After the 9/11 attacks, a New York City high schooler takes in a traumatized teen girl suffering from temporary amnesia.
On Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, white, 16-year-old Kyle Donohue flees from Stuyvesant High School in downtown Manhattan toward his home in Brooklyn Heights. While running across the Brooklyn Bridge, he spots a white girl covered in ash and wearing elaborate costume wings, so he makes a split-second decision to keep her safe. Kyle takes the scared "bird girl" to his apartment, where his uncle, who uses a wheelchair and is recovering from a spinal-cord injury, is the only person waiting. Kyle's dad is an NYPD officer who's working around the clock at ground zero, while his mother and younger sister are stuck at LAX, unable to return to New York. The bird girl can't remember much of anything, but as the days unfold, she begins to recover flashes of her memory and to become attached to sweet Kyle, who's clearly smitten. But they both know she'll eventually need to leave the bubble of security they've created. The author tells their story in alternating points of view, his in prose and hers in spare, erratically spaced verse that effectively communicates her disorientation. A love letter to the New Yorkers who rallied together, this is also an exploration of the intense bonds that form during a crisis. Detailed and well-researched, it's sure to make young readers curious about those unforgettable days after the twin towers fell.
A fictional but realistic tale of how two New York City teens survived the unthinkable together. (Fiction. 12-17)