By Awnali Mills
This time when I needed my next audiobook fix, I headed up to Young Adult to see what they had in. I picked up Nightbird, written by Alice Hoffman and narrated by Jenna Lamia. Alice Hoffman? I’m totally there.
Twig and her mother have always been very reserved, refusing to engage with any of the townspeople of Sidwell. It isn’t because they are unfriendly, it’s because they have a secret that no one can find out: Twig has an older brother, James. And James has wings.
A long time ago, Twig’s ancestor ran afoul of the Sidwell witch, and she cursed their family. The men in the family always have wings. Usually, the wings are removed at birth, but this leaves the men weak and sickly. Twig’s mother refused to remove James’ wings, and now they must protect him at all costs. But Twig is very lonely.
Now, a family with two girls has moved into the witch’s cottage next door to Twig’s house, and Twig can’t resist forming a friendship with Julia against her mother’s wishes. James is increasingly restive and has been spotted flying by the townspeople. Someone is stealing things, and graffiti messages purportedly from the Monster of Sidwell are showing up everywhere. Can secrets stay safe? Twig is torn between the habit of secrecy and the seduction of friendship. Is there any way that she can keep everything from flying apart?
Jenna Lamia has such a sweet little girl voice that she is totally convincing as Twig. She does a good job of differentiating the voices of the characters, particularly Julia. I enjoyed the story very much. It’s perfect for the younger YA audience because it does not have problematic content (not sure how to say that—no sex or cursing, okay?). But still has content that would appeal to them—friendship issues, obeying/disobeying parents, keeping secrets, a mild love interest.