May 4, 2014

Title: Bird After Bird
Author: Leslea Tash
Publisher: self-published
Published: April 6, 2014
Genre: Mature YA/NA contemporary

Synopsis: Dear Birdy, Princess Birdzilla von MuffinStuff, Keeper of Dreams, Lover of our Fine Feathered Friends, queen of my life and light of my world, I hope this letter finds you well. If you are reading this then I am gone, and sweetheart, I am so sorry.

Chi-town professional Wren Riley is 25 and a rising star in the business world. She can eat a man alive and laugh about it to her girlfriends in seconds flat–and she does, on the regular. Behind the power suits and the flashing, flirty eyes, however, Wren has a secret, vulnerable side. Following a devastating loss and the discovery of a bird journal she and her father made together years before, Wren sets out to seek peace, closure, and something she just can’t name. Is that something tied to the little paper cranes she keeps finding along the way?

Laurence Byrd grew up a lanky Hoosier kid with the good/bad fortune of having the same name as the state’s perennial basketball legend. With a better affinity for dogs than sports or school, he ends up in the Army instead of the Chicago art school of his dreams. Still, his service to our country is something he can be proud of–until an argument with the girl who means the world to him results in a series of events that blows his life apart. With no one left to understand him, black sheep Laurie pours out his heart into letters and drawings he never intends to send–then he folds them into paper cranes that he leaves behind like messages in little winged bottles. He never dreams someone might be finding them.

God damn it, Sylvia, for a few moments I tricked myself into feeling really alive. I cut it off before anyone got hurt, but just for a moment or two, I really thought I might feel something again–something like trust. Something like love. Not the kind of love we had, but something new. Something like hope.

Spoiler alert: Wren and Laurie are going to meet. And when they do, their lives are never going to be the same.

**I received an advanced copy of this from the author,
but that did not influence the review**

2.5-3 stars This is a mixed review. Parts of it were sweet, tender, and loving (Laurie), and other parts of the story were harder to connect with (especially the bird theme and Wren).

Bird After Bird was a story told by a bird loving girl. I knew that going in, but I didn’t know the novel was saturated with all things bird. Sooooo, if aren’t fascinated by them be prepared to read more than you ever wanted to know. I’m one of those people and I’m pretty sure I skimmed most of those sections. As much as I wanted to be sucked in, I just didn’t find that I wanted to know what bird vs. what bird did what. It bored me. But what was harder than Bird Class 101 was that it felt like a paranormal story instead of contemporary. In my entire life of 41 years I’ve never met a bird lover and all of a sudden there was a whole town dedicated to it. Named Birdseye. And all the bird names. It was just a wee bit too much for me. I tried to accept it for the sake of the story, but honestly, I guess I never did.

The shining spot in the story is the leading male. I found myself in love with Laurie. He was the swooniest. He was true, wore his heart on his sleeve, and a total catch. He loved with his whole being and I really could connect with him almost all of the time. What a good guy, and he definitely pulled on my heart strings.

On the other hand I found that I just didn’t care for Wren. While she had a tough go of it because she lost both parents, she was ultimately kind of shallow to me and chose career over love. Me personally,  I would choose love every time, so right there it’s harder for me to connect because we wouldn’t have the same goals in life. Plus, she was kind of mean to Laurie when she left him.

The ending was a HEA, but you have to get through a lot to get there and it was pretty predictable…from when Wren was faced with job choices to the fate of the band…is that a good thing or a bad thing? Would I rec this? Depends on what you are looking for in a read.  So, if you light birds and stories that are light and fluffy YES, but I love stories that dig a little deeper, push a little harder, cut a little more…and this wasn’t it. Plus, the bird theme was too much for me. However, it was pretty different so you might want to give it a shot if this theme appeals to you.

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