those requirements (complete with horses and castles), I was grateful for action scenes, a cast of quirky characters, and the most organically developed magic I’ve read in a long time. A delightful adaptation of the original story “The Goose Girl” by the Brothers Grimm.
I loved the attention to detail and lush language of the book. It felt like a fairytale, but better because lasted for a whole book’s length. Occasionally, the figurative language got a little too excited, but overall, the story grew literary (though not distastefully so) with its attention to symbols and themes.
Now, I haven’t done my full research on Shannon Hale’s writing process, but I would bet that she is a discovery writer, not an outliner. The plot generally developed nicely out of problems that arose through characters in the course of the story, rather than from exterior plot mechanisms. This gave The Goose Girl a bedtime story feel, a natural grace and ease.
On the five star scale I give The Goose Girl a 4.7 / 5. I recommend it to lovers of fairytales from 6th grade on up, both boys and girls. Scratch your inner fairytale itch, and give The Goose Girl a try!
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