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Nightbird Book Review – Alice Hoffman’s Latest Magical Tale


THE BOOK: Nightbird

AUTHOR: Alice Hoffman

THE GENRE: Children’s Literature, Young Adult, Fairy Tale, Magical Realism

AUTHOR WEBSITE: http://alicehoffman.com/

Nightbird Book Review

Alice Hoffman writes as if by magic and her latest work is no exception. Nightbird tells the fairy tale like story of Twig, a lonely twelve year old girl with a secret. Because of this secret, she’s not allowed to really have friends or be involved in her community. What if someone wanted to come over to her house? What if someone discovered her brother James, a brother she and her mother keep hidden from the world for a very important reason? Then there is the matter of the local “monster” people in the town want to hunt down. While a “monster” steals things around town, someone is also leaving cryptic warnings and it has something to do with the owls in the wood…

Feeling friendless and hopeless, a new family then moves into town, a family descended from the witch of Sidwell. In Julia (a part of the new family), Twig finally finds a friend. Unfortunately, Julia’s family is the same family that cursed Twig’s. You see, the real reason James is in hiding is that every male in the Fowler line is cursed with wings. And with James tired of being in hiding, Twig will do anything to reverse the curse, especially when her brother falls for Julia’s older sister Agate. But can she save James before the town discovers the real “monster?”

Similar to Practical Magic, Alice Hoffman weaves fantasy into reality with ease, but this time she writes for children and a middle grade audience. While the narrator is young, this book is also for the young at heart. Children, teens and adults alike will fall in love with this coming of age tale, a tale that will transport you into a fantastical and believable world. The ordinary and extraordinary characters feel real and I can almost smell Twig’s mother’s pink apple pies (Hoffman even includes the recipe Here ). The setting is also a character in and of itself, the small town in Massachusetts just as enchanting as the rest of the book. For readers who look back fondly at Half Magic, Mary Poppins, Tuck Everlasting, or even Harry Potter, I think you will easily enjoy this short, yet captivating and beautifully written novel by Alice Hoffman.

Adaptation Recommendation

Alice Hoffman’s books are almost always meant for adaptation (The Dovekeepers being the latest), and Nightbird definitely continues that tradition. Nightbird would make for a beautiful coming of age, young Practical Magic-esque film. The side love story between James and Agate would just be gorgeous onscreen with a chance for even more development, considering the novel is only from Twig’s perspective. Just imagine a young man with big black wings flying in the night sky. If done right, Nightbird would be quite the stunning and engaging movie.

Overall Rating

Five Star Rating border“The stuff that dreams are made of.”

Romance Rating

four heart border

“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My

feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me

to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

Book Info:

Page Count: 210

Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books (March 10, 2015)

Buy at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Note: This book was received from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

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By on March 10th, 2015

About Autumn Topping

In second grade, Autumn wrote her first story, “The Spinach Monster,” and hasn't stopped writing since. Intrigued by the tales her grandmother told of vampires, witches, and ghosts as a girl, she's always been drawn to the fantastic. Later, Autumn studied English and Creative Writing (continuing her love for classic literature and everything old-fashioned) and graduated with an MA in Children’s Literature and an MS in Library & Information Science from Simmons College. Currently, she co-runs this lovely site and works as a YA Librarian.

More posts by this author.

2 thoughts on “Nightbird Book Review – Alice Hoffman’s Latest Magical Tale”

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Hoffman’sstory, told from the perspective of Twig, a nearly teenage girl growingup in a rural Massachusetts village. I love how Hoffman unravels the family and town secrets in the exact way that a girl of that age would share things.

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  2. Wonderful review, Autumn! I just picked this title up the other day – so gorgeous. I’m excited to read this for myself (young at heart, right?) and along with my daughter. I’m so glad you enjoyed the writing and fantasy aspect. These coming-of-age tales are always some of my favorites.

    Have a wonderful weekend 🙂


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