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susanvoss18

Back by Sunrise by Justin Sloan

Back by Sunrise (Eternal Light) (Volume 1) - Justin Sloan, Melanie de Carvalho

This story is primarily about Brooke and how she deals with a very difficult time in her life. She and her dad have been working on painting a mural in her bedroom. Unfortunately, they aren’t able to finish it together before he is called out to serve his country over seas. Brooke awaits her father’s return only to hear the sad news he will never return. Yet she has this necklace from him, which turns out to be magical. Through her adventures, she learns to let go of some of her anger and to carry the sadness.

This was a rather touching little piece of magical modern-day fantasy. I’ve listened to several other Justin Sloan books and this one is the tamest and perhaps the slowest of pace. Brooke is a typical kid, occasionally arguing with her brother, not always obeying the parents right away, painting on walls, etc. The first part, which sets the scene for the family dynamics, goes by very quickly. Once Brooke finds out her necklace has the power to change her into a bird, the story picks up.

Her adventures as a bird start off pretty small. She stays close to home, makes a friend or two, and learns to eat bird food (which her human brain tells her isn’t very tasty at all). There’s some humor, a little action. Mostly, this part of the story is tame exploration of Brooke’s new world. It is a bit slow at this point and that is my only mild complaint on this book. But then Brooke wants to be a human again and that turns out to be a bit challenging.

My favorite part of the story was the last bit. The action really picks up, Brooke has foes to face (in bird form), and has to figure out how to turn into a human again. This is where Brooke’s emotions towards her mom and her now-gone father really bubble to the surface and she has to make an active decision as to how to deal with them. I really liked this aspect because it shows a kid making an adult decision and I think many of us have had moments like that when we were kids.

The final ending was very satisfying. After Brooke’s sadness and anger, all her adventures, we get this ending that tied up the story nicely. The story started with that bedroom mural and we get to return to it. That really closed the loop on this story, or at least this installment of it, for me.

I received a copy of this audiobook from the author at no charge in exchange for an honest review.

The Narration: Rebecca Greene did a very nice job. She was a very good fit for Brooke. She had these very believable little kid voices, which she used for the kids, but also for the young animals bird Brooke befriends on her adventures. She had an excellent way of imbuing quite the range of emotions into Brooke’s character.