Jewel cannot talk to her parents because ever since her brother Bird died, it's like they don't even notice she's there. And she cannot talk to her grandfather because he locks himself in his room and doesn't speak, ever. But she can talk to John, a boy she meets one day on top of the cliff her brother jumped from. And once they started talking, her family's silence and all those secrets it keeps hidden starts to unravel.
Bird by Crystal Chan is a book I put away a couple of times because I got so angry with Jewel's parents who are so caught up in their own grief that they don't even try to understand their daughter. But the story always drew me back in, I wanted to know what happened next, what's the deal with John (a black boy adopted by a white family), what happened to Bird and why Jewel's grandfather never speaks. Her grandfather is my favourite character, even though he barely has ten lines of dialogue in the book. Jewel finds it very hard to live with him until she starts asking herself why he's the way he is and they slowly start to connect.
Jewel come from a family that's part Mexican, part Jamaican and her background plays a big role in the story, Jamaican beliefs, culture and music. The first thing I did after finishing the book was go on YouTube and listen to the music mentioned in the book. I had never even heard of Mento before (although I had heard Mento songs, but never under that name). I always love it when books introduce me to new things.
Book 2 for both the Everything YA and Diversity on the Shelves Reading Challenge