ISBN: 0142405442
ISBN 13: 9780142405444
By: Angela Johnson

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7th Grade Books African American Currently Reading Fiction Realistic Fiction Teen To Read Ya Young Adult Young Adult Lit

About this book

Devastated by the loss of a second father, thirteen-year-old Bird follows her stepfather from Cleveland to Alabama in hopes of convincing him to come home, and along the way helps two boys cope with their difficulties.

Reader's Thoughts


This book was pretty good, i liked my last book better though. This book is about a girl named bird running away from her mom to find her step dad cecil. My favorite part would have to be when she decides to go back home. There are two other major characters you should know about Ethan and Jay they are also important. I recommend this book to middle schoolers mostly because it was very easy to read.


A very slight book, beautifully written from three points of view. Bird is a young girl devastated by the loss of two fathers. Jay is reeling from his brother's death, while Evan has been given a new lease on life since he received a new heart ... which came from Jay's brother. What could have been a heavy-handed melodrama is, in Angela Johnson's hands, a lyrical exploration of a wide range of emotions. It ends in hopefulness, in part because of the childrens' own resilient spirits, and in part because the children all have at least some adults in their lives who support them.

Jana Merrill

This was a very interesting book to read. I loved to see the three different stories, that at first seemed completely unrelated, come together and connect in someway. However, I did not like that the end stopped so abruptly. I wanted there to be some resolution, but it just ended. In someways it was nice that it ended where it ended because the readers can use their imagination and make up what hey thought happened. Also, as I was reading this book I kept on finding amazing lessons that I teach a class that was also reading the book. Ratings:Violence: 2- There are mentions of child being abused by adults, but nothing graphicLanguage: 2- There is the occasional swear word, but the worst one they say is the "d" word. Sex: 1- There is nothing bad at all the has to do with sex.Drugs and Alcohol: 1- There is nothing to do with drugs and alcohol in this book.


Bird's stepdad runs and runs until he runs right out of she and her mother's life. Bird doesn't understand, so she chases him all the way to his sister's out 200 miles away from Cleveland. Bird is not the only young adult chasing something: she meets Jay and Ethan, who shares family ties in an unusual way. Will they find what they're looking for, or will they find what they need?Lovingly written. It is simple and understated and allows for simple emotions, simple images, simple statements that are strong and powerful because they aren't surrounded with distractions. The book is short and it ends, really, in an unexpected, perfect, and progressive way. I like that the characters here have real problems, but they aren't super messed up about life. They are earnest and honest.Boys swim in their underwear, but other than that all is well.


This story i must say was completely breathtaking, and you cant seem to stop reading.The story is mostly about a thirteen year old girl named bird.She runs away from Cleveland, Ohio, Alabama to find her stepfather. Then she stays in her father’s family’s farmhouse for food and a shower while they are out.There, bird met ethan,a boy who lives in the farmhouse and who had a major heart transplant a few years earlier, sees Bird but does not tell his family. He becomes friends with Bird and brings her food and clothing. Bird also makes friends with another boy around the farmhouse called Jay. Jay is sad because his brother died. It turns out that the heart transplanted into Ethan was the heart of Jay’s brother. Bird and Jay rapidly connect to each other because they both lost someone very special to them. I definitely recommend this book.:)I hope theres a second book because i cant stop reading!This girl was very brave due to the fact that she was not afraid to stay somewhere where she was not welcome. As she met new people that showed that she likes to express herself to the world and is not afraid to conquer new things which are very difficult to her since she does not have her father by her side!

Hannah Nelson

This was a really cute book! It was interesting because it was told from the first person point of view from three different characters who ended up being connected in some way. The first chapter was Bird, then Ethan, then Jay, then Bird, Ethan, ... It was a cool way to tell a story. The story kind of revolves around Bird though. she is a 13 year old girl who runs away to find her step father who left her mother and her recently. She secretly lives in the shed out back of Ethans house who you find out is her stepfather, Cecil's, nephew. Ethan is also a little boy was really sick every since he was very young and finally had a heart transplant. Jay is the older brother of the little boy who died and gave his heart to Ethan. They live in the same town and each is going through some hard issue in life. It is a very sweet little coming of age story of real life problems and of friendship between these struggling kids. I really enjoyed it!

Sarah Kennington

I chose this book because it was a short audio I could listen to while cleaning and cooking. It sounded intriguing in class and everyone has like it so far, it seems. It was a cute story of a little girl who misses her step father and how she came to terms with that and was able to let go. The people she meets along the way are incredibly charitable and kindhearted as she learns what she really wants in life. The kindness was inspiring and hopefully I can be kind like these characters. Bird seems like such a normal girl and is sweet and thoughtful towards others also. The other narrators also have inspiring stories that were fun to have along with Bird's.This book would be great for 6-7 grade students. It is fairly clean, easy to read, and a cute story. For upper level readers, it's fairly simple, but it's definitely suitable for young readers.Warnings:Mild Language

Louisa George

Wow. I really enjoyed this book. I loved the style of writing and the fact that the book jumped from the three points of views. In the end I was torn because it was so unexpected and I almost wanted all three of the main character's lives to converge and face each other...but it didn't end that way! And honestly I decided that I'm ok with that. The moment when Jay breaks down was so powerful for me, partly I think because I didn't see it coming. I love that Angela Johnson doesn't spell everything out for the reader when it comes to her characters feelings and emotions. It was so beautifully told and I loved the subtle yet powerful way that everything was presented. It felt very real to me. I loved it.Violence = 0Sex = 0Alcohol/Drugs = 0Language = 1, few minor swear words here and there

David Despain

I can honestly say I really enjoyed this book. Honestly, the jury's still out on whether it is a favorite. I love books about connections between people. I am a strong believer in the fact that all people are interconnected. AS short as it is it is a beautifully written novel. I love how all the lives of the character are woven together in both predictable and unpredictable ways. I heard complaints about the ending of this books but I thought it was really good. This is a book with more depth than appears on the surface,I feel like a could read it again and gain something from it. In fact, that I would read it again indicates how much I enjoyed this book. It is one that I am still mulling over in my mind, there is just so much there. Language: Mild swearing D--n, G-d, etc. Sex: None, unless a missed something.Violence: Actually despite some moments of thievery.


Bird runs away from her home in Ohio to find her step-dad Cecil. She uses the pictures of his family to track them down and she hides in their shed to get to know them better. With the interweaving of narrators we find out that she isn't very well hidden. In Ethan's perspective he knows there is a runaway girl living in his shed and he longs to know her. When he does met her she helps him overcome his loneliness. The book was very well written with good images and believable characters. I like how I had a chance to be in three different characters heads, and how they were braided into the book. What I didn't like was the lack of plot. I understand it is supposed to be a heart-warming story about a girl named Bird who helps heal the pain of all who meet her and somehow she is healed herself. But I felt like the ending was abrupt and didn't wrap things up.

Marli Manning

This was my first read by Angela Johnson, and I found it really engaging. I read the whole thing in about an hour. Not the most complex story line, and it left some detail to be desired, but that is to be expected in a shorter work. Overall I really enjoyed it.Bird is young runaway, hiding out in a barn miles away from home in search of her stepfather. Ethan is a young man with a new heart. Jay is struggling to cope with the death of his father. This book follows each of these lives and and how they intersect, weaving an entertaining tale of family, friendship, and independence.Language: Mild profanitiesViolence: NoneSexual Content: NoneDrugs and Alcohol: None


This short novel tells the intertwining story of three children and a few adults, with the kids telling the story. Bird has run away to find her step-father, who has also run away. Ethan has recently had a heart transplant, and is getting used to being a ‘normal’ kid again. Jay is struggling with the loss of his brother, and has been getting into trouble lately. Their lives turn into a dance shortly after Bird ran away, Jay’s brother died and Ethan got his transplant. Ethan’s donor was Jay’s brother, and Bird is hiding in the shed in Ethan’s backyard, and eventually she discovers that her stepfather is Ethan’s uncle.This is a story that starts and ends abruptly. Readers will get to know each of the characters, including a few of the secondary ones. Bird is an engaging girl, though you rarely feel sorry for her. Ethan is a likable kid—the kind you’d like to have for a next door neighbor, now that he has a new heart. Jay is the rebel, but only because he’s friends with the wrong sort and is struggling with his brother’s death. Readers will find someone to identify with in this story. Overall it’s not bad, and would make a good book discussion book.


There are three narrators in this story- Bird left her home and travels into the unknown to find her stepfather, Cecil, who has run away. She lives in the shed behind a farmhouse and is hiding there hoping Cecil will show up in town. Ethan lives in the farmhouse. He helps Bird by giving her food and blankets. Jay is heartbroken about the death of his brother. He won't allow anyone to touch any of his brother's things. He faces quite a few challenges and stupid choices of his own throughout the book. The three stories are woven together in this storyThis book has a lot of potential and initially was quite interesting. The way the characters relate to each other is also fascinating. However the rest of the book left me feeling that it was incomplete. I feel that only one story has much progress, and even that is unfulfilling. I wish that only one story had been focused on, or the book had been longer and more developed. I closed the book and asked... is that it?

Anna Knox

I don't really know how to feel about this book. Maybe it was because the main character was just so young. Bird is only thirteen years old. She is more of a child then anything else, and the thought of her living on her own just makes me uncomfortable. I just want to tell her to go home. The plight of her step father leaving and her chasing after him is heart wrenching, but I think it distracts from the story I wanted to hear: Jay and Ethan. While Bird's story was just uncomfortable to me, I wanted to know more about how Jay was dealing with his brother's death, and how Ethan could help Jay heal. Bird's narrative distracted from that storyline, and while her narrative was resolved, I didn't get that resolution from Ethan and Jay, at least not the way I wanted. Also, I hate switching perspective stories, they make it harder for me to connect to the characters. Very rarely have I seen it pulled off well, and this was not one of those situations. sex- nonedrugs- noneviolence- nonelanguage- none that I can remember


Just like all of Angela Johnson's novels, I loved this one. She really can tell a story that makes you want to keep reading, to find out how the character resolves their conflict. This story was particularly sweet because of all the bravery the characters have to muster to calm their inner struggles.I would give this book to any reader. The "running away from home" part may not be as realistic as all situations that young adults are in, but the feelings and the thought processes are easy to Identify with. Such a sweet story.Violence - noLanguage - a little bitSex - NoAlcohol/Drugs - Not that I rememberRebellious behavior - running away from home & car theft

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