by Alice Hoffman
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Release Date: March 10, 2015
My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Summary from goodreads.com:
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.
"Nightbird" is simply a lovely story. Written for middle grade readers, I think it can be read and enjoyed by all ages. The author's writing is superb, and the atmosphere in Sidwill is almost dreamlike. It was easy to get swept away in this world. The mix of fantasy and realism is blended exquisitely.
Twig is so lonely at the beginning of the book. Her loneliness practically melts off the page. She still has hope and great attitude, but the tone at the start of the book is pretty melancholy. It's not long before we learn why she and her brother and mother isolate themselves from the rest of the town, and friends are hard to come by for Twig. But that is before sisters Julia and Agate move in next door. The sisters show Twig what true friendship is, as they work together to help her brother, James.
I love that Julia and Agate love Twig and James with the unconditional love of true friends. No matter how much Twig and James push them away (as they do with everyone in town), Julia and Agate just keep coming back with their support and friendship.
The witch's curse just adds the perfect amount of magic to this tale. I love that no one is shocked by the presence of magic in the book, it just exists.
Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 5/5
Bottom Line: I loved this magical tale of a lonely girl finding friendship and strengthening her family bond at the same time. The lush atmosphere and writing made this book a joy to read.
Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.