Thursday, March 12, 2015

Nightbird by Alice Hoffman

ARC, 195 pages
Release Date: March 10, 2015
Published by: Random House Children's Books
Source: Publisher (Non-requested. This in no way shape or form influenced my opinion of the book. All thoughts of this work are my own.) 
For fans of: Middle Grade, LOL, Magic, Magical Realism, Adventure 

     An enchanting novel from bestselling author Alice Hoffman: a charmed New England village, a family secret, and a friendship destined to defeat a witch.
     "Some things could only be found in Sidwell it seemed: pink apples, black owls, and my brother, James."
     Twelve-year-old Twig's town in the Berkshires is said to hide a winged beast, the Monster of Sidwell, and the rumors draw as many tourists as the town's famed pink apple orchards. Twig lives in the orchard with her mysterious brother James and her reclusive mother, a baker of irresistible apple pies. Because of a family secret, an ancient curse,Twig has had to isolate herself from other kids. Then a family with two girls, Julia and Agate, moves into the cottage next door. They are descendants of the witch who put the spell on Twig's family. But Julia turns out to be Twig's first true friend, and her ally in trying to undo the curse and smooth the path to true love for Agate and James.


       I had been mentioning on Twitter that I wanted a really good MG to read with magic and maybe in a school setting. This was almost all of the above. Thank you so much Random House Kids for sending me and my little sister a book filled with magic and mystery. 
"She looked like someone who knew how to have fun, a lesson I needed to learn."
pg. 18
     In the small town of Sidwell there is a winged monster. Even with the famous pink apple orchard in Twig's backyard, her and her brother have no friends. They have to keep to themselves due to a family curse, but then they get some new neighbors which may be more than they bargained for. 
"...he told me the world was not a fair place and we couldn't just run away from our lives."
pg. 31
     I could definitely tell that this was Hoffman's first MG book. It seems to be written for upper MG even though Twig is only 12. Twig's actions seem so mature and all her decisions may seem like she's acting out at first, but in the end, they make perfect sense. I think this is the reason I liked it so much. Lately I've been reading MG's that seem more elementary instead and they just don't seem to fit the right age group. This one is more on the serious side which will draw more serious readers. 
"If evreyone got what he or she deserved there would be no hunger, and no sadness..."
pg. 31
     As far as the mystery, it waas even hard for me to solve as someone in her 20's so I can only imagine that it would be something someone younger couldn't solve. The person who ended up being the culprit came way out of left field. It really surprised me. 
"Mean people are meaningless ."
pg. 45
     The only thing I had a real problem with was the slow pace of the story. Although there were so many things going on, it still seemed to be going really slow. Maybe that was the balance between the upper MG and the plot. Had the plot been moving more quickly, it might have been a little too advanced. 
"Magic always sneaks up on you that way, when you least expect it, when the time is absolutely right."
pg. 192 
     In short, this novel has me interested in looking at Hoffman's other books. I really want to see how she handles her upper age groups just to see the differences between those and her MG. From the magic to the mystery, I'd definitely let this book "Take me Away.." all over again. 
Overall, I give this

1 comment:

  1. I had the same reaction. It made me want to read more of Alice Hoffman's work. I liked it but found it a little basic in terms of the plot but I liked the setting and subtle magic in the story.
    Cassi @ My Thoughts Literally