I’ve just finished A Secret of Birds & Bone as part of my first readalong with Tandem Collective UK and I absolutely loved it.

As you might expect from Kiran Millwood Hargrave, it’s a beautifully-written, atmospheric read, with enough darkness and suspense to create all the right sorts of tingles (see photo above for synopsis). The story has family and friendship at its heart, wrapped around which is an intriguing, tense mystery/adventure that kept me engrossed right to the end. My ‘spidey senses’ were on high alert from the outset as I felt that some of the characters had a hidden side – but when would their motives and true selves be revealed? I made the mistake of finally relaxing my guard to take one particular character at face value and then – wham! – the truth socked me right around the chops just when I didn’t expect it! This is one of those stories where I couldn’t predict which way it was going to go, and to be honest I didn’t want to try and work it out either, I just enjoyed hanging in there for the ride, taking each twist and turn as it came. It’s an inventive and original upper middle grade tale (around 10 – 14) that also lightly touches on issues such as disfigurement and gender perceptions, which really hits the spot.

Helen Crawford-White has created a truly gorgeous cover, as well as some of the most beautifully-decorated pages I have ever seen in a middle grade story – simply stunning.

Thank you to both Tandem Collective and Chicken House Books for my gifted copy of the story.

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