Book reviews

BOOK REVIEW: For the Forest of a Bird by Sue Saliba

A novel about love and the things you can and can’t change, from the winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for young adult fiction, Sue Saliba.

‘I want to tell you that he’s coming home. . . and it’s going to be like it was before he went away, before everything broke apart.’

Nella waits for the swallows by the creek each spring. It’s a secret vigil she’s followed ever since her father left.

This year she’s going to take him with her . . . but can we ever return to the way things were?

A novel about love and the things you can and can’t change, from the winner of the Victorian’s Premier’s Literary Award for young adult fiction.

Source: Penguin Australia (Thank you!!!)
195 pages

My Rating


There’s something uniquely beautiful about a book that so simple and honest. “For the Forest of a Bird” is not a book that’s hugely complicated with a crazy plot and loud characters but it is beautifully real and to the point. It doesn’t have a plain plot but nevertheless, I really enjoyed this read.

This book follows the story of a young girl named Nella whose love and relationship with her father surpasses most. Yet, her father has left her, her brother and her mentally ill mother. It is only when her father suffers from a heart attack that Nella travels to Philip Island, her dad’s new home so that she can remain with him and try to make everything the same once again between them. It is there that Nella discovers the fact that nothing can ever be the same.

I think Nella is a character that represents that child in all of us. Her voice in this novel is strong and her determination is even stronger. She wants everything to be the same with her dad. The same sort of experiences, when they sit on the porch together or when they watch documentaries about the wonder of nature. Both father and daughter are very similar. She does drastic things to satisfy her determination, often (actually all the time) without actually thinking it through. When an info bomb drops on her about her dad (no spoilers), she literally runs away from the house. And this doesn’t happen just once. Before this, she actually jumps on a bus and travels 2 hours to her dad’s new house without letting her mother, brother or school know. Yet, I wasn’t annoyed by this because I understood her child-like thinking. She’s impulsive, emotional and often jumps to conclusions.

Nella’s family is very broken and I felt sorry for her because no.1, her brother is so full of hate and jealousy, her mother is weird on the head and her father, the one she is closest to chooses to leave this broken household. It is through these circumstance that Saliba is able to write a book that rekindles the virtues that we must learn through experience in life. Forgiveness, making the most of something and family.

I love this book. It’s a very short read and very thought-provoking. I recommend it to anyone who like a book that makes them think differently. It’s very different and often very lonely, similar to Cather in the Rye. Fantastic read!


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