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4.08  ·  Rating details ·  1,745 ratings  ·  361 reviews
Nothing matters. Only Bird matters. And he flew away.

Jewel never knew her brother Bird, but all her life she has lived in his shadow. Her parents blame Grandpa for the tragedy of their family’s past; they say that Grandpa attracted a malevolent spirit—a duppy—into their home. Grandpa hasn’t spoken a word since. Now Jewel is twelve, and she lives in a house full of secrets.
Paperback, 295 pages
Published January 29th 2014 by Text Publishing (first published January 28th 2014)
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Average rating 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,745 ratings  ·  361 reviews

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Feb 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Secrets, silence and little lies

Joy is like a child… You feed it or it dies.

Where was all this joy, and where does joy go when it leaves your family? Does it goes to someone else’s family, soak into the earth, or does it dissolve away like your breath in the winter? And if it doesn’t leave like this, then why isn’t there any left for me?

This was the 7th out of 8 novels that were selected for the KJV contest 2015-2016 and by far one of the finest young adult novels of the selection. Bird pleasant
See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads

4.5 stars

Bird really surprised me--the writing was absolutely spectacular, I loved the prose so much and I found it hard to put it down because of it. Crystal Chan also mastered the characters. They are perfectly flawed (which sounds awfully contradictory) and I felt myself growing onto them when I close the book. The presence of family is obvious and the drama within was also handled well. You know what? Bird ticks all the boxes for a successful contemporary
Wow. This book made me very, very angry.

It started out great. It's a debut novel that came out in 2014, about a 12-year-old girl whose brother died in an accident on the same day she was born. There are mystical elements to the story, and some fantastic one-liners.

The protagonist, Jewel, is biracial: Jamaican on her father's side, Mexican American on her mother's side. The author is also biracial, and in her bio she explains that she's “been trying to find her place in the world” for a long time
Nov 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This middle-grade book has gotten much attention, and rightfully so. Chan has a fluid, wise, poetic prose style and a large heart that leaves everything on the page. As someone who is biracial, I wish I had had this book growing up. The narrator, Jewel, is of Jamaican and Mexican descent, and Chan manages to weave in culture, geology, astronomy, and the supernatural all in one touching tale of loss and healing. In a world where children are becoming slaves to the screen, I wish for them Chan's w ...more

When I first heard about Bird from Text I felt really excited. It sounded gorgeous and special and a little bit mysterious. Plus the cover is seriously something else (in person it is even more striking). I dove straight in the day it arrived and had no idea what to expect. It took less than a paragraph to feel hooked, and less than a chapter for Jewel to set up camp in my heart.

Jewel is my favourite kind of heroine: fierce and creative and lonely and marching along to the beat of her own drum.
C.G. Drews
I'm actually procrastinating this review! (Proof: I just found this super sweet GIF of Sam and Frodo after they nearly drown.) Why am I procrastinating?

It was so dang good I can't turn it into words!

5-stars isn't even enough! It tore up all my feels and hit all my heartstrings. I just want to gather up EVERYONE in the book and hug them. (I don't even do hugs. But they all need one.)

It's totally sad and beautiful all at once. Can I just mention that this is a debut?! Imagine how fantastic the
Eugenia (Genie In A Book)
Jan 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
*This review also appears on the blog Chasm of Books*

Thank you to Text Publishing Australia for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Nothing matters, I realized. Only Bird Matters. And he flew away.

I found Bird to be a beautifully written novel of grief, friendship and the idea that although things might not always be what they seem, things can still work out in the end. Crystal Chan has used some evocative imagery throughout the book to set a lo
Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
Win a copy of bird

Bird was a beautifully haunting and poignant story about love, loss and how sometimes a family needs to fall apart before we can put it back together. Jewel is an intelligent and empathetic young lady, who deserves to be seen, to be nurtured and to be loved. Her parents may not have intentionally placed expectations upon Jewel, but Jewel certainly has. She sees herself as the replacement child for her brother Bird. Where Bird had the bes
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Actual rating: 3.5 stars

I did not RUE my decision.*

My experience with Bird by Crystal Chan really reaffirms my love of audiobooks. See, this is a book I NEVER would have picked up were it not for the fact that I’m powerless against a celebrity narrator. The blurb of the book really didn’t appeal to me, but Amandla Stenberg is adorable, so I had to try this book. Though it’s very much not my usual type of book, Bird by Crystal Chan really worked, particularly due to Stenberg’s performance.

Read th
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay I just finished this and I'm still wiping the tears away. "Grandpa stopped speaking the day he killed my brother John". Yeah that's the first sentence in this book so if you have a heart at some point your going to cry during this book.
This is a must read. Seriously. I didn't want to put it down.
Sep 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My ARC of Bird was sent to me by the publisher through Goodreads First Reads giveaway. I was not obligated to write a positive review. This is my full and honest opinion.

Cover Blurb: Yes or No? There's nothing very exciting about the cover art, and normally I wouldn't pay it much mind. But I do have a thing for silhouettes, and once I saw the silhouette I decided to read the synopsis. And that's what really caught my attention. Intrigue-level aside, it is aesthetically pleasing. I love the blue-
Dec 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received Bird on Christmas Eve, it was a great early present. I dived straight into reading it as I won the book in a giveaway and was asked to review it. Reading the first few pages it jumps straight into what the young girl has coped with through her life. Instead of some books where they take a while to get to the backstory, with Bird it is in the first few lines. Bird is a different genre style to must books as I stick usually to, paranormal and fantasy. But this book has definitely opened ...more
Sep 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Inspired by nature, superstition, and tradition Bird by Crystal Chan is a stunning middle grade debut. In a small Iowan town Jewel is born on the day her brother dies. Now 12 years old for Jewel living in a home filled with silent grief and secrets is all she has ever known, until she finds a boy in her favorite climbing tree.

I thoroughly enjoyed this read, the writing style is so down-to-earth. Chan takes time to beautifully describe our connection with the natural world, a central theme in th
Vicki Cose
Nov 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved the beauty of the language in this story!
Plot is filled with multiple themes of
friendship, family and death.
Michelle Glatt
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story is beautiful and oh how it makes my heart ache. Jewel has a wonderful spirit that shines through despite the grief that she feels and that surrounds and even strangles her family.
Jan 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wish-list
Jewel was born the day her brother John ‘Bird’ died. On that day, Jewel’s birthday, her Grandpa stopped talking and the whole family became quiet and sad … and they’ve stayed that way for the last 12 years.

Then, on her 12th birthday, Jewel climbs a tree and meets a boy called John. John is African-American, adopted by white parents and obsessed with becoming an astronaut. In Jewel, he finds a kindred spirit, not least of all because in their small Iowa town Jewel and John stick out;

“You’re not
Nov 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I feel like I just received a warm, caring hug. It’s not something that will protect or shield me from the pitfalls of life, but it is a hug that tells me that I’m never alone.

Title: Bird

Author: Crystal Chan

Genre: Realistic Fiction (Coming of Age)

Reviewer: C

Rating: 5/5 stars

Summary: On the day Jewel was born, her brother Bird died. Ever since that day, Jewel’s life has been filled with silence and unspoken secrets about the past. Ignored by her parents and a grandfather who has not spoken a sing
Jeann (Happy Indulgence)
This review appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!

Bird swooped in, gripped my heart and made it soar with its poignant, heart breaking story rippling with grief, and ending with hope.

Jewel’s story is aching with heart break and lost moments, as her family seem to be a broken shell. She never knew her brother Bird, but feels his presence in everything around her – her family’s grief, her grandpa’s silence and anger, and her private place at the cliff. She’s an unlucky child w
Bird, this novel that hit me hard but left me the pieces to put myself back together was more than I expected when I opened the pages and I started to read about Jewel and her family. She was born the night her five-year old brother decided to fly off the boulder because his name was Bird and he had dreams of flying. Imagine celebrating your birthday every year while your parents are grieving over the loss of a child, it’s really not much of a celebration. What happened on the day of her birth, ...more
Feb 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When Bird died, his sister Jewel was born. Her grandfather stopped speaking and the family were left grieving, grief that never seemed to be coming to an end. Jewel’s parents blamed Grandpa for Bird’s death. This stemmed from Bird’s real name being John, but Grandpa said he looked more like a Bird. Bird took himself to the cliff one day, to see if he could really fly. He couldn’t.

One aspect of this book that really grabbed me was Crystal Chan’s writing. Even from the first sentence, I was utter
Lucia Ashta
Sep 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
This book was deep, moving, and poignant, written with simple language and beautiful prose. The story moved along nicely, the characters were heartfelt, and the story was moving. The story was both sad and joyful at the same time.

The story was also unusual, and I enjoyed it that much more because of this. The author explored what could be considered a tragic concept and gave it depth and beauty, and used it as a basis for character growth. At the end of the day, all people want the same thing: l
Feb 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book through goodreads first-reads and I loved it. It's really aimed at young teenagers I would say, but the simplicity in the writing made it such a relaxing book that I was immediately drawn in and felt calm just sitting down to read. The writing is beautiful.

The story's lovely, especially the friendship that develops between Jewel and the boy that she meets. For me the best thing about this book were their interactions and their growing relationship. Two very clever children sharin
Jan 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
All I can really say about this gorgeous book is that it resonated a lot with me.

I randomly picked this up because it looked and sounded interesting and I was taken by surprise. I was not disappointed at all. A very refreshing read and it made me realise that I'd love to see more YA Fiction novels from the perspective of younger teens. Rather than the 15-16 age group it would be interesting to see more novels from the perspective of a twelve year old as the mindsets of the different ages is very
Gayle Rosengren
Feb 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
BIRD is a beautifully written story about a character who will climb into your heart and never leave. Lyrical prose, fully developed characters, and a compelling situation all combine to make this a must-read for anyone who loves middle grade literature. I was fortunate enough to read an advanced reader copy of this book, but you'll be able to find it at bookstores and libraries in January. ...more
Melissa Landers
Apr 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2k14
An achingly poignant and beautifully written story of love, loss, coming of age, family bonds, and second chances. Fantastic debut, Crystal!
Razan Alghriafi
For a while, a felt that I'm reading an ordinary scenario for an ordinary American movie.
It's got me depressed.
Slow, sad drama that finally solved all problems at the end.
Nothing special..
RLL220_Xavier Hernandez
A great novel that tells the story of a young girl, Jewel, who lives an unfortunate life with her family and a tragic loss of her older brother. Her grandpa lives a life of guilt for encouraging the older brother, Bird, that he can fly and soar but tragically had lost his life for having the courage to jump and attempt to fly. Now Jewel has discovered a boy, John, with similar traits as her brother, Bird. Both John and Jewel create a strong friendship together and we, the audience, learn about a ...more
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a "juvenile" read you do not want to miss! It is Chan's debut novel and I'm hoping she has many more to come! It is Jewel's story - a young girl who has grown up knowing the death of her brother was substantial to her family. Not only are her mother and father not the same since he died, her grandfather is mute since the event. Jewel is struggling to find not only herself, but all of the pieces to this puzzle. She meets "John", a boy in a tree, one night and her summer is changed .... bu ...more
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Jewel's friendship with John was precious. I want to read more cute and platonic friendships like this. The family dynamics were complex and nuanced, as all the characters dealt with grief in different ways. We get to see Jewel come into her own, with an emphasis on where she fits in her family. It's both heartwarming and heartwrenching.
The writing style was gorgeous - lots of really lovely nature and outer space metaphors.
Phil Jensen
Sad people learn to deal with grief by talking about their feelings. Multiple cultures are represented and scientific metaphors are used. In the end, we are all connected and we learn to trust each other. I almost threw up a couple times.

This book goes for a purely emotional appeal. There's little to no plot aside from grief and friendship problems. If you're the kind of reader who likes big feelings, then you'll be fine. If you're the type of reader who needs some kind of plot or thematic depth
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Crystal Chan watched with amazement at the exotic zoo outbreak in Zanesville, Ohio in 2011, where scores of animals—hungry lions, panthers, and tigers—ran loose around the county. That incident helped inspire her most recent novel, All That I Can Fix. When Crystal isn’t writing, her passion is giving diversity talks to adults and kids alike, telling stories on Wisconsin Public Radio, and hosting c ...more

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