Friday 2 March 2012

62. The Messenger Bird by Rosanne Hawke

The Messenger Bird by Roseanne Hawke
Published February 2012 UQP

From the publisher:

Never before has Tamar felt so alone. Her older brother is dead, her mum's away and her dad's so wrapped up in restoring their ancient farmhouse he avoids talking about the things that really matter. Even friendly new neighbour Gavin can't get through to her, despite his eager attempts.

When Tamar discovers an old handwritten sheet of music and allows herself to play piano again, she meets gifted violinist Nathaniel who may just hold the key to her future. With no one else to turn to, Tamar is unwittingly drawn into a journey through time and music.

This book almost starts in the middle of the story.  What happened before this story begins? Tamar's older brother Trystan has been killed in a car accident on a rural road, and her mother, unable to cope with her grief has left her family to get help.  So we have a teenage girl and her father living in an old house, each struggling with their own grief, and neither talking about it.

Tamar's father copes by burying himself in his house restoration project, while Tamar copes alone unable to tell her father how she feels about her brothers death. While uncovering an old fireplace, Tamar finds an old piece of music, which compels her to play the piano again. As she plays Nathaniel visits her, and it is Nathaniel that she can talk to and start to understand her grief. The only problem is, that Nathaniel is a ghost. Through her friendship with Nathaniel Tamar becomes strong enough to let other people into her life.  She is also the one to make her family talk about what they are feeling, in the hop that they can help each other heal.

It is a story about family, grief, history, drought, music, ghosts and new friendships.

Who will like this book: Girls age 15+
Read it if you like: 

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