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The Aviary

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  4,502 Ratings  ·  541 Reviews
Twelve-year-old Clara Dooley has spent her whole life in the Glendoveer mansion, where her mother is a servant to the kind and elderly matron of the house. Clara has never known another home. In fact, she's confined to the grand estate due to a mysterious heart condition. But it's a comfortable life, and if it weren't for the creepy squawking birds in the aviary out back, ...more
Hardcover, 337 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
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The Night Circus by Erin MorgensternWitch in the Woods by Taylor Ann BunkerPride and Prejudice by Jane AustenThe Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline KellyThe Aviary by Kathleen O'Dell
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Friends, I’m about to push a new book on you. One of the best books I’ve read in 2011 is The Aviary by Kathleen O’Dell. The Aviary is a quiet middle grade novel with a touch of Anne Of Green Gables crossed with The Secret Garden as an influence. It’s historical fantasy with a gothic feel, a book that DEMANDS you get sucked within it’s pages. Plus, that cover just holds your eye and doesn’t let go with the gorgeous green and the black and the birds, with the old school feel. Clearly, O’Dell was b ...more
Jul 21, 2017 rated it did not like it
This was boring.
Dec 15, 2011 rated it liked it
I might have rated this five stars if I'd read it as a kid. It shares things in common, thematically and in setting and somewhat in plot, with many favorite books--The Diamond in the Window, and The Secret of the Strawbridge Place, and Time at the Top, and The House with the Clock in its Walls, and oh, any book with kids in a big old house, even Gone-Away Lake, especially those with elements of fantasy. But thinking of all these masterpieces of children's literature serves only to put this book' ...more
Timothy Power
Oct 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Lots of Victorian atmosphere, an able, likeable heroine, and a tantalizing mystery are made all the more compelling by Kathleen O'Dell's lovely prose. I found the solution less appealing than the mystery itself, probably because the story's terrific setup had my brain abuzz with all sorts of wild conjecture. :)
Kagama-the Literaturevixen
Aug 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Clara Dooley is an 12 year old girl sometime in the late 19th Century,who lives with her mother who is the housekeeper in an old run down an old run-down house belonging to Mrs Glendoveer the widow of an once world famous magician.

Since Clara has a weak heart since birth she is not allowed to go to school or to go outside unsupervised so she spends her time helping to care for Mrs Glendoveer who still grieves for the loss of her children several decades ago.

Mrs Glendoveer owns five exotic birds
Mar 21, 2012 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: NOBODY
I didn't like this book AT ALL! It sounded good when I read the blurb, but once I got started it just went down hill. I was rather surprised when I saw how many good reviews this book has on because it isn't that good. I expected it to be a lot more creepy and tense then it was, it was a let down. Also, it seems like the author thought "Oops, this is supposed to be historical fiction, lets make them say 'Thou', 'Hearsay', and call everyone 'Dear' and that will make it sound authentic! ...more
Juan Camilo Giron C
Jul 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Kind strange but different...
Sara Grochowski
Every time I stumble across a book like Kathleen O'Dell's The Aviary, I'm amazed that more readers - of all ages - don't read middle grade. The Aviary is very Gothic in setting and tone and simultaneously bursting with colorful characters, a unique combination. There are secrets and magic, plus a good dose of realism and a lesson or two as well. It actually reminded me a bit of Ransom Riggs' Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.

The main character, Clara, is a delightful character: headstr
Aug 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2012
The Aviary is a charming middle grade story that takes a bit of magic, a bit of friendship and a bit of luck to tell a heartwarming story of siblings, justice and release. It is a historical novel and the first thing that will hit you when you begin the novel, or at least, the first thing that I noticed was how protective the mother seems of her daughter, the main character of the novel. Her protectiveness makes some sense when we find out that the daughter has a weak heart but still, not allowi ...more
Jul 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a clever little gothic tale aimed at middle-grade readers, but it held my interest as an adult. There's a rundown old mansion, a girl hidden away from society, ghosts, secrets and a mystery centered around the kidnapping/drowning of a family of children a half-century before and an aviary which houses a flock of strange birds. It's up to two smart & resourceful little girls to solve the mystery & fulfill a promise.

(My only complaint: it's never explained WHY Clara's mother keeps
John Herbert
Jul 17, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: quirky
Despite this book being more for young adults, around 10-16 year olds, I quite liked the idea behind the story, and as I was just out of that age range at 69 years old, I thought why not?

As it says on the tin there's talking birds, ghostly happenings, and family secrets and kidnapping.
Yes, I quite enjoyed it, though at times the style did seem junior/high, but nonetheless a lovely story for the young 'uns.
Een typische zondagmiddagfilm, maar dan in boekformaat. Het was allemaal nogal voorspelbaar, maar het had een aantal boeiende elementen.
Feb 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
So I'm done with this book.

I wanna read this book since long time ago I can't even recall it why. Perhaps the cover was so alluring for me. That creepy font, mysterious silhouttes, and promising blurb, yes?

I love the gothic scent of this story, but honestly being confused with the time setting. Was it really set in 19th century? I thought the outside world of Glendoveer mansion was more sophisticated with the cars and trolley and no hints of horses, so it should be motorcar. I don't know, maybe
Mar 29, 2018 rated it liked it
A charming middle grade read. A little fanciful, a little mysterious, with a page-turning ending. 100% clean.
Elizabeth Mathis
May 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Twelve-year-old Clara Dooley has spent her whole life in the Glendoveer mansion, where her mother is a servant to the kind and elderly matron of the house. Clara has never known another home. In fact, she's confined to the grand estate due to a mysterious heart condition. But it's a comfortable life, and if it weren't for the creepy squawking birds in the aviary out back, a completely peaceful one too.

But once old Mrs. Glendoveer passes away, Clara comes to learn many dark secrets about the fam
Jul 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Original review published on The Book Smugglers

Oh my, The Aviary is lovely.

It’s the beginning of the 20th century and 12-year-old Clara Dooley lives in the decaying Glendoveer mansion where her mother is the housekeeper. Clara has a serious heart condition that prevents her from ever going outside, attending to school or having friends – she is simply not allowed to exert herself. She has always felt comfortable with her life and for the most part Clara is an obedient, happy young girl who loves
Apr 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-young-adult
I read this book because Amazon recommended it for people who liked The Night Circus. I lOVED The Night Circus, I wanted to read something in a similar vein, and the description sounded interesting.

It wasn't similar. I suppose this wasn't suggested as a similar book because a magician is involved in the story...but really, the similarities end there.

For one, this is a young adult book and The Night Circus is not. I often read YA books (and enjoy them greatly) but I just wasn't prepped for this
Jan 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
ღ Carol jinx~☆~☔

The Aviary

by Kathleen O'Dell

4.00 · rating details · 67 ratings · 29 reviews

Twelve-year-old Clara Dooley has spent her whole life in the Glendoveer mansion, where her mother is a servant to the kind and elderly matron of the house. Clara has never known another home. In fact, she's confined to the grand estate due to a mysterious heart condition. But it's a comfortable life, and if it weren't for the creepy squawking birds in the aviary out back, a completely peaceful one too.

But once old Mrs
K.S. Daniels
May 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a cool, fun middle-grade read. I picked up the book for my daughter, but after she showed no interest (she reads in phases. Right now if it's not a book with cats she won't read it haha) I decided I'd dive into it. About 3/4 through, the plot is pretty predicable for an adult, but it's well-written enough for that not to be an issue. The premise is interesting and I've always found aviaries to be fascinating, as well as the people who keep them. The mystery elements are fun and the main ...more
Feb 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Excellent! I devoured this book in two days. I could scarcely put it down! A wonderful mystery - one of the best I've read in a while. Who doesn't love a mystery with a falling apart mansion, a girl trapped inside, birds that talk, and dark secrets from the past? I almost didn't check this book out, wondering if it would be too spooky for me, but it wasn't at all. An excellent book that is heart-pounding and heart-wrenching at the same time with a glorious ending as is the way of all good myster ...more
Cara Hinton
May 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
I was looking for a mystery to read....and didn't realize I was somehow in the Young Adult section! Similar to the loved childhood stories like "The Secret Garden", this has mystery, a surprise, interesting characters and two brave young girls! It's a wonderful story for very young adults, like 5-8th grade. Nice to see there are so many new good books out there for children. If you have a child and they love a mystery, I highly recommend it. Also, no foul language, very little violence, set in t ...more
Dec 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book has to be one of my favorites. It has a perfect mix of magic and darkness, while still maintaining a light POV, making it a relatively easy read. The storyline was exciting and gripping, though at points somewhat predictable(I didn't mind). What was best about this book were the characters. I fell in love with each and every one of them and I felt so many emotions about them; ranging from pride all the way to grief. Absolutely loved this story.
Nov 07, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: bks-grade-4-5
I had trouble getting past the "grown-up" tone of the girls' dialog. I just can't imagine that even in 1905 twelve-year-old girls used words like "embellished" in a conversation. And the confrontation at the end of the novel between the girls and the villians required a lot of supension of belief.
Jun 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Blew. Me. Away. Best book I've read all year (which isn't saying much), and probably last year, too (which is). Slightly trippy/tidy ending, but the rest of it, well, I was hooked from approximately the first paragraph, all the way to the end. I will be shoving this in everyone's hands I can...starting with Marissa's!
Nov 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
An enchanting darling book! I hope more would come to read and love this. (Updated)

The Aviary has so many exquisitely written layers, even though I'm only halfway through, I could reread it from the beginning all over again and discover something new from its mysteries..
Such a beautiful, well written book, and so underrated.
Aug 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
Solid middle grade, had a cool Victorian feel, with formal and polite dialogue and an interesting plot. I would've loved this as a 10 year old, but once you get the "twist" (I got it 90 pages in) the rest seems a bit pandering. But still a solid read!
Oct 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
I think this will appeal to fans of a Drowned Maiden Hair.
Kim Ridlehoover
Jun 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
The child in me loves a mystery novel with an adolescent as the hero/heroine. This was a great, easy read.
Dec 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Must read! Massive liked how it reminded her of Secret Garden. Highly recommend.
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