Needless to say things begin to speed up after this. One of the real strengths of this book is that even though this books is meant for younger readers you never get the feeling that Ms. Hoffman is talking down her prose or dumbing down her ideas. There are plenty of sub-plots in Nightbirds; Twig’s mysterious absentee father, a parliament of hidden, endangered owls and their secret benefactor, a rash of petty thieveries, a special school play, etc. As busy as the story is it’s never confusing, as Ms. Hoffman gracefully leads us through. Like Bradbury, whom I mentioned earlier, the town of Sidwell is a magical place. There is enough conflict in the story to make it interesting, but nobody comes off like a serious villain. There is a kind of Sepia glow to this book that I found very charming, but it never got sweet or smarmy.
In the end almost everything comes together beautifully, in such a way that is both surprising and inevitable, which isn’t nearly as easy as it sounds, and it works beautifully because of Ms. Hoffman’s smooth and assured touch. She made me want to move to Sidwell.
Who wouldn’t want to live in a town that has its own monster?