Publisher's Note:  

Twelve-year-old Clara Dooley has spent her whole life in the Glendoveer mansion, where her mother is a servant to the kind and elderly matron of the house. Clara has never known another home. In fact, she's confined to the grand estate due to a mysterious heart condition. But it's a comfortable life, and if it weren't for the creepy squawking birds in the aviary out back, a completely peaceful one too.

But once old Mrs. Glendoveer passes away, Clara comes to learn many dark secrets about the family. The Glendoveers suffered a horrific tragedy: their children were kidnapped, then drowned. And their father George Glendoveer, a famous magician and illusionist, stood accused until his death. As Clara digs deeper and deeper into the terrifying events, the five birds in the aviary seem to be trying to tell her something. And Clara comes to wonder: what is their true identity? Clara sets out to solve a decades-old murder mystery—and in doing so, unlocks a secret in her own life, too. Kathleen O'Dell deftly weaves magic, secret identities, evil villians, unlikely heroes, and the wonder of friendship into a mystery adventure with all the charm of an old fashioned classic.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Alfred A. Knopf

The Aviary

by Kathleen O'Dell

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Overall Review:  

Clara has always been told that she has a weak heart, and as a result, can never leave her home. She does love her home—all except for the creepy birds in the aviary—but still, she longs for a little adventure in her life. When one of the aviary birds speaks to her one afternoon, Clara finds herself untangling a decades-old mystery and getting more adventure than she ever bargained for! The Aviary is exactly the kind of book that I would have loved as a young teenager: With just the right blend of history, mystery, and magic, it was a delight to read! Highly recommended to both preteens/young teens and adults who still love a well-woven tale.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language: 2 religious exclamations;1 mild obscenity.


Violence/Gore: There is a rumor of a group of children being murdered. A boy is beaten by his guardian. Children are kidnapped. A group of people are found drowned after a boating accident. Two girls lay "traps" for a villain (activating rat traps, positioning jars of lye, etc.). All of the violence is non-detailed and handled very gently.


Sex/Nudity: A married man and woman embrace.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Kidnapping, accidental death, gossip, spiritualism/supernatural occurrences (a man attempts to do magic; a house is implied to be occasionally visited by a friendly spirit).

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

A woman says that the secret to a delicious dish is wine used in the sauce, and admits to imbibing a little herself.

Reviewed By CindyB
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