Title: Be Light Like A Bird
Author: Monika Schroder
Published: September 2016 by Capstone Young Readers
Genre: Middle-grade realistic fiction
How I got the book: I downloaded it onto my Kindle through BookBub
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 tackle issues with the environment, peer pressure, and bullying. More than that, she must cope with the difficulty of forgiving those who don’t deserve it as she discovers what it means to be a family — and the secrets and lies that can tear one apart.
BookBub emailed me a couple of months ago that this book was for free. After seeing it was middle-grade (I love a good middle-grade every once in a while) and reading the summary, I thought it’d definitely be worth a try.
Told through Wren’s point of view, we learn that her father has passed away. She is sad and doesn’t know how to grieve. All she knows is to go to her mother. Her mother, on the other hand, is angry. Wren, being 12-years-old, doesn’t understand grieving or death and she can’t imagine why her mother is so mad. It begins to tear their family apart.
After a couple of moves, Wren finally feels as though she may have a place where she belongs. She makes some new friends, some nice and some not so nice, she does pretty well in school, and she discovers a place she knows her father would love.
Due to a report at school and Wren and her father’s love of bird watching, Wren fights for beautiful a pond to not be torn down and turned into a dump.
I don’t know how I can explain this plot and do it justice. The overall message is grieving and talking about it. However, there’s a subplot of Wren dealing with who her real friends are as well as working on her school project and setting up a petition. And the art of bird watching is woven into all of that.
This plot is gold.
Each character was crafted wonderfully. Wren made an excellent protagonist and I think her 12-year-old was spot on. I was angry at her mother in the beginning for what she did to Wren, but I learned to sympathize for her.
Theo, Wren’s best friend, made an excellent best friend. I wish I had a Theo.
Victoria and Carrie were the definition of a “mean girl” and “minion” and it was perfect.
Wren’s father was important even though he’s never seen in the book, a lot is learned about him. And you really don’t know what to think of him.
All the supporting characters – Randle, Mrs. Russo, Theo’s dad – were all great supporting characters as well. Everyone had their own voice and their own purpose.
I read this book in one day. It’s about 240 pages long, so you can see that as quickly or not. It went by pretty quick for me because I was so intrigued.
While I thought the beginning was a bit slow, it all made sense in the end. The book is broken up into chapters but after a few of them a new “theme” sort of comes into play. Yet, it was all tied together at the end.
I had tears in my eyes for a good chunk of the novel and if you know me well, you know that’s what sells it for me.
I really don’t think I did this book justice. I think I could go on and on, but it wouldn’t be organized and I’d be rambling.
This book was so well crafted, well paced, and just overall a great piece of art. It conveys an important message that I think everyone should read it. It’s pretty inspiring.
Be Light Like A Bird by Monika Schroder gets…
5 out of 5 stars
“You don’t want to just float around in life like a feather. You want to determine your own direction – fly and soar like a bird.” -Monika Schroder, Be Light Like A Bird
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