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Though I don't go for ill-tempered heroines in general, Meggy didn't put me off. Maybe it was the tears that balance her anger and her love for the goose that captured me. My favorite aspects of this novel are the specific, vivid detail of Elizabethan London and the characters' voices. I love lines like "Cease your bibble-babble, you gleeking goat's bladder!" and "Hellborn goose! In sooth you should be roasted, you clay-brained louse!" Meggy and her new friend, Roger, throw many insults back and forth, and though I suspect this feature was added to their relationship to show off all those marvelous Elizabethan-era insults, and they may be a bit thick for some child readers, they're still hilarious.
Gradually, Meggy and her father reach a sort of truce and she begins to help him in the lab. Though he throws out subtle hints that he cares for her slightly more than at first -- when he declares that ONLY "the work" matters I don't quite believe him -- I found Meggy's fear that his head might end up on a pole not totally plausible. I just wasn't convinced she'd come to care that much. But the cast of characters she meets along the way is fascinating, especially the Grimm family who saves Louise the goose from the butcher's block, and the way Meggy stops the murder from happening is clever and grows logically from the plot.
There's some quibbling over whether this book is YA or MG, but IMO it's upper MG. Some of the challenging language -- the characters speak Elizabethan in both vocabulary and syntax -- probably earned it the YA label (there is no mature content), but in every other way this is mid-grade. Recommended!