Tuesday, March 10, 2015

REVIEW: Nightbird

Alice Hoffman

Genre: Children, Spine-Chilling Horror, Scary Stories, Family Life
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Publication date: 3.10.2015
Pages: 210

Recommended by: NetGalley, Read 2 Review
Date read: 3.10.2015

"For my readers who are searching for the same things
I searched for, Nightbird is a book of hope, for the lonely,
the friendless, the girl who is different, the boy who has 
secrets to keep.  In it, magic can be found in unexpected
places, right next door or scrawled on a piece of paper
hidden in an old desk.  It takes place in a summer when
everything changes, when the moon is red, when 
friendships are forged, and when love can be found at 
your own front door."
~Alice Hoffman, Dear Readers

I couldn't sleep last night and decided to give this book a go.  I started at 11:30 ... and finished it around 1:30.  I was so tired, but every time I put the book down, I would lay there thinking about the story, and would end up picking it back up again.  This is definitely a book I would have picked up when I was younger and there's a few lessons to be learned inside.

I really liked this story - in fact, it's one of the best books I've read so far this year.  It is truly moving - one minute you're laughing, the next crying.  There some spooky moments, some breath-holding moments, and even some moments when you want to scream out loud to watch out, or even to cheer.  It was exciting and fun and I think any child that believes in magic should experience this book (and some adults, those ones that have forgotten over time that magic exists, should pick it up, too).  

The characters are awesome, and there isn't one in it that I don't like for one reason or another.  They are relatable and not what you first expected and you just can't help but feel the way they feel during different situations.  My two favorites are Twig and Julia.

"I think that evening was the beginning of my
feeling lonely, a feeling I carried folded up, a secret
I could never tell.  From then on, I didn't cry
when I was disappointed.  I just stored up my hurts,
as if they were a tower made of fallen stars,
invisible to most people, but brightly burning
inside of me."

The town of Sidwell just seemed like an awesome town and was very well described.  When the author speaks of the woods, I felt like I was walking through them.  When she talks about the people in the town, I felt like they could be people I knew.  My favorite place in the whole town was the garden they created together.

I also loved hearing about the baking that Twig's mom did - and how much it was loved by this small town.  (I even garnered a few things to try myself - you don't need to supply recipes, as long as you supply an idea.)

I don't know if the author plans on writing more about Sidwell, but I do know that she has written a lot of books that look just as good as this one and I can't wait to experience her other stories.  :)

About the book:
In her first novel for middle-grade readers, bestselling author Alice Hoffman tells a bewitching story of love and friendship that is truly magical.
            Twig lives in Sidwell, where people whisper that fairy tales are real.  After all, her town is rumored to hide a monster. And two hundred years ago, a witch placed a curse on Twig's family that was meant to last forever.  But this summer, everything will change when the red moon rises.  It's time to break the spell.

About the author:
Alice Hoffman was born in New York City on March 16, 1952 and grew up on Long Island.  After graduating from high school in 1969, she attended Adelphi University, from which she received a BA, and then received a Mirrellees Fellowship to the Stanford University Creative Writing Center, which she attended in 1973 and 74, receiving an MA in creative writing.  She currently lives in Boston and New York.
            Hoffman's first novel, Property Of, was written at the age of twenty-one, while she was studying at Stanford, and published shortly thereafter by Farrar Straus & Giroux.  She credits her mentor, professor and writer Albert J. Guerard, and his wife, the writer Maclin Bocock Guerard, for helping her to publish her first story in the magazine Fiction.  Editor Ted Solotaroff then contacted her to ask if she had a novel, at which point she quickly began to write what was to become Property Of, a section of which was published in Mr. Solotaroff's magazine, American Review.
            Since that remarkable beginning, Alice Hoffman has become one of our most distinguished novelists.  She has published a total of eighteen novels, two books of short fiction, and eight books for children and young adults.  Her novel, Here on Earth, an Oprah Book Club choice, was a modern reworking of some of the themes of Emily Bronte's masterpiece, Wuthering Heights.  Practical Magic was made into a Warner film starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman.  Her novel, At Risk, which concerns a family dealing with AIDS, can be found on the reading list of many universities, colleges and secondary schools.  Her advance from Local Girls, a collection of inter-related fictions about love and loss on Long Island, was donated to help create the Hoffman (Women's Cancer) Center at Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, MA.  Blackbird House is a book of stories centering around an old farm on Cape Cod.  Hoffman's recent books include Aquamarine and Indigo, novels for pre-teens and The New York Times bestsellers The River King, Blue Diary, The Probable Future, and The Ice Queen.  Green Angel, a post-apocalyptic fairy tale about loss and love, was published by Scholastic and The Foretelling, a book about an Amazon girl in the Bronze Age, was published by Little Brown.  In 2007, Little Brown published the teen novel Incantation, a story about hidden Jews during the Spanish Inquisition, which Publishers Weekly has chosen as one of the best books of the year.  In January 2007, Skylight Confessions, a novel about one family's secret history, was released on the 30th anniversary of the publication of her first novel.  Her most recent novel is The Story Sisters (2009), published by Shaye Areheart Books.
            Hoffman's work has been published in more than twenty translations and more than one hundred foreign editions.  Her novels have received mention as notable books of the year by The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, Library Journal, and People Magazine.  She has also worked as a screenwriter and is the author of the original screenplay "Independence Day," a film starring Kathleen Quinlan and Diane Wiest.  Her short fiction and non-fiction have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe magazine, Kenyon Reviews, Redbook, Architectural Digest, Gourmet, Self, and other magazines.  Her teen novel Aquamarine was recently made into a film starring Emma Roberts.

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