Twelve-year-old River worries that her missing parents might not know where to find her when she and her grandmother move away from their home, but it has been 10 years, and her grandmother is determined to move forward, leaving old memories and pain behind.
Their new life quickly proves her grandmother’s sentiment that new things are not necessarily better or worse, just different. River meets Billy, a good-hearted son of a local preacher, who teaches her about love, forgiveness, and kindness all while introducing her to the surprising world of birds. River’s grandmother is equally inspired by their relocation, giving up smoking, starting physical therapy, and agreeing to attend church. Everything seems idyllic in Birdsong, West Virginia. But when tragedy strikes, River and her grandmother witness firsthand what true love and forgiveness look like. River’s calm strength and openness in the face of her difficult life make her a genuine heroine. And her kooky grandmother’s colloquialisms, energy, and obvious love add a dose of humor. While there are occasional moments of overearnestness, the overall effect is successful, a genuine portrayal of a young girl following a life of faith in a world marred with tragedy.
An honest look at faith and love. (Fiction. 8-12)