Lily is a loner. Bullied by the Parkway Girls at school, Lily’s only consolation in life comes from the sweets she consumes. One day she stops at the Wakeless Woods on her way home and is transfixed by the crows that congregate around her. Lily feels pulled to the crows, and begins to visit them every afternoon. As she spends more time in the woods, and less time at the sweet shop, Lily gradually loses weight and gains confidence. Suddenly her favourite gothic dress begins to look good on her, good enough to become the basis of a fantastic Halloween costume to introduce the new Lily to her tormenters.
Though in many ways a classic tale of the ugly duckling turned beautiful swan, Crow Girl has a modern, gothic twist that will appeal to teens. Like all Barrington Stoke novels, this one manages to blend age-appropriate content with reading-level appropriate vocabulary and structure. The issues of self-image, bullying and friendship are all evident, but the messages in this novel never come across as preachy. Recommended for age 13+ due to mild language.