How to Make a Bird

234p. 978-0-43966-951-1.
Gr 9 Up—Fed up with her boring country life and thrown off-kilter by recent family tragedies, 17-year-old Mannie dons her mother's long red dress, boards a train to Melbourne, and sets off into the world planning to get as far away from her everyday existence as possible. Though she starts her journey feeling sure that she is doing right by herself, she encounters memories from her past that tug at her heart and shake her resolve. Should she truly move on to become a new version of herself or go back home and make the best of her situation? The transitions between Mannie's present day and past are integrated seamlessly. The time period is the late '70s, but this is only revealed in small hints (e.g., a passing mention that Star Wars is in theaters). The story itself, while well written, is not exciting, and Mannie is not easy to identify with. The only scenes evoking any emotion are the ones with her Grandmother Ivy, and when she recounts her brother's death. Despite the author's ability as a wordsmith, readers are not likely to stick with this story to the end.—Melyssa Malinowski, Parkville High School, Baltimore, MD
Seventeen-year-old Mannie has spent her life waiting for something she doesn't know is coming. But when tragedy strikes twice, she's compelled to start searching. Leaving her small Australian hometown for the big city, she makes unexpected discoveries about love, her family, and herself. Told through flashbacks and Mannie's introspective narration, this is a vivid story.

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