“Blue Birds” by Caroline Starr Rose
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Novel-in-Verse, Historical Fiction
Summary from Goodreads:
It’s 1587 and twelve-year-old Alis has made the long journey with her parents from England to help settle the New World, the land christened Virginia in honor of the Queen. And Alis couldn’t be happier. While the streets of London were crowded and dirty, this new land, with its trees and birds and sky, calls to Alis. Here she feels free. But the land, the island Roanoke, is also inhabited by the Roanoke tribe and tensions between them and the English are running high, soon turning deadly.
Amid the strife, Alis meets and befriends Kimi, a Roanoke girl about her age. Though the two don’t even speak the same language, these girls form a special bond as close as sisters, willing to risk everything for the other. Finally, Alis must make an impossible choice when her family resolves to leave the island and bloodshed behind.
This book is scheduled to be released March 10, 2015.
It’s amazing how much feeling the author is able to convey with using so few words. I could really feel how isolated each girl was in her own existence. Each girl is able to become a fully realized person with the ‘screen time’ she’s given.
It’s a great history lesson. I didn’t know much about the lost tribe. It was really interesting to learn about it from a fictional perceptive. It was a really enjoyable story. Then I read the Author’s Note about the research she did for the book. She really did her homework! I was really impressed at how much of the story she took from real life. That made the story a lot more interesting from my perspective.
The ‘other’ stories in the book are very enjoyable. There’s the story of the girls’ friendship and their coming of age stories. Kimi is growing up without her sister and father. Those are deep wounds to try and heal from. Alis has been taken away from her home in England and taken to a new land where she has no friends. Her beloved uncle is gone so she’s even more alone. Those are hard enough struggles to deal with without combining them with the fear that comes in living in close proximity to those who you can’t trust or understand.
Rose is really making me rethink my stance on verse books. The writing was really beautiful. Not to mention the story looks really cool. The passages where Alis and Kimi are together are especially interesting to look at. The back and forth with the different fonts for each girl makes a visually appealing passage.
The bottom line? A wonderful read!