Nightbird

Nightbird

Audiobook(CD - Unabridged)

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Overview

Bestselling author Alice Hoffman’s bewitching Nightbird is perfect for ages 10-13: love and friendship empower a lonely girl to embrace her uniqueness and discover her strengths.  

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.
 

Praise
Nominated for:
The Great Stone Face Award (NH)
Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award (Illinois)
The Black-Eyed Susan Book Award (Maryland)

“Hoffman reminds us that there are secrets everywhere . . . Nightbird soars.”
The New York Times
 
“Alice Hoffman has a gift for melding magic and realism in a way that makes nearly anything seem possible.”
Shelf Awareness, Starred
 
“The mix of romance and magic is irresistible.”
Kirkus Reviews

What Other Authors Are Saying
“I love the way Alice Hoffman creates the most ordinary people and then turns their lives magical. . . . [Nightbird] is like reentering a wonderful dream that you vaguely remember.” —Lois Lowry, two-time Newbery Medal–winning author of The Giver
 
 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553552232
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/10/2015
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 5.90(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 10 - 13 Years

About the Author

Alice Hoffman is the author of more than thirty bestselling works of fiction, including Practical Magic, a major motion picture; Here on Earth, an Oprah Book Club selection; the highly praised historical novel The Dovekeepers; and, most recently, The Museum of Extraordinary Things. Her books for teens include Green Angel, Green Witch, Incantation, The Fortelling, and Aquamarine, also a major motion picture, starring Emma Roberts. Visit her online at alicehoffman.com.

Hometown:

Boston, Massachusetts

Date of Birth:

March 16, 1952

Place of Birth:

New York, New York

Education:

B.A., Adelphi University, 1973; M.A., Stanford University, 1974

Read an Excerpt

You can't believe everything you hear, not even in Sidwell, Massachusetts, where every person is said to tell the truth and the apples are so sweet people come from as far as New York City during the apple festival. There are rumors that a mysterious creature lives in our town. Some people insist it's a bird bigger than an eagle; others say it's a dragon, or an oversized bat that resembles a person. Certainly this being, human or animal or something in between, exists nowhere else in this world. Children whisper that we have a monster in our midst, half man, half myth, and that fairy tales are real in Berkshire County. At the Sidwell General Store and at the gas station tourists can buy T-shirts decorated with a red-eyed winged beast with visit sidwell printed underneath.

Every time I see one of these shirts in a shop, I casually drop it into the garbage bin.

In my opinion, people should be careful about the stories they tell.

All the same, whenever things go missing the monster is blamed. Weekends are the worst times for these odd thefts. Bread deliveries to the Starline Diner are several loaves short of the regular order. Clothes hanging on the line vanish. I know there's no such thing as a monster, but the thief has struck my family, as a matter of fact. One minute there were four pies sitting out on the kitchen counter to cool, and the next minute the back door was left open and one of the pies was missing. An old quilt left out on our porch disappeared one Saturday. There were no footprints on our lawn, but I did have a prickle of fear when I stood at the back door that morning, gazing into the woods. I thought I spied a solitary figure running through a thicket of trees, but it might have only been mist, rising from the ground.

No one knows who takes these things, whether pranks are being played, or someone--or something--is truly in need, or if it is the creature that everyone assumes lives within the borders of our town. People in Sidwell argue as much as people do anywhere, but everyone agrees on one thing: Our monster can only be seen at night, and then only if you are standing at your window, or walking on a lane near the orchards, or if you happen to be passing our house.



We live on Old Mountain Road, in a farmhouse that is over two hundred years old, with nooks and crannies and three brick fireplaces, all big enough for me to stand in, even though I am tall for twelve. From our front door there's a sweeping view of the woods that contain some of the oldest trees in Massachusetts. Behind us are twenty acres of apple orchards. We grow a special variety called Pink. One of my ancestors planted the first Pink apple tree in Sidwell. Some people say Johnny Appleseed himself, who introduced apple trees all over our country, presented our family with a one-of-a-kind seedling when he wandered through town on his way out west. We make Pink applesauce, Pink apple cake, and two shades of Pink apple pie, light and dark. In the summer, before we have apples, we have Pink peach berry pie, and in the late spring there is Hot-Pink strawberry rhubarb pie, made from fruit grown in the garden behind our house. Rhubarb looks like red celery; it's bitter, but when combined with strawberries it's delicious. I like the idea of something bitter and something sweet mixed together to create something incredible. Maybe that's because I come from a family in which we don't expect each other to be like anyone else. Being unusual is not unusual for the Fowlers.



My mother's piecrust is said to be the finest in New England and our Pink cider is famous all over Massachusetts. People come from as far away as Cambridge and Lowell just to try them. We bring most of our pies and cupcakes to be sold at the General Store that's run by Mr. Stern, who can sell as many as my mother can bake. I've always wished that I was more like her instead of my awkward, gawky self. As a girl my mother attended ballet lessons at Miss Ellery's Dance School in town, and she's still graceful, even when she's picking apples or hauling baskets of fruit across the lawn. But my arms and legs are too long, and I tend to stumble over my own feet. The only thing I'm good at is running. And keeping secrets. I'm excellent at that. I've had a lot of practice.

My mother has honey-colored hair that she pins up with a silver clip whenever she bakes. My hair is dark; sometimes I don't even know what color it is, a sort of blackish brown, the color of tree bark, or a night that has no stars. It gets so tangled while I'm out in the woods that this year I cut it out of frustration, just hacked at it with a pair of nail scissors, and now it is worse than ever, even though my mother says I look like a pixie. Looking like a pixie was not what I was after. I wanted to look like my mother, who everyone says was the prettiest girl in town when she was my age, and now is the most beautiful woman in the entire county.

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Nightbird 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
KarenfromDothan More than 1 year ago
Nightbird is a tween fantasy book, a story of a witches curse, and the family she cursed.  It’s told in the first person by Twig.  Twig is twelve years old and lives with her mother and brother in an old farmhouse beside an apple orchard in Sidwell, Massachusetts.  Twig’s mother supports the family by making all sorts of apple products, like her famous pink apple pie.  The family keeps to themselves and does not mix with the other members of their community.  Twig’s family has a big secret they go to great lengths to protect, and  the cost of keeping their secret is very steep indeed. One day a family moves in next door, and everything changes. Alice Hoffman has done it again in this endearing story of Twig, her family, friendship and the lengths she goes to to save them both.   Absolutely charming!
reececo331 More than 1 year ago
Nightbird  by Alice Hoffman This is an interesting tale of friendship, mystery and tying up loose ends. A young girl moved to a small town when her mother returned to bury her grandparents. It was a start of a division of her family. Her father was left back in New York City. It also was the beginning of a family secret. Her older brother spent years hidden in their home, hiding from the town and all its inhabitants. The family was cursed because of the heartbreak of the town witch. The town loved the mystery of the 200 year old legend. Making the young girl and her family alone and separated from their neighbors.  The return of the family next door to Mourning Dove Cottage, the two young girls bring not only unending friendship and the solution to the curse for the family. 
MargieS1 More than 1 year ago
Given To Me For An Honest Review Nightbird by Alice Hoffman's book is such a must read.  Once you open this book, it will grab you and hold you down and you will just watch  those pages turn and turn and turn until you reach the last page. Before long you will feel as if you are a part of the story. You just might find  a few twists and turns also. This book can be a read aloud or read alone.  It is a good read for ages 10 on up and for grades 5 on up.  It is  about growing up and accepting our uniqueness.  A fantastic story about love and friendship that is truly magical. A curse has affected a  family and they have kept it a secret for many generations. They live in relative seclusion. A new family moves into town. The new family  are the relatives of the family that started the curse. Before long the children from both families become friends and then the story becomes  very interesting. The ending? FANTASTIC!  Will the town find out about the curse?  Will the curse be broken? I gave this book 5 stars but it  truly deserves many, many more. This book would make a great gift.  It would look good on your child's bookshelf or on any library's  bookshelf. I highly recommend this book to everyone especially those who enjoy books about fantasy. I wait for another of Alice Hoffman's  great books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It has a geat story line I love the idea of somone having wing. I also liked the baking in it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sparrowhawk24 More than 1 year ago
Nightbird was a charming simplistic tale that held my interest, for the most part. The plot was solid, it was an easy read, it didn’t suffer in complexity, and there was diversity in the cast of characters who each played an important role in the development of the plot. However while Nightbird is not technically a terrible book, it did lack the glint of allure that is essential to make a story compelling enough to keep reading if that makes any sense. In other words, Nightbird is far too monotone ¿ and there are no real surprises here to say the least. WHAT I LIKED:  + The unfolding of the narrative opened brilliantly, by doing exactly what it was intended to do: draw the reader into uncovering the mysteries and rumors surrounding the mysterious creature that lives in the town of Sidwell; needless to say, Hoffman’s graceful and even-handed writing style is purely imaginative + The love story within Nightbird was an enduring tragic tale, and I loved it! It held elements of suspense, internal and external conflict; as well as, social strife! [I ached for James and Agate ¿ I sat entranced from the very point where their love story was introduced, all the way to the end, where their personal discoveries led them to realize they were meant to be together (hide spoiler)] + The story centers around one main character: Teresa Jane Fowler ¿ also known as Twig. Twig is a quirky twelve-year-old oddity; namely, because her mother pressures her to remain hidden and unnoticed owing to a discreet and meticulous family secret. As a result however, Twig is burdened with internal constriction ¿ she yearns for friendships and closeness, and this is where you seem to string along with her in the story and where the prose held my attention. I was particularly interested in observing her response to the harbored inexpressible frustrations she held against the biased opinions of the township + Nightbird touched on themes such as: the prejudices of society, friendship, family and love all told in a simplistic first-person narration, and I strongly believe that young readers will enjoy these motifs ¿ the premise was truly a piece of art WHAT I DIDN’T LIKED:  – As aforementioned, Nightbird was in all truth, a solid story. At the same time however, despite how cleverly it was written, somewhere within the first quarter of the book, the story unexpectedly became tedious and suffered from elongated riddles. There was a long time where I was just waiting for something to happen, and as a result, I felt like the overall story line lacked the appeal that makes Hoffman’s narratives so magically amazing – Out of all the characters in Nightbird, one character in particular caught my eye: James Fowler ¿ who, similar to Twig, longs to fit in society as well. I much enjoyed how James’ curious and troubled innocence symbolized the tendency with which we discriminate those who are different, and the readiness with which we jump from one side of the spectrum to the other. Even so, I was rather underwhelmed with the lack of depth surrounding his character arc; James barely stood out and I personally feel that this is where the magic was caged – The biggest gripe I had with Nightbird, was with how lucid and complacent the young characters in this book were as they immersed themselves in witchcraft! I’m not referring to magical wands, swords, rings or pixie dust, but like, legitimate witchcraft with herbs, minerals, oils, incense and outlined instructions and recipes {shudders}. I probably would not have taken offense had the characters been older teens or young adults ¿ I fooled around with extreme mediums as an older teen to contact spirits and entities, and have stories of my own that haunted me for years! I suspect this is why I’m so vexed with the idea of children enraptured in witchcraft; it’s all too real for me! Look, call me an extremist, but I just cannot for the life on me, believe that it is okay to open the door for any child to fool around or get involved in the occult or black magic ¿ I just can’t. Please bear in mind, that I am measuring this one element through my world view and that your mileage may vary from my own AFTERTHOUGHTS:  After having read Splintered, I simply needed to read something engaging and adventuresome, and in this case, that meant a-middle-grade-book-with-great-characters-set-in-a-fantasy-world. Unfortunately, Nightbird ended up to be more of a dim tale rather than the venturous narrative I anticipated it to be. Again, while it is not a horrible narrative, it’s not a particularly remarkable one either. I truly wanted to like this book, but it just didn’t work for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MorrisMorgan More than 1 year ago
Alice Hoffman has created a wonderful new fairy tale in “Nightbird” that is a delightful read for both the young and the young-at-heart.  For those to young to read on their own, it will make a great bedtime story to be read aloud over the course of a few nights. All of the characters, especially Twig and James, are unique and relatable, even though they are abnormal to the eyes of those around them.  The world is filled with both the familiar and fantastical, sucking the reader in.  All of the classic parts of fairy tales are present: mystery, the unknown creatures of the dark, friendship, bravery, and a little romance.  I found myself smiling and feeling nostalgic for the books of my childhood the entire time I was reading it, and I sincerely hope the author creates more stories for children. I recommend “Nightbird” for anyone and everyone.  Such fun! This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
The witch was back, the Witch of Sidwell and Twig’s mother had warned her to stay away but like most twelve-year old girls, Twig longs to have a friend, someone to have share secrets with, someone to read books with and someone to spend the lazy days of summer with. No one in the town knows Twig’s families deepest darkest secret and they preferred it that way. When Twig and her new friend start hanging out together, Twig fears that this friendship wouldn’t last very long but Julia decides they should become soul sisters and this seals their bond. Twig has walked around with her family’s secret on her shoulders for years and suddenly, Julia informs her one day that she knows of this secret which enlightens yet confuses Twig. This burden has been lifted and she feels enlightened that it has come from a true friend. You can feel her self-confident rise in the reading. This secret needs to be resolved which involves both of the families and revolves around a two-hundred year old curse. The town of Siddell is cracking their own case which they feel involves a monster. With various citing, this monster has the town on edge and they feel his capture will end the mysterious disappearance of items around town, the unexplained appearance of feathers and hopefully explain the strange object in the sky. I really enjoyed the character of Twig. She had the typical emotions and reactions of a twelve-year old girl. Secluded and withdrawn, she kept to herself and then when she meets Julia, she fears that she will be rejected once Julia knows everything about her so she just waits for that rejection. She doesn’t live in a fantasy world, she knows what it is like so she waits and she’s ready for the let down. Its Julia’s words about the soul sisters that trip up her thinking as she wasn’t ready for that comment from Julia. Their relationship grows into something very special. They were alike, yet so different and being soul sisters allowed Twig to see that they had a special bond and it was real. This special friendship and the curse brought these two girls closer together and made this book remarkable. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and Random House Children’s Book in exchange for an honest opinion.
Varnerd More than 1 year ago
Magic, friendship, teen angst, centuries old drama and tension, misunderstandings, love, family dynamic, secrets, small town happenings and more!  This story takes place in a small town and truly showcases the idea of small town living and charm.  We have the "gossip group" and the historian/librarian who knows everyone/everything.  We have the idea of everyone knowing everyone and more including the potential of a big city change!  I adored the way this story developed and the ability to realistically tie in magic with the normal everyday lives that these citizens enjoy daily.   Some parts were somewhat predictable, but overall the story had some great turns and surprises as more information was shared about Twig's family and family dynamic with the town.  This was a quick read and more engaging than I was expecting from a YA novel that involved magic.  I feel that teens, YA or adults could and would enjoy this story and relate to one if not several of these characters.
megHan-sHena More than 1 year ago
Nightbird "For my readers who are searching for the same things I searched for, Nightbird is a book of hope, for the lonely, the friendless, the girl who is different, the boy who has secrets to keep.  In it, magic can be found in unexpected places, right next door or scrawled on a piece of paper hidden in an old desk.  It takes place in a summer when everything changes, when the moon is red, when friendships are forged, and when love can be found at your own front door." ~Alice Hoffman, Dear Readers I couldn't sleep last night and decided to give this book a go.  I started at 11:30 ... and finished it around 1:30.  I was so tired, but every time I put the book down, I would lay there thinking about the story, and would end up picking it back up again.  This is definitely a book I would have picked up when I was younger and there's a few lessons to be learned inside. I really liked this story - in fact, it's one of the best books I've read so far this year.  It is truly moving - one minute you're laughing, the next crying.  There some spooky moments, some breath-holding moments, and even some moments when you want to scream out loud to watch out, or even to cheer.  It was exciting and fun and I think any child that believes in magic should experience this book (and some adults, those ones that have forgotten over time that magic exists, should pick it up, too).   The characters are awesome, and there isn't one in it that I don't like for one reason or another.  They are relatable and not what you first expected and you just can't help but feel the way they feel during different situations.  My two favorites are Twig and Julia. "I think that evening was the beginning of my feeling lonely, a feeling I carried folded up, a secret I could never tell.  From then on, I didn't cry when I was disappointed.  I just stored up my hurts, as if they were a tower made of fallen stars, invisible to most people, but brightly burning inside of me." The town of Sidwell just seemed like an awesome town and was very well described.  When the author speaks of the woods, I felt like I was walking through them.  When she talks about the people in the town, I felt like they could be people I knew.  My favorite place in the whole town was the garden they created together. I also loved hearing about the baking that Twig's mom did - and how much it was loved by this small town.  (I even garnered a few things to try myself - you don't need to supply recipes, as long as you supply an idea.) I don't know if the author plans on writing more about Sidwell, but I do know that she has written a lot of books that look just as good as this one and I can't wait to experience her other stories.  :) Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.  Please remember that this review is my opinion, based on my personal impressions of the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You close your eyes. Where do your thoughts begin and end? You hear a man's shoes clomp on the hard floor outside the room. The man opens the door. Its Shane. "A-Are you o-ok?" You nod. He is shivering "C-c-can I have a b-blanket?" You notice that its raining. Just like your mood. Dark. Ashley opens a cabinet and gives a blanket to Shane. You sigh. "Why cant life be perfect?" You ask. Ashley sits on the edge of the hospital bed and says, "Then life wouldnt be fun." And smiles. You hug her. A doctor rushes in. "Miss!" He says, "You might live!" You get excited and jump out of the bed. "We just have to give you a simple skin cuttage!" He says. He makes Shane and Ashley wait outside. He gives you a pill and you fall asleep. When you wake up, immediate pain shoots to your chest. "You had stomach cancer." Ashley says. They cut your chest and cought it before it got bad. You touch your chest. There is stiches. "YOUR CURED!!" Ashley yells. A weight lifts off your shoulders. Once you get home you go near the ledge and scream. That ledge started it all. Part 7 will be on funny girl.