Thanks to Nikole from Scholastic for sending me this book to review!
How to Make a Bird by Martine Murray is a well-written coming of age story. A young teenage girl, dealing with loss and the grief it brings, sets out on a journey to discover exactly what's happened to her suddenly upended life.
The story moves at a pace to hold the reader's interest. The author has a great talent of using words to describe an image perfectly. From page 190:
'I got up off the wall. My bare feet felt the footpath and I looked at them poking out from my dress like little white mice. I felt fond of them. I don't know why. Probably because they'd always been there, whenever I expected them to be, and I knew they would walk me away.'
There's subtle humour in there too and I liked that - it helped to lighten the tone of the book, especially during the dark moments (and there are a few). As a matter of fact, I thought when I first started reading that the tone of the book was very sad and though it is in parts, in others it’s funny and sweet and that gives balance to the story. I think every young girl would be able to relate to the main character's yearning to have the latest style in footwear.
How to Make a Bird reminded me a bit of the Miriam Toews novel A Complicated Kindness. That one is also about a young girl coping with her difficult teenage years, but for plot, wordsmithing and just overall likeability, How to Make a Bird comes out ahead by a long shot.