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Reviewed by Lisa McCombs for Readers' Favorite
Wow, wow, and wow! Sleeping With the Blackbirds by Alex Pearl encompasses the charm of classics such as The Velveteen Rabbit and The Secret Garden. In a lively British voice, Pearl weaves a tale of social conflict when eleven-year-old Roy Nutterley finds himself at the mercy of school bully Harry Hodges and his cronies. Between the caustic atmosphere of fighting parents at home and the insecurity of the school yard, Roy finds solace only in his garden of ever growing bird houses. Roy is at peace among his bird friends and their comforting song. When his mother cleans the garden of his treasures, the affected blackbirds, tits, and magpies come to Roy’s aid in a surprising and awe-inspiring manner. The birds need Roy as much as he needs them. Not only is Roy rewarded for his loyalty to the birds, but Harry Hodges also learns the valuable lesson of right and wrong when he finds himself homeless and living on the streets.
I love, love, love Sleeping with the Blackbirds. I couldn't put it down. The strength of the author's voice held me captivated long after turning the last page. With the wit of JK Rowling, Alex Pearl has definitely earned his place in the young adult fiction hall of fame. His fantasy broaches the subjects of homelessness, child adoption, bullying, injustice, and the cruelty of abusive parents, all issues with which the youth of today live. There is a moral lesson for each of Pearl’s characters to learn. Through a marvellous turn of events, each character is rewarded with the right ending. Bravo, Alex Pearl!