Saturday, March 03, 2018

Wild Bird, by Wendelin Van Draanen

The story opens with Wren, a troubled young teen, being forcibly removed from her home and relocated to a desert boot camp for rehabilitation.  There isn't much mystery about why her parents have taken this drastic step (she's a real handful from the beginning) but as the story starts to fill in the details, the depth of her problems keep growing and growing.

Naturally, as this is a story about healing, Wren comes back from the edge and really rebounds, but it is rough going and fraught with set backs.  Through the harshness of the environment and some really stellar counselors, she develops the self-confidence and self-respect she needs.

Some of this story is a bit overly rosy, but the core of the story (Wren's rebirth) is lovingly handled and beautifully told.  I really did despise her in the beginning and her growth could be maddeningly slow.  But in the end, I could look back and see the progression and feel it was truly authentic, and really appreciate how she had fixed her life  Pacing a story like this (where you know how it will end) is so challenging but Van Draanen gets it right.  That the ending is a tear jerker should come as no surprise, but the way it is becomes the surprise.  A lovely book!

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