Friday, February 7, 2014

Review: Bird by Crystal Chan

Title: Bird
Author: Crystal Chan
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary
Source: Text Publishing. Thank you!

Goodreads rating: 4.17 out of 5.00 (70+ ratings)
Goodreads | The Reading Room

Nothing matters. Only Bird matters. And he flew away.

Jewel never knew her brother Bird, but all her life she has lived in his shadow. Her parents blame Grandpa for the tragedy of their family’s past; they say that Grandpa attracted a malevolent spirit—a duppy—into their home. Grandpa hasn’t spoken a word since. Now Jewel is twelve, and she lives in a house full of secrets.

Jewel is sure that no one will ever love her like they loved Bird, until the night that she meets a mysterious boy in a tree.

Grandpa is convinced that the boy is a duppy, but Jewel knows that he is something more. And that maybe the time has come to break through the stagnant silence of the past.

Entrenched secrets, mysterious spirits, and an astonishing friendship weave together in this extraordinary and haunting debut.
Review by Nara

Grandpa stopped speaking the day he killed my brother, John.
I feel like you can basically categorise books into two really general categories: books that purely entertain and books that are supposed to make you think. Of course, most, if not all books would really fall into both categories, but if you were to sort every book into one category only, I feel like Bird would fall into the latter.

Bird is about the struggle of one girl, Jewel, to find and forge her own identity in a house full of people chasing after the ghost of her dead brother. We see her trying to get her parents to really see her as she is, to stop seeing her as the shadow of a boy already lost. We see her attempt to communicate with her mute grandfather as he shuts the door to his room. And we feel all the feels. There's an innocence to the narrative voice which makes it that much more poignant.
Who were these people? Where was all this joy, and where does joy go when it leaves your family? Does it go to someone else's family, soak into the earth, or does it dissolve away like your breath in the winter? And if it doesn't leave like this, then why isn't there any left for me?
For the majority of the book, there is a very languid sort of pace- slow, but a pace that suits the story perfectly. About halfway through the book there's a moment where my face probably looked something like this: o.O Something happens that is, quite honestly, completely unexpected. That had me momentarily pause to think about what that event meant for the characters and what sort of things might happen next. However, I then turned the page and the mystery was solved instantly. I was expecting things to drag on a little longer, but the author cuts the issue off quite nicely (although I guess I wouldn't have minded the mystery to remain for a couple more chapters). Towards the end there's a scene that really gets your heart racing. The pace just explodes and the story grabs you and refuses to let go. Even when it's 2am and you kind of want to go to bed.

Jewel and the mysterious boy (lol I have to refer to him as this because his name is a minor spoiler) have a very beautiful friendship. I feel like it's not often where you can read about a friendship between a male and a female that's so pure and sweet and alsdfasdf this is where I lose my ability to use proper words haha. And no, it doesn't escalate into a romance- which is probably my favourite thing about this book.

A few words about the cover: when I first saw it on Goodreads, I was like, yeah whatever. It's a book called Bird and there's a bird on the cover. When I got the book in the mail I was like woaah. There's a person in the bird. After finishing the book and looking at the cover again WOAHH THERE'S A GIRL STANDING ON THE TOP OF WHAT I ASSUME IS A GRANITE ROCK IN THE BIRD. You'll get it when you read the book. Yes that's a when and not an if. Get it now.

Really liked it

Overall: 9/10
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Cover: 4/5