I received an advance e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Nightbird by Alice Hoffman is a delightful bit of magical realism for middle grade readers.
Twig lives in Sidwell, MA--a town known for its pink apples and its monster. But Twig knows more about the monster than anyone else. And when someone starts framing the monster for grafitti, Twig finds herself hanging out with the new girl next door to help solve the problem.
While I know Hoffman works usually in adult fiction, I would have never guessed that this was her first foray into middle grade. She pulls it off perfectly. I was enchanted by Twig's story. There's a touch of nostalgia too it. It doesn't seem to be set in contemporary times--there're no cell phones, and basically no computers. It's not a historical novel: there are cars and sewing machines and regular phones. But Twig and the other young people don't have the electronic addiction which most kids today have. (Not that I think that's a bad thing--just stating a fact, here).
At one point, Hoffman describes a character as "dark, like me, only not as tall". Although the cover portrays a white female, and other parts of the text indicated that Twig and her family were white, I was so much more entranced by the idea of them being black, that I just decided they were. It brings up a lot more interesting questions and concerns with the aspect of race added in. However, that's just my prerogative.
Overall, I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy realism with a touch of fantasy. It's a great summer-experience novel.
Favorite Quote: A single word can feel like a rock being thrown at you.
Clues were funny things. Some of them were useful and some of them weren't and some came when you least expected them.
There was so much light in the world we knew we would never be able to count it all.