Some people have said some nice things about my work. Other people were kind enough to interview me on their lovely websites. Here’s a bit of it here:


For Iron Hearted Violet -

“Barnhill inverts common fairy-tale notions: there’s a princess who is not beautiful, a dragon more fearful than fearsome and gods who do not tower but are humble in size. The tale’s castle, which lives through magic, is the most inventive rendition of architecture since J. K. Rowling conjured Hogwarts; its living, breathing stones conceal the heart of a god.” – New York Times

“A splendid fantasy…layered and complex, Barnhill’s story brings a modern feel to age-old fairy tale tropes.”
-Publishers Weekly

“Storytelling plays a key role in the book, intriguingly blurring the line between what is real and what is imaginary….Triumphant.”
-The Horn Book

“Wonderful read-aloud potential…with a likable hero and heroine, a well-paced plot, and a daunting villain.”

“It’s a coming-of-age story, a mystery and an adventure about owning one’s strengths, and not shying away from them, regardless of how unorthodox they may appear to others.”
-Shelf Awareness

Iron Hearted Violet is a thrilling tale of ancient magic, deception, and tremendous bravery.  This rich and compelling story will capture its readers from the very first page.  They will be hooked, awaiting the unveiling of the dark shadows and secrets of Violet’s kingdom.  I admired Violet’s courageous attitude, Demetrius’ almost telekinetic connection with the kingdom’s animals, and the mystique and mystery of the last dragon on earth.  Iron Hearted Violet is now one of my new favourite fairytales.”

And for Mostly True Story of Jack:

A starred review  from Kirkus: “A truly splendid amalgamation of mystery, magic and creeping horror will spellbind the middle-grade set.”

And another starred review from Publisher’s Weekly: “Suspense builds steadily, with twists and surprises woven throughout, and friendship emerges as a powerful theme. . . Barnhill explores the struggle between good and evil and the power of love and sacrifice, creating a provocative and highly original mystery.”

And a starred review from Booklist: “Wonderful in the best possible way: filled with wonders and magic, yes, but magic that is ancient, numinous, and tied to the natural world…Barnhill’s first novel for children is a marvel of both plotting and characterization, and it provides a foundation for the omnipresent magic that elevates this title to the first rank of contemporary children’s literature.”

A starred review from VOYA: “A compelling story with genuine characters and a deliciously creepy atmosphere. The suspense builds from the very first page…This delightful story will captivate readers with its blend of magic, mystery, and adventure.”

A mention of The Mostly True Story of Jack at A Fuse 8 Production at School Library Journal: “If I am allowed one dark horse Newbery candidate a year, then I would like to make Barnhill’s debut my dark horse. . . .This has got to be one of the creepiest middle grade titles of the year and I absolutely adore it.”

And from the Los Angeles Times: “A high-concept take on the meaning of home and the importance of family, “The Mostly True Story of Jack” is a delightfully unusual gem.”

A review of The Mostly True Story of Jack from Guys Lit Wire: “There’s a folktale logic in the story, and it’s thrilling as the danger manifests and the kids man up (in the genderless sense of the term) to face it. The core story of Jack, who he is and what his destiny may be, is awfully good. But Barnhill garnishes this with a collection of interesting human and non-human characters, all drawn in vivid strokes. The threats are real, but so are the bonds holding the characters together.”

A review of “Open The Door And The Light Pours Through”(Clockwork Phoenix 2, 2009) on SF Site : “This is a story fraught with vanishing, evanescence, the ephemeral: what begins as a correspondence between a married couple separated by the necessities of the Second World War slowly unravels into something quite different, by turns beautiful and frightening.”

A review of “Notes on the Untimely Death of Ronia Drake” (Fantasy, 2008) from The Fix:  “Kelly Barnhill’s “Notes on the Untimely Death of Ronia Drake” is a gruesome, Carteresque exploration of female archetypes at war with one another. Like last month’s “Time to Say Goodnight” by Caroline M. Yoachim, it incorporates divorce in its fantasy, but that story’s gentle magical realism is the diametric opposite of this tale’s dark surrealism.”

A review of “The Men Who Live in Trees” (Postscripts, 2008) From The Fix. “This has absolutely marvellous worldbuilding: the planet and its culture are very well depicted, with a strong sense of place (though the place itself doesn’t exactly feel SFnal, but more like a derivation of colonial Brazil or of the West Indies). Carmina herself is sympathetic, and her gradual uncovering of the events leading to her father’s death, as well as her own destiny, are convincingly depicted. Recommended.”

A Review of “Elegy to Gabrielle, Patron Saint of Healers, Whores and Righteous Thieves” (Fast Ships, Black Sails, Nightshade Books, 2008) “:….one of the most beautiful stories in the anthology. About a miracle worker who wanted to have a child, even though she shouldn’t have one, and of the consequences of that act, it’s also a story about challenging one’s fate. …. The elegant ending owes a little to García Marquez’s magical realism.”

A review of “The Stone Hearted Queen” (Weird Tales, 2008) from The Fix: “a sad and terrifying tale of how things can go very wrong even if they are for our own good. It reads almost like a fable, and it’s (very well) written as one.”

A review of “The Men Who Live in Trees” from IROSF: “A beautifully-written imaginative piece of secondary world folklore. RECOMMENDED”.

A review of “The Confessions of Prince Charming” (Fantasy, 2008) from IROSF:  “Fun, fairytale mashup.”

A review of “Tabula Rasa” (Three Lobed Burning Eye, 2008), from Black Letters: “The execution is suspenseful and atmospheric, with great details and often lovely prose.”


Kelly Barnhill: Gifts to the child I was” (on Luc Reid‘s blog)

Interview: Codex Blog Tour: Kelly Barnhill  (on Nancy Fulda’s blog)

Interview: Codex Blog Tour: Kelly Barnhill (on John Brown’s blog)

Interview: Kelly Barnhill Talks About How She Writes (

Conversations With The Bookless: Kelly Barnhill (

What are you up to, Kelly Barnhill? (

3 thoughts on “Press

  1. Dear Kelly;

    Do you have any upcoming book events for your new novel? I have several children/teen book groups for whom it may be of interest.
    Thank you.

    Pamela Klinger-Horn
    Book Club Facilitator
    Immac. Heart of Mary Catholic School
    & Excelsior Public Library

    • Thanks for asking, Pamela! I have a reading scheduled at Uncle Hugo’s Bookstore in Minneapolis on August 20. The good folks at Little, Brown are working to schedule some appearances as well in September, but I don’t have dates for those yet. Also, if you’re interested in having me come and speak to your tweens/teens, that happens to be one of my very favorite things to do! Toss me an email at and we can see if we can set something up. Cheers!

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