Magical Realism Review: Other Birds

September 2, 2022 Uncategorized 3 ★★½

Magical Realism Review: Other BirdsTitle: Other Birds
Author: Sarah Addison Allen
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

Summary: Charming but without much emotional depth.

Before she starts school in the fall, Zoey moves to Mallow Island to learn more about her deceased mother. Living in her mother’s old apartment, she begins to connect with the other residents, all of whom are dealing with their own past traumas and their own ghosts.

The setting for this book was full of Sarah Addison Allen’s trademark charm. The island is known for producing marshmallows, with a candy-colored downtown. The apartment where Zoey lives sounds lovely and secluded, full of tiny, mischievous blue birds. It’s the perfect setting for a bunch of strangers to connect in charming ways.

The story and characters, however, didn’t win me over quite as much as in her previous books.  It’s been a long time since I read her previous books and my tastes may have changed. To some extent, I may now simply prefer books that are less about sweet coincidences and more about people having to put in hard work to overcome grief or trauma. As far as I can remember though, the previous books by SAA did a few things better than her latest. In this book, the supernatural element felt completely disconnected from the main plot points. It was also pretty saccharine at times. There was a climactic altercation, but no emotional low point. I didn’t feel like the characters had to work to change themselves or to connect with others. Everything simply fell into place.  It all just felt a little too easy and simplistic for me to get emotionally involved or worried about the outcome. I enjoyed this book well enough, but I don’t think it’s one I’ll remember.

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