Description from the Publisher on Goodreads
Northwest Washington State, 1985
For years, Harris Hayes has taught his daughter, Aggie, the ways of the northern woods. So when her mother’s depression worsens, Harris shows the girl how to find and sketch the nests of wild birds as an antidote to sadness. Aggie is in a tree far overhead when her unpredictable mother spots her and forbids her to climb. Angry, the ten-year-old accidentally lights a tragic fire, then flees downriver. She lands her boat near untamed forest, where she hides among the trees and creatures she considers her only friends—determined to remain undiscovered.
A search party gathers by Aggie’s empty boat hours after Celia, fresh off the plane from Houston, arrives at her grandmother’s nearby farm. Hurting from her parents’ breakup, she also plans to run. But when she joins the hunt for Aggie, she meets two irresistible young men who compel her to stay. One is autistic; the other, dangerous.
Perfect for fans The Scent Keeper, The Snow Child, and The Great Alone, Sugar Birds immerses readers in a layered, evocative coming-of-age story set in the breathtaking natural world where characters encounter the mending power of forgiveness—for themselves and for those who have failed them.
About the Author
For most of her life, Pacific Northwest naturalist, photographer, and award-winning author Cheryl Grey Bostrom, MA, has lived in the rural and wild lands that infuse her writing. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including the American Scientific Affiliation’s God and Nature Magazine, for which she’s a regular photo essayist. A member of the Redbud Writers Guild, she has also authored two non-fiction books. This is her first novel. She currently resides near Lynden, WA.
This was an interesting read. As a debut novel, Sugar Birds is very detailed and well thought out. As a coming-of-age story, it was also well written. Each young character had to struggle to find their way and their place in the world. You can clearly see the peer pressure and uncertainty that Celia faces and deals with. Burnaby struggles with social cues and interactions in general as he is on the spectrum but he to finds his way when others arounds him adapt and do what is best for him. Aggie is a strong, determined, and brave young girl that lives with a falsehood that could kill her.
As this is classified as a fiction read for adults and I struggled with that as all of the main characters are young. I would have loved more of a backstory about Aggie and Burnaby’s parents as well as Grandma Burke. I felt that this was a bit young for my taste. This may do well for young adults and those that are in their 20’s but as a 40 year old reader, I struggled with the content.
Overall, I gave this book 3.5 crowns.
I received an ARC from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.