ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY
CHARLIE JANE ANDERS (TITAN BOOKS, $21.99)
On the third page, when an injured bird started speaking to a child, this book was nearly hiffed across the room. But Michael Chabon had called this debut novel “dazzling… profound… wondrous”, and I loved his novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, so I persisted. Fortunately the reason for Chabon’s effusive endorsement became clear once the action got under way. During the bird rescue, six-year-old Patricia learns she’s a witch who can fly and, yes, talk to animals. At college, she bonds with science lover Laurence, who’s figured out how to time travel. They survive being ostracised at school and, like all the best nerds, turn out to be quite attractive as adults. But their unlikely friendship is tested by their different approaches in using their powers to save the world from humankind’s imminent self-destruction. A fun read with whipsmart cultural references.