Monday, 10 February 2014

Review: Bird by Crystal Chan

Publisher: Tamarind
Format: Hardcover / eBook
Released: January 30th, 2014
Rating: 7.5/10

Amazon summary:

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. 


Bird is an unusual book, one that seems fairly unique and new. It's a lovely story steeped in superstition, about a family still mourning the death of their five-year-old son some years earlier. The day Bird flew off the cliff was the day Jewel was born, and this is the story of what came after.

Jewel's family has been forever changed by those events at the cliff. Her grandpa hasn't uttered a word since, her parents are still infinitely sad and she feels alone in what should be a big, loving family. Although Bird is gone, and has been gone for some time, he's still very much alive in Jewel's house. One day she meets a boy near her tree - a boy called John, the same name as her brother - and it isn't long before her family's tightly-woven facade begins to unravel.

Bird is one of those books that just needs to be read. It's a beautifully written account of an endless struggle, as well as that of a much-needed friendship. Jewel is a fantastic, headstrong character who has to carry a lot on her small shoulders, but she doesn't give up and she never forgets the brother who still haunts her family.

This book is, at times, incredibly sad, but it leaves in its wake a great big smile and a pocketful of hope. Jewel's family survives, with her unwavering help and support, and she realises that old superstitions and folk tales are not the be-all and end-all of life. Instead she relies on the Earth and its well-formed rocks to guide her, as well as Bird, the lost boy who will forever be in flight.

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