book recommendations · book review · books · fiction · literacy


Warnings: none
Author: Crystal Chan


Grandpa stopped speaking the day he killed my brother, John.

His name was John until Grandpa said he looked more like a Bird with the way he kept jumping off things, and the name stuck. Bird’s thick, black hair was like the head feathers of the blackbirds, Grandpa said, and he bet that one day Bird would fly like one too. Grandpa kept talking like that, and no one paid him much notice until Bird jumped off a cliff. From that day on, Grandpa never spoke another word. Not one.

The day that Bird tried to fly, the grown-ups were out looking for him – all of them except Mom and Granny. That’s because that very day, I was born.’

This was a chance find in the school library. I’m so happy I found it. I thought it was a more kiddy book than YA, but it covers loads of issues and there are lots of serious underlying themes.

I cried. Multiple times. In public. This book is so sweet and ugh I loved it. The protagonist, Jewel, is 12 years old, half Jamaican, a quarter Mexican and a quarter white, and constantly disobeys her parents without their knowledge. She was such a cool character, and I just wanted to hug her and protect her from the world, even though I knew everything would turn out okay in the end.

The writing is so reflective of the character – it really sounds like a 12 year old who’s had to grow up to fast to live up to her parent’s expectations. The cultures incorporated into this book fascinated me as well – I never knew about Jamaican superstitions or Xolo dogs, but I feel like I’m going to be blaming more of my problems on duppies from now on.

Also, look how gorgeous the cover is. I stared at it for a good few minutes on the bus, and probably made the other people on there think I was a maniac. But seriously, it’s beautiful. I absolutely adored this book.



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