Sunday, March 16, 2014

Charli Reviews: Bird

'Grandpa stopped speaking the day he killed my brother, John. His name was John until Grandpa said he looked more like a Bird with the way he kept jumping off things, and the name stuck. Bird’s thick, black hair poked out in every direction, just like the head feathers of the blackbirds, Grandpa said, and he bet that one day Bird would fly like one too. Grandpa kept talking like that, and no one paid him much notice until Bird jumped off a cliff, the cliff at the edge of the tallgrass prairie, the cliff that dropped a good couple hundred feet to a dried-up riverbed below. From that day on, Grandpa never spoke another word. Not one.

The day that Bird tried to fly, the grown-ups were out looking for him – all of them except Mom and Granny. That’s because that very day, I was born.'

Twelve-year-old Jewel never knew her brother, but all her life she has lived in his shadow. Then one night, on her birthday, she finds a mysterious boy sitting in her oak tree. His name is John. And he changes everything.

Author: Crystal Chan
Publisher: Random House Children's UK
Date of Publication: February 2014
Source: For review via NetGalley
Goodreads | Amazon

I received a free copy of this book from Random House via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. This does not affect my review/opinions in any way. Thank you Random House and NetGalley!

Bird broke my heart, and it captivated me with it's astoundingly beautiful language, description and plotline. I don't think I can do it justice, because it was just so powerful and purely heart-breaking.

Jewel's brother, John, died on the day she was born. His grandad had nick-named him Bird, and he tried to fly off a cliff... Now, years on, when Jewel feels she is just an empty replacement, she meets a boy visiting his uncle - John.

The empathy I felt for Jewel was immense. My best friend, as close as a sister, died when I was 10- but I think anyone could feel that empathy regardless, for the emotions and thoughts were just so developed and detailed.

I loved the characters. John, her new friend, was ambitious, interesting and balanced Jewel out. Jewel, as she became more herself, had a beautiful, thoughtful personality. They were just formed so flawlessly.

I loved all the little things that made it all the more heart-rending; her going to Bird's cliff, where she met John. The element in which her family believed about spirits and duppies gave a mysterious air and that just gave it another unique edge.

Because of the many issues dealt with in this book, I had thought it would be quite heavy and overpowering. It wasn't; obviously it wasn't a light, easy read, but it was just beautiful.

I was so shocked to find out this was debut. I hadn't thought it was; because it's just so powerful. It seemed like Chan had written half a dozen novels before!

This book is just so poignant, and I can't fault this debut. I loved it so much and there was a lump in my throat all the way through it.

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