Be Light Like a Bird – REVIEW

Be Light Like a Bird by Monika Schröder is a stand-alone novel meant for the middle grades and it’s pretty darn awesome!

Book Cover: Be Light Like a Bird by Monika Schröder - Dark blue background with lighter blue trees and red birds on it

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Brief Synopsis

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 confront issues with the environment, peer pressure, bullying, and most of all, the difficulty of forgiving those who don’t deserve it. A quirky, emotional middle grade novel set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Be Light Like a Bird features well-drawn, unconventional characters and explores what it means to be a family and the secrets and lies that can tear one apart.

Review

What a wonderful book about dealing with loss, grief, and anger! I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Wren, her mother, Theo, and the rest of our cast of characters are well-rounded, complex characters who are believable and just jump off the page with their realism. Wren’s mother is running from her grief and anger and of course, Wren’s just along for the ride because she doesn’t have a choice, but she really does well with all the change considering that she’s grieving too.

Eventually, after a few stops along the way, they land in Pyramid, Michigan, a small town in the upper peninsula near the end of I-75. Wren decides she likes it there and wants to stay. She makes a new friend in Theo and together they fight against the draining of a wetland by a local landfill.

The whole time, there’s still a rift between Wren and her mother which is only increased by some terrible news her mother has to tell her about her father. Can they ever mend the rift between them?

I’m not going to provide the answer to that or to whether or not Wren and Theo win their fight against the landfill. You’ll just have to read this absolutely marvelous book to find out! I highly recommend this book. Even if you’re an adult, I believe you’ll enjoy it as well!

** Special thanks to the author, Monika Schröder for providing me with a copy of the wonderful book. I was not compensated for this review All opinions and conclusions expressed in this review are my own. **

Stay tuned for an interview with the author, Monika Schröder, coming later today (March 14)!!

The City of the Yeti

5 out of 5 stars

Book cover with walled city at the base of a mountain with plains in front of it & text

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The City of the Yeti by Robert A. Love is the first book I read after joining NetGalley. It was excellent.

I absolutely loved this book. From the moment I started reading it, I couldn’t hardly put it down. Every spare moment was spent reading this amazing story. I fell in love with Danny and his sister, Rachel, almost immediately. Their adventures and discoveries were well-timed and well-written.

This book had a well-executed plot line. The pace was steady, neither too fast or slow. There was just the right amount of adventure and excitement without having you on the edge of your seat every moment, which is something I don’t personally care for, so I was thrilled with the balance in this story. The characters were well-rounded, developed and realistic. I felt like I really got to know those important to the story and to know enough about the others for it to seem realistic and not fake. I also felt that the descriptions of the settings were “just right”. They weren’t too wordy, describing every detail until nothing was left to your imagination. And they weren’t too sparse, leaving you to wonder if what you were imagining was true to the author’s vision.

Line of black & white mountains

The only real criticism I have of the book is that occasionally, the dialogue became much less formal than what they would have used in 1922 Britain or British families. However, the target audience of ages 8-12, aren’t going to really notice that.

Unfortunately, this book was published by a British publisher and is not as easy to find in the United States outside of the large online stores like Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I had to special order it through my local independent bookstore, but it’s completely worth it!

I would highly recommend this to all adventure enthusiasts, not just children and teens. I think this book could appeal to adults as well, as long as they can get passed the point where they think children’s literature isn’t for them. In fact, I liked it so much that I ordered a print copy of the book even tho’ I had the e-book!

(I received a free e-book of this title through NetGalley in exchange for my fair and honest review. This in no way affected my rating of the book. All opinions and conclusions are my own.)

Line of black & white mountains

Exiled: Memoirs of a Camel

5 out of 5 stars

Book cover with desert sand, scrub brush, camel, and text

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Exiled: Memoirs of a Camel by Kathleen Karr is a book that I read several years ago and yet it has stuck with me over the years. I originally picked it up because the title fascinated me. Who knew that camels had memoirs?! It didn’t disappoint me at all. It may be a youth fiction book, but I believe all ages would enjoy reading it. It was fascinating and I had trouble putting it down!

Not only did I enjoy the story line and the descriptions of the setting by the author, but I also learned something while reading it. Did you know that the United States Army had a Camel Corps before and during the Civil War?  I didn’t. That’s the whole premise behind this story – a camel is sent from Egypt to the United States to be a part of the United States Army Camel Corps. Unfortunately, the Civil War began and the Camel Corps was dismantled in order to route funds to other needed areas. Otherwise, who knows, we could have had service men and women serving in the Camel Corps even today!

One of my favorite parts of this book is that it’s written from the camel’s point of view. Not only do we get the details of his journey, but how he feels about leaving his homeland, whether he should spit/bite someone, etc.

I highly recommend this interesting and brilliantly told tale!

Camel with blanket on his back, halter and small bell