by Kathleen O’Dell
Twelve-year-old Clara Dooley has spent her whole life in the crumbling Glendoveer mansion, home to a magician’s widow, a cage full of exotic birds, and a decades-old mystery. Clara loves old Mrs. Glendoveer, but the birds in the aviary frighten her—they always seem to screech and squall whenever she’s near. And then one day, the mynah bird speaks, and a mystery starts to unravel.
Clara discovers dark secrets about the family, and about her own past. Somehow the birds in the aviary seem to be at the center of it all, and Clara can’t shake the feeling that they are trying to tell her something. . . (goodreads.com)
Read: November 2012
The OCD part of me is freaking out over writing these blog posts way out of order, but I am trying to fight that part of my brain and just get these stupid reviews out there. Not that this review is stupid! I wanted The Aviary to have its own post because I enjoyed it ever so much and I feel like it needs its moment to shine. I also enjoyed it so much I left it at Monkey’s house when I went to visit the first weekend in November. I had just read this book cover to cover on the train ride there and I told her she had to read it.
I had first seen this book mentioned on April’s blog (Good Books and Good Wine). Something about the review caught my eye and I knew from then on, I needed to obtain this middle grade book. It sat on my wishlist forever until I finally bought it.
This is seriously one of the best MG books I have ever read. Clara is charming and the mystery of the talking birds is riveting. The entire story sucked me in on that train ride and I felt like I was actually there, in the big, empty house, right along Clara and her new and only friend Daphne. I wanted to know more about the birds, more about the locked rooms, more about Clara’s mysterious heart-condition. And although I had guessed some of the ending of the story, other parts were a pleasant surprise to me.
My only trouble with this novel were the letters that were read throughout the book. I found the cursive script used to depict these letters very difficult to read and I had to hold the book up reeeeeally close to my face to try and decipher the text. I felt old. Only, I don’t think I’d have been able to read it as a child, either. In fact, that part of the text might have turned me off of the book when I was a kid. If it’s hard to read, it’s not worth reading.
If you’re looking for a charming, historical, magcal mystery then look no further than The Aviary because it has everything you could want and more – including some surprises even when you think you’ve figured everything out. This book is a delight and I wish it had been written when I was 10 years old. 😉