review and cover mani: the blackbird season

THE BLACKBIRD SEASON is the second book I’ve read by Kate Moretti and my expectations were pretty high because I loved THE VANISHING YEAR. More character driven than TVY, it took me a minute to fall into TBS, but once it got going, I raced to the finish. Also, I’ve been dying to paint the cover ever since I saw it, so let’s get started with the review!

The back jacket, from Goodreads:

Known for novels featuring “great pacing and true surprises” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) and “nerve-shattering suspense” (Heather Gudenkauf, New York Time bestselling author), New York Times bestselling author Kate Moretti’s latest is the story of a scandal-torn Pennsylvania town and the aftermath of a troubled girl gone missing.

“Where did they come from? Why did they fall? The question would be asked a thousand times…

Until, of course, more important question arose, at which time everyone promptly forgot that a thousand birds fell on the town of Mount Oanoke at all.”

In a quiet Pennsylvania town, a thousand dead starlings fall onto a high school baseball field, unleashing a horrifying and unexpected chain of events that will rock the close-knit community.

Beloved baseball coach and teacher Nate Winters and his wife, Alicia, are well respected throughout town. That is, until one of the many reporters investigating the bizarre bird phenomenon catches Nate embracing a wayward student, Lucia Hamm, in front of a sleazy motel. Lucia soon buoys the scandal by claiming that she and Nate are engaged in an affair, throwing the town into an uproar…and leaving Alicia to wonder if her husband has a second life.

And when Lucia suddenly disappears, the police only to have one suspect: Nate.

Nate’s coworker and sole supporter, Bridget Harris, Lucia’s creative writing teacher, is determined to prove his innocence. She has Lucia’s class journal, and while some of the entries appear particularly damning to Nate’s case, others just don’t add up. Bridget knows the key to Nate’s exoneration and the truth of Lucia’s disappearance lie within the walls of the school and in the pages of that journal.

Told from the alternating points of view of Alicia, Nate, Lucia, and Bridget, The Blackbird Season is a haunting, psychologically nuanced suspense, filled with Kate Moretti’s signature “chillingly satisfying” (Publishers Weekly) twists and turns. 


It’s not often that I read a true ensemble mystery where there isn’t a primary character. THE BLACKBIRD SEASON has four narrators and together, they tell the story of Lucia, a missing student. The multiple points of view worked very well at keeping me on my toes because in my opinion, only one narrator appeared to be somewhat reliable, which meant that I questioned each piece of information that was presented. For me, that’s where the twists came from, and the complicated execution was pretty extraordinary. Like, Moretti must've had an entire wall covered in post-its in order to make sure characters didn’t inadvertently reveal too much at one time. It did make for a slow burn, because I got to know each character intimately, but the backstory was necessary for the second half’s rollercoaster ride. Moretti went deep with these characters, folks, which made the resolution all the more exciting.

Cover design by Emma A. Van Deun
Cover photograph by PlainPicture/Kniel Synnatzchke

My favourite narrator was definitely Lucia because her teenage-angst tone was totally on-point. Ultimately, I had a lot of compassion for her, which I think was by design. Including journal entries made her chapters almost uncomfortably personal and cryptic, like a carrot on a stick kind of deal. Was she the “reliable” narrator though? As if I’ll tell you! Haha! You’ll have to read THE BLACKBIRD SEASON in order to find out. But even if you suspect you wouldn't connect strongly with Lucia, there are three other narrators in play and like I said earlier, each one is rich, layered, and oh so dysfunctional. (Yay! Haha!) 

So if you like to see your stories unfold from a 360 degree view, never quite knowing where things will lead and who to trust, you need to read THE BLACKBIRD SEASON. And lucky you, it came out this week and is available wherever books are sold! Yay!

Big thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada for hooking me up with an ARC!


For this mani, I used:

China Glaze – Boho Blues and Plur-ple,

Julep – Gayle and Beverly,

ORLY – Charged Up

FingerPaints – Black Expressionism

Mitty Burns – Minty 0, Peachy 000, and Clean Pro Flat nail art brushes

Triangular makeup sponge

1 comment:

  1. I found The Blackbird Season to be a compelling page-turner. It is heavy on the development of characters with interesting backstories and complex relationships. There is enough mystery and twists to keep readers turning pages. The story and setting ooze desperation, bleakness, and the cloying claustrophobia found in a dying town. The short chapters make for easy reading. The secret lives of high school students might be the most frightening aspect of the book!


Whattaya got to say about that? *waits*

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