I was desperate to read Bird by Crystal Chan. DESPERATE, I tell you! The cover swallowed me and then I saw a little clip with the author about the origins of Bird.
So thank you thank you to Text Publishing for the ARC! Bird hit shelves on January 28th, 2014.
Crystal Chan grew up as a mixed-race kid in the middle of the Wisconsin cornfields and has been trying to find her place in the world ever since. Over time, she found that her heart lies in public speaking, performing, and ultimately, writing. She has published articles in several magazines; given talks and workshops across the country; facilitated discussion groups at national conferences; and been a professional storyteller for children and adults alike.
In Chicago, where Crystal now lives, you will find her biking along the city streets and talking to her pet turtle. Her debut middle-grade novel, Bird, is published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers. She is represented by Emily van Beek of Folio Literary Management.
I’m actually procrastinating this review! (Proof: I just found this super sweet GIF of Sam and Frodo after they nearly drown.) Why am I procrastinating?
It was so dang good I can’t turn it into words!
5-stars isn’t even enough! It tore up all my feels and hit all my heartstrings. I just want to gather up EVERYONE in the book and hug them. (I don’t even do hugs. But they all need one.)
It’s totally sad and beautiful all at once. Can I just mention that this is a debut?! Imagine how fantastic the author is going to be with her next book…and her next. The writing is stunning. At times, I’d have preferred the paragraphs to be shorter. But the imagery was beautiful. The voice of the narrator (Jewel) was so intimate and relatable.
The characters? I looooved the characters. It’s narrated (in first person) by Jewel. Can you imagine being born on the day your 5-year-old brother died? She doesn’t even know the person her family have spent the last 12 years grieving about. I got very riled up as I read the book…Jewel feels unwanted and unloved. Her parents…argh! Her parents! They blamed her for things they did. They never had time for her.
I love how she finds a friend in John. I love the simplicity of their friendship. Climb trees. Eat. Awesome friendship.
And I am like:
See how hard it is to write a logical review? I hope you appreciate what I’m going through.
Is it Middle-Grade or Young-Adult? Jewel is 12, which makes it MG, right? But it deals with so many themes: superstition, feeling unwanted, death, being mixed-race, complicated families, betrayal, and friendship. Those are BIG things to cover in any book! I felt the voice was definitely tailored to younger kids, but there is a lot to chew on. It’s not light and fluffy.
All you basically need to know is: read this book now.
Cait is always thrilled when a book she desperately wants lives up to her expectations. She’s has been tweeting rather obsessively about good Bird is, until she realised the irony of “tweeting” about “Bird“. Ha. Funny. Currently, she’s reading ANGELFALL and wondering if how many angels are going to topple.