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About The Book

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Last Magician series comes a heart-wrenching middle grade debut steeped in magical realism about a bird-loving boy who moves to the countryside where he encounters dangerous creatures invading through a rip in the sky.

Xavier T. Fletcher is an Odd Duck. At least, that’s what everyone in his sleepy little suburb seems to think. Luckily, birds happen to be the aspiring naturalist’s favorite things, so he doesn’t mind the label quite as much as you might expect.

But when Xavier’s father loses his job, everything changes. His family is forced to move to his Nana Susan’s farm. There, he meets Clementine, a strange, messy girl who doesn’t see him as an Odd Duck at all. Too bad she has the unfortunate habit of using her slingshot to hunt the birds he loves. Xavier’s not sure what to think when Clem assures him that they aren’t really birds. He’s even less sure when he discovers that Clem isn’t lying.

The bird-like creatures come from the Rend, a tear in the sky between our world and the Nother’s, and the objects they carry in their beaks from that cold, dark place are dangerous. It’s up to Xavier and Clem to find a way to keep the creatures out of our world. But how can he protect the Rend when he suspects Clem hasn’t told him the whole truth about what she’s doing?

About The Author

Photograph © Liz Marie Portraits

Lisa Maxwell is the New York Times bestselling author of the Last Magician series and Unhooked. She’s worked around words all her life and is currently a professor at a local college. She has strong opinions about pasta and a soft spot for loud music and fast cars. When she’s not writing books, you can usually find her going on adventures with her husband and two amazing boys. Though she grew up in Akron, Ohio, she now calls northern Virginia home. Follow her on Instagram @LisaMaxwellYA or sign up for her newsletter to learn more about her upcoming books at

Product Details

  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (August 20, 2024)
  • Length: 320 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781534431935
  • Ages: 8 - 12

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Raves and Reviews

"The worldbuilding is tight in this eerie take on the battle between good and evil with a distinct message about the environmental impact of human activity…Searing and satisfying.”

– Kirkus Reviews, 6/1/24

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