Release Date: August 1, 2018
Australian RRP: $16.99
Even in holiday mode it’s a big ask for me to read a book in one sitting but this one is a corker!
At once a coming-of-age story and a beautiful reflection on accepting differences its country setting along with an environmental theme provides a strong contrast for city dwelling readers and a point of real engagement for those in rural areas.
Audrey knows she doesn’t fit in; even her little sister calls her ‘Nerd Girl’. Her passion for birds including knowing so many of their scientific names is just one aspect that sets her apart. Even so, leaving her old city school when her parents relocate to a country vineyard is fraught with misgivings about how she will even attempt to blend in with new school friends and country ways. Her father is filled with optimism about the new venture having spent a long time unemployed. Her mother has left her legal secretary job which has kept the family and is far less enthralled with their new prospects. Little sister Chloe is excited and happy and has no trouble at all being accepted into a crowd of new friends.
Then Audrey makes a secret friend, a boy hiding out in a nearby cave with his little dog. Finch and Snowy connect with Audrey in a way no one else has done before. Although rather surprisingly her elderly neighbour Mavis becomes more and more like a friend as well. And somehow there appears to be a ‘bird’ connection between all three. The mystery surrounding Finch takes Audrey into a new awareness of herself and ultimately also into an inner resilience she didn’t know she possessed.
This is just delightfully written with excellent and resonant characterisations and a truly great theme of adapting to new circumstances and embracing one’s own differences.
Highly recommended for readers from around Year 5 to Lower Secondary.