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Bird: 01/23/16

Bird by Crystal Chan

Bird by Crystal Chan is a midwest story of a girl trying to over come a family tragedy and a lingering belief in curses. Jewel is the surviving daughter of a family that once had two children. Her older brother, "Bird", jumped to his death on the day she was born. Her grandfather and father believe he was compelled to do so by a guppy.

Now there is a new boy in town who shares her brother's given name, John. He is the spark in Jewel's otherwise sheltered life and to her grandfather, an unwanted, possibly bad, influence. This John might even be a guppy in disguise come to lure her off the same mountain.

So Jewel's story here is one of finding that tenuous balance between her now internalized guilt, sorrow, and resentment over her brother's death, and bringing in a new friend to her life, even if it means risking the disproval of her family or worse, the embarrassment of showing him her dysfunctional family.

Although her family believes in curses and guppies, Bird is grounded in reality and that struggled between past and present. For a similar story where there is a magical realism edge, I recommend The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee (aka My Life as an Alphabet) by Barry Jonsberg (review coming in February).

Four stars

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