Thursday, 12 March 2015

Review: Nightbird by Alice Hoffman


Author: Alice Hoffman
Publisher/Source: Simon & Schuster Australia
Pages: 206
Release date: 5th March 2015

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Twig lives in a remote area of town with her mysterious brother and her mother, baker of irresistible apple pies. A new girl in town might just be Twig's first true friend, and ally in vanquishing an ancient family curse. A spellbinding tale of modern folklore set in the Berkshires, where rumours of a winged beast draw in as much tourism as the town's famed apple orchards.

Review: 3 out of 5 stars

Nightbird by Alice Hoffman was kindly provided to me by Simon and Schuster Australia and is perfect for those interested in Middle Grade novels.

Nightbird is set in Sidwell, apple-country in New England and follows the story of Teresa or Twig as she more commonly known, she is a part of a family with a very big secret so she doesn’t allow anyone to get close but things quickly change when a wonderful family move in next door.

I liked Twig as a character, she had a great imagination, was likeable and you could get a real feel for her loneliness which really tugs at your heart strings, I enjoyed the friendship she came to have with her neighbour Julia.

Nightbird is a well written, magical fantasy with interesting, likeable characters – filled with many surprises, curses, witches and a small town setting it was a delightful little fairy tale that also showcased a lovely friendship. I am not much of a MG reader but certain parts I would get my 10 year-old to read out loud and he quite enjoyed it so he has actually started to read it himself.

Despite enjoying this book, there was a lot of telling rather than showing and a few plot holes but overall it was a quick and entertaining read. This book is written for the younger audience who enjoy fairy tales about magic, fantasy and things that stretch beyond the imagination.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Australia for the opportunity to read and review Nightbird by Alice Hoffman.


Alice HoffmanAbout the author: Alice Hoffman was born in New York City on March 16, 1952 and grew up on Long Island. After graduating from high school in 1969, she attended Adelphi University, from which she received a BA, and then received a Mirrellees Fellowship to the Stanford University Creative Writing Center, which she attended in 1973 and 74, receiving an MA in creative writing. She currently lives in Boston and New York. 

Hoffman’s first novel, PROPERTY OF, was written at the age of twenty-one, while she was studying at Stanford, and published shortly thereafter by Farrar Straus and Giroux. She credits her mentor, professor and writer Albert J. Guerard, and his wife, the writer Maclin Bocock Guerard, for helping her to publish her first short story in the magazine Fiction. Editor Ted Solotaroff then contacted her to ask if she had a novel, at which point she quickly began to write what was to become PROPERTY OF, a section of which was published in Mr. Solotaroff’s magazine, American Review. 

Since that remarkable beginning, Alice Hoffman has become one of our most distinguished novelists. She has published a total of sixteen novels, two books of short fiction, and eight books for children and young adults. Her novel, HERE ON EARTH, an Oprah Book Club choice, was a modern reworking of some of the themes of Emily Bronte’s masterpiece Wuthering Heights. PRACTICAL MAGIC was made into a Warner film starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. Her novel, AT RISK, which concerns a family dealing with AIDS, can be found on the reading lists of many universities, colleges and secondary schools. Hoffman’s advance from LOCAL GIRLS, a collection of inter-related fictions about love and loss on Long Island, was donated to help create the Hoffman Breast Center at Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, MA. BLACKBIRD HOUSE is a book of stories centering around an old farm on Cape Cod. Hoffman's recent books include AQUARMARINE and INDIGO, novels for pre-teens, and The New York Times bestsellers THE RIVER KING, BLUE DIARY, THE PROBABLE FUTURE, and THE ICE QUEEN. GREEN ANGEL, a post-apocalyptic fairy tale about loss and love, was published by Scholastic and THE FORETELLING, a book about an Amazon girl in the Bronze Age, was published by Little Brown. This fall Little Brown published the teen novel INCANTATION, a story about hidden Jews during the Spanish Inquisition, which Publishers Weekly has chosen as one of the best books of the year. In January 2007, SKYLIGHT CONFESSIONS, a novel about one family’s secret history, was released on the 30th anniversary of the publication of Hoffman’s first novel.

Hoffman’s work has been published in more than twenty translations and more than one hundred foreign editions. Her novels have received mention as notable books of the year by The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, Library Journal, and People Magazine. She has also worked as a screenwriter and is the author of the original screenplay “Independence Day,” a film starring Kathleen Quinlan and Diane Weist. Her short fiction and non-fiction have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe Magazine, Kenyon Review, Redbook, Architectural Digest, Gourmet, Self, and other magazines. Her teen novel AQUAMARINE was recently made into a film starring Emma Roberts.


  1. i did not know this author until your review but i think i will try to see what i can find by her at the library because i think i would enjoy her story telling
    thank you for your honest review

  2. The cover is really pretty! I love it! The characters sound delightful as well. I'm glad you enjoyed this, Sharon.
    Great review!


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