Bird by Crystal Chan - review

Bird is about a girl called Jewell who had a brother called John who died on the day she was born. His grandpa kept calling him Bird until he actually thought he could fly and jumped off a life and died. Grandpa stopped speaking the day John died.

Jewel is ignored by her parents, by anyone really until she meets John, a strange boy who shares her brother's name and might even look a bit like him if he'd grown to be John's age and that starts everything unraveling.

Not all of us read books like this usually, more going for adventure and horror but we were mainly gripped by Bird and in the end found it was full of adventure and mystery. To quote one of our group "It was sick".

Some of us found the book boring at first but actually it became more interesting and we got to understand it more, so that's why we liked it.

We would describe the book as strange and mysterious. It's not exactly scary but the characters do talk about ghosts (called dupes) a lot. We aren't going to give the ending away but the main boy character (also called John at first, like Jewel's brother) is thought to actually be a duppie by Jewels' Grandfather. Some of us are interested in ghosts so we really liked the duppie angle and and the grandad's strange superstitious behaviour. One of us is not in to reading any book that has everyone alive in it, so particularly like this book because someone who is dead is so much a part of it.

Some of us found Bird to be a hypnotising read and wanted to read it over again and again. Even though we don't really go for emotional books normally, this could be the start of us reading serious books now we are 10 and 11 years old.

The main character in the book Jewel is half Jamaican, a quarter Mexican and a quarter white. We also found awesome, we related to the characters especially because we are a very multicultural group and our world in London is very multicultural. We like to read books with characters in them that look like us, not always white.

Most of us in the group give it 9/10s. Most of us adored everything about this book, from the amazing writing, to the setting, to the characters. Only one of didn't like it because they found it just too serious. Others of us liked it because it was serious and we got to learn stuff. Some of us have experienced death of family members as Jewell did and it was a chance to think and this and learn stuff. We got to think more about race issues as well which some of us enjoyed. We are definitely the youngest children who can read this book, definitely not for anyone under 10.

We really liked the ending (spoiler alert) because we love a happy ever after. One of us actually hates a cliffhanger like Private Peaceful. We don't like being left hanging there.! You can follow our book group on twitter @jdbookgroup if you like.

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