Summer and Bird

summerandbirdBy Katherine Catmull [LibraryThingGoodreads]

When Summer and Bird’s parents disappear in the middle of the night, the girls go looking for them, and find themselves in the strange world of Down, trapped in perpetual winter since the queen of the birds disappeared. While Bird finds herself tangled in the lies of the bird-eating, power-grasping Puppeteer, Summer tries to find her lost sister, their mother, and the secret route to the birds’ great migration. But there are secrets hidden in Down and in the sisters’ past that may break the bond between them forever.

Summer and Bird is an exquisite book. It’s not the kind of book I usually like – I’m a plot-driven reader who likes action and humor, and Summer and Bird is meandering, quiet, and sad, the story and even character second to the absolutely lovely prose. So the fact that I couldn’t put it down when it’s so unlike my usual tastes says quite a lot.

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure how to talk about it, since it’s so not about the story that it’s hard to coherently say “and then this happens and this is how I felt about it.” It’s like reading a poem. The worldbuilding is wonderful, mingling Norse mythology, Western European folklore, and original concepts in a way that feels both timeless and original. The villain is terrifying and loathsome, but still somehow relatable. The main characters will break your heart – I was totally captivated by them, even if I wasn’t quite sure I liked most of them. It made me cry twice on the subway. And hey! All of the main characters are women! That’s pretty cool.

I apologize for not having anything more helpful to say than “Summer and Bird is great, you should read it,” but…Summer and Bird is great. You should read it. Four and a half cupcakes.

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