Published 30th January 2014 by Tamarind books (A Random House imprint).
Goodreads Synopsis: ‘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.
My Review: Bird is a beautiful book…. there aren’t actually many words to describe it properly and do it justice. It’s a poignant tale about love and loss, and I think it’s going to captivate anybody who reads it.
The story’s completely riveting: Literally right from the first page, where the reader finds out that Jewel was born the day her brother jumped from a cliff, and that their grandfather’s never spoken a word, since. Crystal Chan’s writing is so good, I honestly did have tears in my eyes from the beginning. Chan’s captured the voice of a twelve year old flawlessly. I was sucked right into the story of Jewel, and the complicated relationship with her grandfather and the friendship growing between her and John- a boy who’s staying in the town, who has the same name as her brother.
The plot is flawless- there’s no other way to describe it! Every event was completely unpredictable, and Crystal Chan can make you laugh or cry with every page. The plot is very character driven, exploring the ups and downs of a torn apart family, and focusing on the impact of Jewel’s new friend on her grandfather. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before. The plot twists are all emotional and shocking, especially the big one about John, Jewel’s friend. I was completely blown away, and I couldn’t stop reading.
Jewel is a character that any reader can instantly fall in love with: She’s so well developed and realistic, and her voice just captured me, and didn’t let me go until the very last page. Her narration is really captivating and she’s probably now one of my favourite contemporary fiction characters. John’s also such good protagonist. Chan made me really mixed on him at points, with those plot twists… but he’s the kind of character you can’t not love!
Overall, Bird is amazing, and a book that I’ll be recommending to everybody I know, regardless of what kind of books they like. The central character were so three dimensional and loveable, I really wanted to read more about them after finishing… I’m pretty sure I’ll be rereading this book! The plot weaves themes of superstition into themes of love and loss, and it’s just beautiful. Bird is moving; more emotional than most books I’ve read this year, and I really can’t recommend it highly enough!
I received a copy of Bird form the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.