Showing posts with label Sugar Birds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sugar Birds. Show all posts

Monday, July 4, 2022

Reviewing Sugar Birds: A Novel by Cheryl Grey Bostrom

One way to describe Sugar Birds is to call it a coming of age story. Which it is. But it is also a look at parenting, families, relationships, survival, and faith. Each of these characters were unique. However, their common bond (for the most part) was having gone through some hard times then deciding how they would treat others. All of this while they are on a search and rescue mission to locate poor little Aggie. I was completely absorbed in this book from the beginning.




The story is told by Aggie and Celia in alternating chapters. 

Aggie

Agate Esther (Aggie) is a just-turned 10 year old girl who lives with her parents and her brother. She is consumed with bird-watching. She is familiar with the forest around her and just cannot follow her mother's directions to stop climbing the trees to observe the birds. Aggie documents the birds in her notebook and is encouraged by her father to do so. However, she defies her mother's directions to stay out of the trees. After they have conflict about the issue again, Aggie decides to try to get back into mom's good favor by making kindling as a gift. Unfortunately, she inadvertently causes a house fire.

"Her chest clenched, wringing her insides hard, like a dishcloth. Dad. Mama. She killed them with those sticks. With her fire. She beat her legs with clenched first, bit her cheeks, tasted blood." - Sugar Birds

Believing she has killed her parents and will be arrested, she panics and flees to the forest to hide. She has plenty of survival skills but will she survive the predators? 

Celia

"We're on track for the cabin by eight tonight, Daddy" I flipped down the visor mirror and twisted the stud in my infected earlobe, my teeth set against its sting." - Sugar Birds

Celia is a 16 year old young lady, who thinks she's going to the family lake cabin in Washington state with her dad. Her mother, not the most warm and attentive on any day, has left them. Celia is trying to move on from that betrayal when her father discloses that he's not taking them to the cabin. He's taking her to her grandmother's home while he goes on a remote work assignment for several months. Celia is furious that her father is also leaving her and she immediately starts to formulate a plan to runaway. She believes that she'll find a way to return to Texas on her own and will stay with her friend Meredith. The very same friend that her dad doesn't approve of. 

I hope that I'm not making Celia sound like a run-of-the-mill ungrateful adolescent character. She is not. Celia is a high school math nerd, cross country runner, compassionate young lady who helps her grandmother rescue and rehabilitate birds. However, with Meredith's tutoring, she has just begun to catch the attention of boys.

"Dancing flames didn't cause those astonished stares when I walked through that crowd in Meredith's hand-tooled cowboy boots with Luke hanging on me. I swear Meredith sensed that I was about to ditch him and run to the ladies room to scrub my face and calm my hair down a little. She trotted up beside us, looped her arm in mine and whispered that I was a Harrison County version of Sandy in Grease." - Sugar Birds
After her father drops angry/hurt Celia off with her grandmother, she quickly catches the attention of Cabot. 

Mender

Marta Burke a.k.a Mender a.k.a Gram is an aclaimed biologist who has retired but who is active rehabilitating birds. She gardens. She prays. And she cares deeply for others. Mender has taught Celia the skills needed to handle and rehabilitate birds; raptors being Celia's favorite. Will Mender be able to keep Celia from being the prey?

Burnaby

Burnaby. Aggie's older brother and Loomis' employee. Burnaby has difficulty with interactions, eye contact, and affection. But his is a good employee, following rules and routines. He too loves the natural world and is very specifically drawn to bird and animal bones. 

I absolutely loved Burnaby's character. 

"Mama says I give speeches when I should be conversing. Misplaced monologues are selfish, she says. Talking should be reciprocal. Unselfish. Like tossing an apple back and forth so each hearer can catch it. She says I should listen without having a speech ready. Consider. Respond. Listen again."  - Sugar Birds

Harris & Bree

Harris is Aggie and Burnaby's father. He moved them to the area, after he left the Alaska Forest Service, in order to be close to family. He nurtured the children's love of the outdoors and knowledge base; such as foraging for edible plants and water that is safe to drink. Bree also loved the outdoors. And once-upon-a-time, she collected Agates from a cliff. And this is how they chose Aggie's name. Bree struggled with mental illness and Aggie resented the change.

Loomis & Nora

This couple is Aggie's Aunt and Uncle and Mender's neighbors. They own a dairy farm. They employ Burnaby and Cabot.

Cabot

Twenty-year-old Cabot likes Celia. As have the others, twenty-year-old Cabot has been through some rough times and he has chosen to hang on to his anger and lash out at others. He is the villain, and his behaviors are a perfect example of a budding abusive relationship. 

I LOVED Sugar Birds: A Novel by Cheryl Grey Bostrom


I am rarely able to read a book in a matter of 2-3 days. Not only did I read this in 2 days, I stayed up last night after 2:00 am trying to get to the end. I wanted to learn who survived and whether or not some of them didn't. Granted, I'm on vacation so it was an easier decision to stay up many hours past my bedtime. But I'm not so sure I would have put the book down even if I had to work the next morning. Not only were the characters interesting, but the descriptions of the setting painted the picture perfectly.

I do not feel that I've been able to review this book as it deserves. I hope you will take a peek at it on Amazon for not only the long list of awards this book has received, but the reviews from the other readers. 

If you read Where the Crawdads Sing and loved it, you'll enjoy this story. 




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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