cover image Nightbird


Alice Hoffman. Random/Lamb, $16.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-385-38958-7

Once again, Hoffman (Green Angel) works her magic to transport readers to a realm where enchantment intermingles with everyday realities. Sidwell, Mass., is famous for its apples, “so sweet people come from as far as New York City during the apple festival,” and the mysterious winged monster rumored to reside there. Twelve-year-old Twig Fowler leads an isolated existence in an ancient farmhouse with her mother, a skillful baker. The two of them rarely venture into town because no one must discover their family secret: that Twig’s older brother (whose very existence they’ve kept secret) has been afflicted with a 200-year-old curse. Twig remains friendless until she meets new neighbor Julia Hall and her older sister, who might be able to help reverse the spell plaguing the Fowler family. The book’s evocative setting and distinctive characters will immediately hook readers, and the history of Twig’s family, uncovered bit by bit, will keep them engaged. The risks Twig takes in reaching out to the Hall sisters bring gratifying rewards and unexpected connections to others in the community. Ages 10–up. Agent: Tina Wexler, ICM. (Mar.)