This is an absolutely beautiful YA fantasy.
Two hundred years ago a witch placed a curse on Twig’s family and now, though the family lives in remote Sidwell, in New England, Twig has become best friends with the descendant of the Witch, and the secret of Twig’s home-schooled brother, James, is at risk. And there’s a monster in the village — no one has seen it, but it has left evidence of its presence.
What impressed me the most about this book was its sense of real-ness. I read a lot fantasy and science fiction, but so often you realize immediately that you are in a very different world or different reality (and because you’re reading f/sf you accept it). But here it feels so much like this world, the world we are currently in, and it feels perfectly natural that I could walk outside my home and see a young man with wings flying, or a monster stealing cookies from a porch, or hear a witch placing a curse. These things just don’t feel made up. It feels a part of our world. And this comes from Hoffman’s truly uncanny ability to make the reader feel at home. This alone makes it worth reading!
The story is really kind of touching and there was just enough question about motives in my mind (ie what do Julia and Agate really want? Who, really, is the monster?) that the story moves along nicely. And the characters … while there is a slight stereotype to them that makes them immediately recognizable to a YA audience … are drawn in such a way that their uniqueness stands out.
This is really a remarkable book and I was drawn in to it completely and totally. It is highly recommended.
Looking for a good book? Nightbird by Alice Hoffman is a completely engaging fantasy for young adults that will be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates good story-telling.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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author: Alice Hoffman
publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
hardcover, 208 pages