Title: Oy Yew
Author: Ana Salote
Paperback: 278 pages
Published: June 27th 2015 by Mother’s Milk Books
My Rating: 5/5 stars
‘Lay low and grow’ is the motto of the waifs of Duldred Hall. The only way to escape their life of drudgery is to reach the magical height of 5 thighs 10 oggits, yet Master Jeopardine is determined to feed them little and keep them small. When the Master’s methods grow more sinister the waifs must face their doubts. What is kept in the Bone Room? Why is Rook’s Parlour locked? A new waif arrives and the fight for survival begins. But this child brings another mystery. Who is Oy?
Never before have I read something so utterly original – and in a children’s book no less! I genuinely want to sit a bunch of kids down and read this tale of woe and adventure to them.
Yes it is that good.
Oy Yew takes place in a fictional land with plenty of nonsense words and fictional nations. The words feel Roald Dahl-esque, which the geography puts me in the mind of Six of Crows. In this world, waifs are pressed into slave labour until they reach the height of 5 thighs, 10 oggits and escape…
…or do they?
The waifs of Duldred Hall discover something much more sinister lurking within its walls. The story gets creepy sometimes, but never tips into horror (which is just as well, considering it’s a children’s book).
The plot is gentle but pulls you in irresistibly. The plot line of the waifs is interwoven with that of the villainous Master Jepoardine beautifully and I rooted for them all the way.
Oy is a magical protagonist.
So…unassuming, so quiet. Yet his little heart and instincts just grow throughout the novel as he blossoms. As a character, he doesn’t say much, but as they say, actions speak louder than words.
A particular favourite character of mine was Alas. His resilience and determination stuck out and flipped my initial perception of him. The sibling-like relationship between him and Oy was sweet – it finally felt like there was someone to look after the both of them. The relationship between Alas and Lucinda was sweet too, again more sibling-like than anything else which I just loved after reading so many young adult romance books.
There are multiple view points, and more than a couple of times I had to double check who was who; some of the waifs seemed to blend into one another. That being said, the ones that were developed were written perfectly. A few of the adults blended into one another too, but being me, I wasn’t so interested in them.
This book was just…yes. I will be reading the sequel. And I will be lending it to the children that live across from me because they need this book in their lives.
I will hopefully be back sooner that I left it this time but, alas, A levels…