Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Bird by Crystal Chan (+ giveaway)

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. 

When I first heard about Bird from Text I felt really excited. It sounded gorgeous and special and a little bit mysterious. Plus the cover is seriously something else (in person it is even more striking). I dove straight in the day it arrived and had no idea what to expect. It took less than a paragraph to feel hooked, and less than a chapter for Jewel to set up camp in my heart. 

Jewel is my favourite kind of heroine: fierce and creative and lonely and marching along to the beat of her own drum. She's daring and smart and unashamedly stands out from the crowd.  She's surrounded by a tragedy that's coloured her entire existence and yet her optimism shines, thumps along even as danger and mystery shroud her. Things go from bad to worse and revelations leave her (and us - the readers) reeling. 

It wasn't just Jewel (love her) or the mystery (I had no idea how things were going to turn out) that kept me turning the pages -- Chan's prose is truly gorgeous, just the right blend of humour and sentiment, poetic but never flowery, succinct and cutting right to the core of emotions. The dialogue is awesome, and being inside Jewel's mind is a treat -- she thinks beautiful and unexpected things, ever hopeful and always loveable. This book feels like it was a labour of love -- and it makes it a treasure to behold. 

My reviews always tend to focus on how I responded to a book -- I like to leave the plot a surprise, but here's a taste of what you will find inside Bird: small isolated town (the setting is sublime, engaging all the readers senses), Jamaican culture, a mysterious and fun new friendship (but can it be trusted?), duppies (discover for yourself...), family secrets and a heroine with a heart so big she bursts from the page. Jewel is younger than the usual YA heroine - but she's a perfect voice for upper MG, YA and adult readers to connect to.  

Bird's fairytale vibe is an intoxicating blend of whimsy and realism that left me feeling like anything could happen. An astonishing debut that I highly, completely recommend.

My review today is part of an Australian Blog Tour by Text Publishing.
Text is kindly giving away a copy of Bird to readers of inkcrush
(Australian and New Zealand addresses only, due to copyright reasons).

Text Publishing Blog Tour: Bird by Crystal Chan
Check out the rest of the blog tour!

Tuesday 28 Jan
Extract on Gobblefunked

Wednesday 29 (Pub date!)
Review and Guest Post at VeganYANerds (Amanda)

Thursday 30
Review by Kate at whY.A.not?

Friday 31
Review by Bec at First Impressions

Saturday 01 Feb
12 Curly Questions on Kids’ Book Review

Sunday 02
Review by Kelly at Diva Booknerd

Monday 03
Review by Melanie at YA Midnight Reads

Tuesday 04
Review by Naomi at inkcrush

Wednesday 05
Review and Q&A with Danielle at ALPHAReader

Many thanks to Text Publishing for providing this review copy

Bird is available in Australia now
Crystal Chan grew up as a mixed-race kid in the Wisconsin cornfields. She now lives in Chicago. As well as a writer, she is also a professional storyteller and performer. Bird is her first novel.

1 comment:

  1. That cover is absolutely breathtaking! Sounds like a very unique and wonderful story. I'll be adding this to my TBR list, thanks for sharing!


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