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Wild Bird Hardcover – September 5, 2017
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Praise for Wild Bird:
"Van Draanen’s Wren is real and relatable, and readers will root for her." — VOYA, starred review
"Riveting... Van Draanen makes palpable both the outer desert landscape and Wren's intense inner emotions. A memorable book about family, friendship, forgiveness, and second chances." -- Kirkus Reviews
"Spellbinding" -- Midwest Book Review
"A strikingly raw and emotional story. The first-person narrative perfectly captures Wren’s cynical yet vulnerable teen voice." -- SLJ
"I read Wild Bird in one long mesmerized gulp. Wren will break your heart—and then mend it." —Nancy Werlin, National Book Award finalist for The Rules of Survival
"Engrossing and inspiring." -- PW
“This was an absolute one-sit read and I recommend it highly.” —Rene Kirkpatrick, University Bookstore, Seattle
“Wow! This book is a gem. I could feel the heat, the cold, the fear and frustration at every turn of the page.” —Valerie Lewis, Hicklebee's Bookstore
“An exhilarating story of survival and second chances.” —Dana Reinhardt, author of Tell Us Something True
“Wild Bird grabbed me by the wrist on page one—it’s riveting.” —Jenny Hubbard, author of And We Stay, a Printz Honor Book
"An involving tale of a middle-schooler who took a very wrong turn but manages to straighten her own path." -- Bulletin
About the Author
Wendelin Van Draanen is the author of many beloved and award-winning books. For middle graders, she’s written The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones, Swear to Howdy, and the Sammy Keyes mystery series. For teens and tweens, there’s Flipped, The Running Dream, Confessions of a Serial Kisser, and Runaway. And for younger readers, check out the Shredderman quartet and the Gecko and Sticky series. Wendelin Van Draanen lives in central California with her husband and two sons. Find her on the Web at WendelinVanDraanen.com or on Twitter: @WendelinVanD.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
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I recently received an ARC for Wild Bird, and I spent three hours crying, laughing, cheering, tensing up, shouting, and saying "WOW" over and over again as I read this incredibly honest, powerful, and compelling story of one teenager's journey from destruction, loneliness, and bitterness to acceptance, strength, and courage.
Wendelin Van Draanen takes her readers on an unforgettable ride through the Utah desert as Wren experiences eight weeks of survival camping in a "Desert Prison" and learns to start a fire in the wilderness and inside herself. As the story unfolds, Wren's anger, destructie behavior, and desperate cry for friendship, love, and understanding are revealed with poignant, insightful storytelling and masterful word imagery.
The path to redemption for Wren is a long and arduous adventure that every teenager and adult should experience with her as she leaves the comforts and turmoil of home behind...to venture into the unknown and come face-to-face with physical challenges and with the reality of the person she has become.
The research and attention to detail that went into describing Wren's downward spiral and her trek into the expansive Utah terrain make this an exceptional read and destined to be an award winner.
Van Draanen creates an intense, gritty, thought-provoking story that lends itself to in-depth discussion. It does not cross the line with inappropriate language, violence, or gratuitous scenes. It is a novel that will leave you breathless and satisfied atthe same time. I found myself underlining passages and re-reading paragraphs to get the full impact of the messages in them.
Wild Bird is a YA contemporary fiction masterpiece and a must read that will appeal to both teen and adult audiences. There is no doubt that it is destined to be a "Best Fiction for Young Adults" selection for 2018.
Wren begins the story angry, dangerously smart, manipulative, and a sharp observer of her world, who sometimes turns observations backward to fit expectations. She is angry enough to make the pages seem like fire-starter. Seeing the world from her perspective is painful, illuminating, and impossible to put down.
She is in a personal wilderness, and soon lands in the real physical wilderness of Utah, at wilderness therapy camp. Knowing what brought her there once felt important. I loved Wren as the story closed, but wanted Wren-agade out of my head. So I’ve thought about this book for months, considering my reaction to two versions of one person.
Judging creates that difference. During her stay in the desert, a few key characters quietly accept Wren without judgement, care without conditions, and listen. They wait. Watching the result over time? Life changing for this reader.
Wren’s first step onto a long, slippery slope is being lonely, and choosing unwisely when choices are few. After that step, gravity rules, and she lands a long way from anywhere planned. That first missed step could be anyone’s. So a list of how Wren went astray is unhelpful, and invites judgement better avoided.
The multiple journeys Wren makes are interwoven—her route into personal wilderness, learning the Utah desert, coming to terms with herself, discovering her own way out—all are here, and detail makes each quite real.
This book impels one to speed. But it is also deep and intricate, revealing people in all of their subtle complexity. The story is told in small parts, with chapters of often just three concise pages. The result is remarkably beautiful.
Wild Bird has slowly trickled deep into my heart. Like water in the desert, and powerful words for personal deserts, what this book offers is vital, and worth the effort to make your own. Learn Chapter 59 by heart. It will help you avoid landing in places you never intended to go, and help you navigate.