Monday, October 31, 2016

Review: Be Light Like a Bird by Monika Schroder

After the death of her father, twelve-year-old Wren finds her life thrown into upheaval. And when her mother decides to pack up the car and forces Wren to leave the only home she's ever known, the family grows even more fractured. As she and her mother struggle to build a new life, Wren must confront issues with the environment, peer pressure, bullying, and most of all, the difficulty of forgiving those who don't deserve it. A quirky, emotional middle grade novel set in Michigans Upper Peninsula, Be Light Like a Bird features well-drawn, unconventional characters and explores what it means to be a family and the secrets and lies that can tear one apart.

Rating: 3 Stars

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was a hard review to write because the book was one that I really wanted to like, but I had some difficulties with it that in the end lessened my enjoyment of the overall story.

This book was asking a lot, both of itself and the audience. There are a lot of things going on in this book in a short amount of time: Wren is grieving for her father; her mother is seemingly losing it because she isn't dealing with the grief, she's running away from it; Wren is being bullied and peer pressured, all while being 12 years old so there's puberty to contend with.

For a middle grade book, I'll agree that these are important topics, but I felt at times like Wren had things stacked against her rather more than the average reader is going to want to contend with. Maybe that would've worked out if the writing had matched the load of emotional baggage, but I felt like there was a disconnect at some point between the two that made the story line lag and fail where it might have pulled through. It might not help that this was a rather short book, so there wasn't much time to resolve things (240 pages in the hardcover edition).

It's an alright book, but I wouldn't say there was anything in the treatment of Wren's difficulties or the writing style itself that lent this book any particular shine.

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