Breaking Birds

A review of Roll by Darcy Miller

The summer before his 6th grade year, Ren and his parents move from town to a house out in the country, cutting off Ren's access to his best friend Austin. This is extra stressful because Austin has hit puberty big time, and seems to be speeding away from Ren and their shared interests at a breakneck speed. Ren's new life in the country is a lot of dullness until he sees a flock of brids spinning through the air, and meets their trainer, Sutton, a firey-haired 11-year-old girl who is preparing for a regional pigeon rolling competition.

This is a debut novel by a Wisconsin author, and it's a gentle, pitch-perfect coming of age story. The pigeon rolling content is fascinating. It brought me to YouYube many times-- so many videos of birds somersulting backwards through the air, set to Beethoven, or the song Bittersweet Symphony. I had no idea. It's a whole thing!

I'm a huge sucker for stories of friends splintering off, and the acute pain of being the one left behind. There are no good characters or bad characters, no right or wrong, just flawed, well-meaning people. A sweet summer read, and you'll learn something, too! BIRD FLIPS!