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How to Make a Bird

By Martine Murray

A journey, a mystery, and a heart ready to heal.

It's dawn, on an empty road in the countryside. Empty, except for the girl in the long, red evening gown, standing next to a bicycle, and looking back at the home she's about to leave. Mannie wants to forget the terrible things that have happened here, but there are questions that need to be answered before she can let go. Questions about her elegant but unstable mother; her brother Eddie who's always overshadowed her; and his friend Harry Jacob, who might or might not be Mannie's boyfriend.

Mannie needs to find out what really happened, and her only clue is an unfamiliar address in the city, written on a scrap of paper found in Eddie's room. As Mannie makes her way to town, the mystery of this vulnerable, quirky girl is revealed piece by piece, in a story about growing up and listening to your heart.

Reviews and Awards

USBBY Outstanding International Book, 2011

⋆ “Setting off at dawn, carrying a backpack and wearing a long evening gown, Mannie aims to escape her troubled life in small-town southern Australia. It will take the entire novel, with abundant flashbacks, to explain why. Mannie has fashioned an identity, a narrative of herself and her future, from her beliefs about her gentle Australian father, flamboyant but unhappy French mother, older brother, Eddie—her mother’s favorite—and his friend Harry. In the 24 hours that elapse after she leaves, Mannie’s assumptions come undone and that personal narrative falls apart. Although Mannie’s defining attributes—acute self-consciousness and claustrophobic intensity—are hallmarks of many YA heroines, Murray’s powerful lyrical voice and close observation breathe new life into them. The story’s forward momentum is occasionally diverted by an outpouring of images and insights, but eventually Mannie and the readers get back on the road, and any detours just add to the pleasure. First published in Australia in 2003, the novel offers an especially vivid sense of place—the harsh but open rural landscape and densely populated yet lonely, urban Melbourne.” - Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Murray’s style is crystalline and meditative... It’s crafted in polished and deftly spun prose.... Readers who appreciate style and mood even more than plot will be glad to find her.” - Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

"Murray crafts beautiful and evocative prose to mark each turn in Mannie’s inward and outward journeys, all while maintaining tension in revealing who, within the family, has departed and how.... Readers of John Marsden, Melina Marchetta, and Judith Clarke will find a welcome addition to the pantheon of Australian young-adult authors." - Booklist

Purchase Options
Indiebound • Amazon • Barnes & Noble

Summer 2010
Young Adult Fiction
ISBN: 978-0-439-66951-1
Price: $17.99 / $21.99
Trim Size: 5 1/2" x 8 1/4"
Page Count: 240
Foreign Rights: Allen & Unwin
Translation Rights: Allen & Unwin
Rights Available? yes

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