Extraordinary Birds

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review

Eleven-year-old December has an encyclopaedic knowledge of birds. And that’s because she is one. Or at least she will be, once her wings have sprouted from the scars across her back.

December needs her wings so she can fly away and be with her real mum but in the meantime she must keep her true nature a secret. And if that means getting kicked out of all her foster homes because no-one else understands that she must keep practising by jumping out of trees, then that’s a price she’s willing to pay.

When December is placed with Eleanor, a new foster mum, she begins to have doubts about the story she tells herself about the past but letting go of it would mean accepting some very painful truths.

In this stunning, painfully poignant story, December takes refuge in a fantasy world because real life has always been such a disappointment. The inclusion of a non-binary character, a non-traditional depiction of home and family and incidental mental health issues add to the credibility of a story that is, in the end, uplifting and hopeful.

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