Wild Bird (Paperback)

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(Young Adult)

Staff Reviews

We first meet fifteen year old Wren, the “Wild Bird” in this riveting realistic fiction story and quickly realize she is  a danger more to herself than others as she awakes one morning after the bender of all benders.  Little does she know that she has hit rock bottom as far as her parents and sister are concerned, and as a last resort, have signed on to have Wren taken away by a cop to be escorted to a survivalist camp. In the desert.   Once there, Wren is angry at the world and can’t figure out why she belongs in this tumbleweed place with a set of ‘prison clothes’, one canteen of water to last the week, a tent to put up, a latrine to dig, and endless challenges that leave her feeling as if  she is a prisoner.   She is just beginning her eight week session of survivalist ‘training’ and she’s sure she doesn’t belong here.   However, she now has more time to think than she has friends.   Through flashbacks, we learn how Wren’s destructive choices, desire for acceptance, working parents who are never home, and everyone around her seemingly her enemy turns her life into one hot mess.   Will Wren realize that she is not the sum of her choices and that her future path can be changed?   Although, this is not the trials and tribulations of young love as portrayed in Van Draanen’s Flipped, this may just be a journey of how a girl learns to love herself.

— From Janine


From the award-winning author of The Running Dream and Flipped comes a remarkable portrait of a girl who has hit rock bottom but begins a climb back to herself at a wilderness survival camp.

3:47 a.m. That’s when they come for Wren Clemmens. She’s hustled out of her house and into a waiting car, then a plane, and then taken on a forced march into the desert. This is what happens to kids who’ve gone so far off the rails, their parents don’t know what to do with them anymore. This is wilderness therapy camp. Eight weeks of survivalist camping in the desert. Eight weeks to turn your life around. Yeah, right.
The Wren who arrives in the Utah desert is angry and bitter, and blaming everyone but herself. But angry can’t put up a tent. And bitter won’t start a fire. Wren’s going to have to admit she needs help if she’s going to survive.

"I read Wild Bird in one long, mesmerized gulp. Wren will break your heart—and then mend it." —Nancy Werlin, National Book Award finalist for The Rules of Survival

"Van Draanen’s Wren is real and relatable, and readers will root for her." —VOYA, starred review

About the Author

Wendelin Van Draanen is the author of many beloved and award-winning books. For middle graders, she’s written The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones, Swear to Howdy, and the Sammy Keyes mystery series. For teens and tweens, there’s Flipped, The Running Dream, Confessions of a Serial Kisser, and Runaway. And for younger readers, check out the Shredderman quartet and the Gecko and Sticky series. Wendelin Van Draanen lives in central California with her husband and two sons. Find her on the web at WendelinVanDraanen.com or on Twitter at @WendelinVanD.

Praise For…

Praise for Wild Bird:

"Engrossing and inspiring." —PW

"Van Draanen’s Wren is real and relatable, and readers will root for her." —VOYA, starred review 

"Riveting... Van Draanen makes palpable both the outer desert landscape and Wren's intense inner emotions. A memorable book about family, friendship, forgiveness, and second chances." —Kirkus Reviews

"A strikingly raw and emotional story. The first-person narrative perfectly captures Wren’s cynical yet vulnerable teen voice." —SLJ

"What a magnificent book! Inspirational, insightful, and instantly relatable.” –Callan McAuliffe, “Bryce” in the movie Flipped
“This impactful, gorgeous, insightful novel will touch you in a deep, extraordinary way.” – Madeline Carroll, “Julie” in the movie Flipped

"An involving tale of a middle-schooler who took a very wrong turn but manages to straighten her own path." —The Bulletin
"Spellbinding"Midwest Book Review
"I read Wild Bird in one long mesmerized gulp. Wren will break your heart—and then mend it." —Nancy Werlin, National Book Award finalist for The Rules of Survival

Wild Bird grabbed me by the wrist on page one—it’s riveting.” —Jenny Hubbard, author of And We Stay, a Printz Honor Book
“An exhilarating story of survival and second chances.” —Dana Reinhardt, author of Tell Us Something True

“This was an absolute one-sit read and I recommend it highly.” —Rene Kirkpatrick, University Bookstore, Seattle

“Wow! This book is a gem. I could feel the heat, the cold, the fear and frustration at every turn of the page.” —Valerie Lewis, Hicklebee's Bookstore
Product Details
ISBN: 9781101940471
ISBN-10: 1101940476
Publisher: Ember
Publication Date: January 22nd, 2019
Pages: 336
Language: English