cover image Strange Birds

Strange Birds

Celia C. Peréz. Kokila, $16.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-4252-9043-9

Four unique personalities form a crew with a mission in this engaging, well-plotted second novel from Peréz (The First Rule of Punk). New in Sabal Palms, Fla., and living with her grandmother during her parents’ divorce, Lane DiSanti, who is white, randomly places anonymous invitations to her grandmother’s opulent home, leading the recipients to form a secret scout troop, “the Ostentation of Others and Outsiders,” the summer before seventh grade. Each has a personal motivation for joining the eclectic group: Ofelia Castillo, the daughter of protective Cuban immigrants, is a budding investigative journalist intent on uncovering the affluent DiSanti family’s secrets; Cat Garcia, a passionate birder, wants to expose the tragic history behind a local troop’s celebrated artifact but feels pressure from her Cuban-American family to fall in line; and culinary whiz Aster Douglas believes her Bahamian ancestors might have been swindled out of the DiSanti fortune. As the girls rally behind Cat’s cause, important, nuanced discussions about privilege, institutional racism, and rectifying historical wrongs arise, prompting each to a deeper understanding of intersectionality and activism. Ages 9–12. [em]Agent: Stefanie Sanchez Von Borstel, Full Circle Literary. (Sept.) [/em]