Twig’s family is troubled by burdens and mysteries. Although they’ve lived in Sidwell for years, they remain outsiders, mostly by choice. They have secrets, too, and although Twig wants to make connections with others, her mother resists. Page after page, the truth is revealed. Slowly, Twig befriends a neighbor whose family history is intertwined with her own. Sad, upsetting, horrible things happen, but Twig does not give up.
Nightbird by Alice Hoffman has elements of fantasy – monsters and winged humans – but it’s grounded in a town we can all recognize, peopled with completely familiar neighbors, business leaders, classmates and teachers. You’re so taken with Twig and her world that even the supernatural aspects are believable by the time they are brought into the light. Its quietness adds to the sensation of waiting and suspense, and when it’s done, it leaves you with the wonderful feeling of a story well-told.