Editor’s Note: This review is based on an Advanced Reader’s Copy obtained from Wendy Lamb Books, a children’s books division of Random House.
Twelve can be a tough age. You’re going through puberty and peer pressure, oscillating between childhood and adulthood. You’re learning that the world can be an isolating and disappointing place. But you still hold on to some of that wonder, magic and hope.
Alice Hoffman reaffirms some of those feelings in her 208-page coming-of-age children’s novel, “Nightbird” — to be released Tuesday. The book is told from the perspective of lonely 12-year-old Twig Fowler, a resident of the small and superstitious town of Sidwell, Mass.
It’s not hard to relate to Twig. She’s a lover of books and owls and pie. (Her mother also makes the best homemade pink apple pie, whose recipe can be found here.)
But Twig and her mother, Sophie, are bound by a secret — which keeps them isolated in their apple orchards. A jilted witch named Agnes Early is said to have cursed their family 200 years ago. When Early’s distant descendants return to Sidwell and a mysterious stranger starts leaving blue graffiti all around town, the Fowler family secret is in jeopardy.
“Nightbird” is “Beauty and the Beast” meets “Romeo and Juliet” meets “Howl’s Moving Castle.” Hoffman puts us under her spell, engaging us with stories of magic and monsters. She creates a beautiful and bewitching novel — blending a wistful heroine with mystery and magical realism. And like all fairy tales, this one also has a happy ending.
“Nightbird” is written by Alice Hoffman and published by Wendy Lamb Books, an imprint of Random House. The novel will be released in the U.S. on March 10, 2015.