Summer and Bird by Katherine Catmull
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
As I read this, I wasn't sure what to think: in part, this is magical realism for young adults, in part it's some sort of fable, and in part it's something I couldn't quite put my finger on.
Summer and Bird are the daughters of a couple who live in a little stone cottage near a forest. One night, the parents disappear and the girls go off in search of them. The search takes them into the forest where they get separated... alone, Summer meets Ben, who keeps her warm, tells her stories, and gives her three gifts; Bird follows the birds, whose language she understands, to the place called Down. By the end, Summer and Bird have learned who they are as they learn who their parents are.
The setting of the forest, Down and the swan palace are all at odds with the initial comment that there was a cell phone in the house - this feels as though it should have been set in some past rather than the present (although, to be fair, the parts at home, in the modern day, aren't really a part of the main narrative. perhaps that's why I felt it so jarring?). While I enjoyed the book, a part of me wondered how much the target audience would, or if this was going to be one of those books that adults love and young adults ignore.
ARC provided by publisher.