Bird by Crystal Chan: Review

Bird by Crystal Chan:  Review

Bird, author Crystal Chan’s debut novel, is a poignant story of love and loss. Jewel is a mixed-race, twelve-year-old girl living in central Iowa, a place where she feels she could never belong. On the day she was born, her older brother Bird died—flying off of a cliff—and her grandfather ceased talking. Her whole life, she’s felt something is missing in her quiet, despondent family. One morning, Jewel meets John, her neighbor’s nephew. The two share an instant bond; he’s adopted and she’s alone. Through their steadily growing friendship, John helps Jewel to navigate her relationships with her grandfather, her parents, and herself.

I’d recommend Chan’s novel to anyone looking for a warm and well-written coming of age story, one of the best of 2014.”

Until I read to the halfway point in Bird, I was only slightly attached to any of the characters. However, during the second half of the story, I couldn’t put the novel down. The story is told slowly and lyrically, and its pages are vivid with imagery. The book is more diverse than any other young adult book I’ve read. I loved learning about Jewel’s father’s Jamaican superstitions and her mother’s Hispanic culture. Bird is riddled with heart-wrenching ups and downs, right to the end. I’d recommend Chan’s novel to anyone looking for a warm and well-written coming of age story, one of the best of 2014.