What makes a home? How do we know when we have found our place in the world? December is sure that she will grow wings and fly to her destined place, or at least that is what she tried to believe. One of the few things she has to remember her mother by is a book about birds, which she has committed to memory. With her determination to develop wings and fly away, December has alienated every foster family she has been placed with by jumping from trees, spouting bird facts nonstop, and trying to adjust her diet to seeds and other bird-approved foods.
When she is placed with Eleanor, it seems like an obvious match. Eleanor works at a wildlife center and helps to rehabilitate injured birds. Doesn't December fit into that category? But despite their common interest, theirs is not an easy relationship. December is not quick to trust Eleanor or the students at her new school, even though one of them also reaches out to her. Can a girl who is always poised to fly away finally come to roost?
This story reminds me of The Great Gilly Hopkins in the portrayal of children who are determined to control their destinies without any help from the adults who want to assist them. Extraordinary Birds also touches on bullying, friendship, and family.
Highly recommended for middle grade readers who enjoy character driven stories. Just be prepared and have a few tissues on hand. And if you know any readers of that age that love birds - they will be sure to appreciate December's vast knowledge of avian facts.
I read a review copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley.
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