6 hours 30 minutes | Contemporary | LBFYR | Release Date: 8/20/2019
16-year-old Dove “Birdie” Randolph obediently follows every expectation her strict mother sets out for her. But the summer before her junior year her estranged Aunt–recovering from addiction–moves in with the family and Birdie starts to challenge everything she’s ever been told.
This book delivered a lot of what I expect from Colbert; quiet, deeply character-driven, slice-of-life YAs that can serve as an introduction to sensitive topics to teens. I liked the journey Dove went on as she learns about addiction and recovery from her aunt and starts dating a new boy.
Dove’s mother owns a hair salon and I’m not sure I’ve seen a lot about Black hair in YA and it was kind of refreshing but I struggled a lot with Dove’s mom as a character. She came off as judgemental and harsh and I’m not sure the book redeems her well enough.
A large part of this book revolves around a secret. As an adult who has consumed a lot of media, I literally clocked the secret from page one and genre-savvy teen readers will too. I wish Colbert had revealed it sooner because it happens so late in the book that by the time Dove learns it, there isn’t much room for it to really land. There is a secondary revelation that I didn’t see coming through.
This looks to be the first and only book narrated by Andrea Lang. I thought she did a great job giving voice to all the characters. She must also be a fast reader too because this book is over 300 pages but the audiobook is only 6 hours long.
Colbert delivers another story about coming-of-age when you have complicated family dynamics.
I’m a lifelong reader who started blogging about YA books in 2011 but now I read in just about every genre! I love YA coming of age stories, compelling memoirs and genre bending SFF. You can find me talking all things romance at Romance and Sensibility.