Monday, 15 March 2021

Nightbird

Finished March 9
Nightbird by Alice Hoffman

I have enjoyed Alice Hoffman's books and until I came across this one, didn't realize that she had written books for children as well. This story takes place in the small town of Sidwell in the Berkshire mountains. Twig's mom grew up in the town and when Twig was young, they would visit their grandparents there. But after they died, Twig and her mom moved back to town. Her brother, James, also moved back with them, but their father did not. Twig was quite young when this happened and she doesn't really remember her father. James doesn't leave the house very much because he has a secret, and it is one not easily hidden. 
Sidwell is a town that has a legend of a monster, and recently there has been graffiti appearing to be written by the monster warning of consequences should his home be destroyed. The home in question is the forested area of town, just behind Twig's house and quite extensive. It is owned by a family that doesn't visit often, and there have been rumours that they might be planning to sell it to developers. Next door to Twig's house is a dilapidated cottage, that has been empty for decades. Now the family that owns it has suddenly moved back and they have two daughters, one, Julia, the same age as Twig. But Twig's mother warns her against the house and its occupants as it was the home of witches, and once, long ago, a young woman from that family cursed the men in Twig's family. 
As the town ramps up the focus on fabled monsters, Twig fears for her brother James, and his future. She wants him to be happy, but can he still be himself?
I loved this book about this small town, the fear of what we don't know or understand, and the power of love. Twig is a researcher and she looks for information, doesn't just accept what she's told. She has supportive adults in her life, and learns how to be a friend. 

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