Publisher's Note:  

An orphaned African grey parrot who can speak 127 words. A girl so sick, she has forgotten what it means to try. Fate--and a banana nut muffin--bring them together. Will their shared encounter help them journey through storms inside and out? Will they lose their way, or will they find what really matters?

Here is a story that will remind readers how navigating so many of life's desperate adventures requires friendship and, above all, hope.

The Desperate Adventures of Zeno and Alya

by Jane Kelley

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Overall Review:  

The cover of this book looks a bit mysterious and shady, but the story inside is neither of those things! Instead, it is a story of a young girl, a parrot, and a friendship that comes directly from the heart. I wasn't sure exactly how this book was going to settle with me, as it starts out being narrated by a bird. Zeno isn't just any bird though, he is an African Grey parrot, and he is so intelligent I felt as though I was reading from a human's perspective.

In the next chapter, I was introduced to Alya, a young girl who is confined to her bedroom. Between the two of these spunky narrators, there is never a dull moment in this book. From journeys over stormy waters, to reading The Secret Garden, this book has everything it needs to be a great story. I was very pleased at how the author kept her book low in content, and how well the characters seemed to relate to real-life kids. I'm thinking this book might be a good one to introduce to a young reader who is wanting something a bit similar to John Green's The Fault in Our Stars as it has the drama and the love story (in a way), but is totally appropriate for young readers.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:   None

Violence/Gore:  A character is depicted lying on the floor and it is implied that he has died from natural causes; an angry character knocks over birdcages; a bird is depicted snatching up another bird with the intention to kill it.

Sex/Nudity:  None

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Reviewed By Lydia
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