Friday, 27 March 2015

Book Review: Nightbird by Alice Hoffman

Nightbird by Alice Hoffman
Publication Date: March 10th, 2015
Format: eARC from Netgalley

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 received this book via Netgalley, as an eARC, thanks to Random House Children's. I was not compensated in any shape or form for this review. I'm just incredibly biased over Alice Hoffman's writing and I love her work.

Typically, I prefer to keep it to one review a day but, considering that this book has already been released this month (how in the world did I miss the release date for this book? It's by Alice Hoffman!!), I decided to share this to the world as well.

The first book I've read that was written by Alice Hoffman was The Story Sisters (which, by the way, I highly recommend!) and it stuck with me til even now. According to Goodreads (hey, I was in college at the time) I read it in December 2012. It's still rare for me to remain hooked onto a book for this long. Of course the story plot helped a lot of it- the story itself, in my opinion, is unique and magical. But the writing- the way Alice weaves her words so well- are just as magical if not as much as the actual story.

I still want to read her other books but, for now, this remains my favorite book of hers. For now. I'm excited to see if my opinion will change... or, at least, I'll remain falling in love with her books.

Of course, as soon as I discover on Twitter that she had written a Middle Grade book (something that I need to read more of, in my opinion, so I can be a bit more well-rounded book wise) and I couldn't pass up this opportunity. What can I say- I'm a huge sucker for magical realism.

This story revolves around an innocence of a young girl with the mentality of knowing what she could say to others could get her in trouble with her own mother... and herself.

Twig lives in a town that is just as unique as her family's history although, mysteriously, they both seem to connect in a sort of interesting way. People in the town believe that there is a sort of mystical beast that lives in their town and that it's slowly taking over. No one knows what to do about it. After all, no one has actually seen if this 'beast' is real. All they have of proof are the messages it leaves on the walls of the buildings. They all lead to requesting not to destroy the forest.

Meanwhile, Twig lives in a secret all of her own. A long time family secret that has existed even before she was even born. A curse that she feels that will never disappear and she'll be forced to spend the rest of her life alone. But... at least she'll have her older brother James, even if she can't talk about him outside the walls of her home either. She's not alone. And she has her own mother. After all, she only makes the best pink apple pies in town.

But when she discovers a new friend- a friend she enjoys hanging out with- named Julia, things change. At first, for good, until her mother reveals that Julia is one of the ancestors that placed the curse on her family in the first place and that she can no longer be trusted or even be associated with. But things change... and they're changing fast. 

This is a cute, charming, story. I feel like I was not disappointed with this book at all. It held the magic that I'm so fond of in Alice's stories. Typically I would like a little bit more depth in back stories but I feel like the amount that I received in this book was fair. Would I have love to read more, though? Of course. I felt like this was almost too short. I was incredibly surprised how quickly I read through this book.

This is a good bedtime read, I think. I feel like that if you take this story in, in small bites, rather than trying to read it all at once you'll be grateful in the long run. It made me believe in magic again and, honestly, I feel like I would have enjoyed a book like this when I was younger in middle school. I needed a piece like this that made me feel like that there is some sort of magic out there. I feel like it would've helped me to aspire to create some of my own magic in writing more as well.

If you feel down, and you want to reignite the magic in your heart, Hoffman's books are the place to go.

1 comment: