Reading Rewind: Belzhar and Nightbird


This week I’ve been binge-watching Haven on Netflix (such a great, Fringe-type show), but I also managed to get in two books…


Goodreads Summary:

If life were fair, Jam Gallahue would still be  at home in New Jersey with her sweet British  boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield. She’d be watching  old comedy sketches with him. She’d be kissing  him in the library stacks.

She certainly wouldn’t be at The Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in rural Vermont, living with a weird roommate, and signed up for an exclusive, mysterious class called Special Topics in English.

But life isn’t fair, and Reeve Maxfield is dead.

Until a journal-writing assignment leads Jam to Belzhar, where the untainted past is restored, and Jam can feel Reeve’s arms around her once again. But there are hidden truths on Jam’s path to reclaim her loss.

From New York Times bestselling author Meg Wolitzer comes a breathtaking and surprising story about first love, deep sorrow, and the power of acceptance.

My Thoughts:

Belzhar is very cool and trippy book. Both the voice and writing are is strong and the premise of a magical/imaginary world based on a book is such a brilliant idea. It took me a little bit to get into the characters and really care about Jam and her breakdown. But the closer she grew to the other students in Special Topics English, the more I wanted them all to come to terms with their respective losses and find a way to be okay again. And then when I finally learned what happened to Jam, I thought it was a very smart plot choice. I enjoyed it, but didn’t love it like I thought I might.


Goodreads Summary:

In her first novel for middle-grade readers , bestselling author Alice Hoffman tells a bewitching story of love and friendship that is truly magical.

Twig lives in Sidwell, where people whisper that fairy tales are real. After all, her town is rumored to hide a monster. And two hundred years ago, a witch placed a curse on Twig’s family that was meant to last forever. But this summer, everything will change when the red moon rises. It’s time to break the spell.

My Thoughts:

Nightbird is magical, sweet read about the power of friendship and the unconditional love of family. Twig is a loner, but not by choice. Her desperation for friendship and a normal life in general is such a universal theme, but the magical curse on her family gives it a fun new twist. The friendship between Twig and Julia was delightful, and the other side characters added a quirkiness to the overall mystery of the town and the curse. I loved how all the sub plots tied together and gave the story such emotional depth. I will be buying this for my niece when it publishes in March.

*I received and ARC from Random House Children’s/Wendy Lamb Books and NetGalley for an honest review.


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