Trust, belief and a little magic… then maybe they could both fly free
Since Trevor’s mum died his dad can barely look at him without yelling. Home is awful, school is worse. People just let you down, and Trevor only talks to Mrs. Bingo-Wings, his mum’s cat.
But then he meets Midge, a peregrine falcon in danger, and finds out he has a gift that could change his life forever.
Trevor is thrown into the heart of a magical adventure that could promise freedom – for Midge and for himself – but can he overcome his doubts and fears, and take on the destiny he’s only just discovered?
Praise for Spellboda:
“Jo Clarke brings her exceptional knowledge of falcons and her amazing imagination and writing skills to this clever and captivating story.”
– Sean Derek, Emmy-winning writer (The Smurfs, Batman, Pac-Man)
“Spellboda will make you soar with joy, like the falcons and eagles in the book. As a movie producer, sort of falconer and now, wanna be Spellboda, I loved it and can’t recommend it enough...”
– Larry Kasanoff, Film Producer (Mortal Kombat; Lego: The Adventures of Clutch Powers)
A Note From the Publisher
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 5 members
Since Trevor's mum died, he has only talked to her cat, Mrs Bingo-Wings. Stuck at home with his dad, who barely looks at him without yelling, the 13-year-old boy is also having trouble at school, taking out his pain and resentment into disruption in the classroom. But then he meets Midge, a peregrine falcon in danger, and finds out he has a gift that could change his life forever. Thrown into the heart of a magical adventure, Trevor will have to overcome his fears if he wants to successfully embrace his destiny.
Tackling difficult topics, such as grief, anger and neglect, Spellboda isn’t always an easy read, especially when Trevor’s dad yells and throws things at him. Still, while I think the topic could have been explored further, it's amazing to see how Trevor and Midge's friendship helps Trevor make peace with his pain, to be more understanding and open.
Since Trevor volunteers at a local centre for birds of prey, the author also addresses animal conservation, which I appreciated very much, especially because J C. Clarke’s knowledge and passion for falconry shine through from the very start. I loved learning more about birds of prey, their training and caring; and it was a genius move to give such vivid and distinct personalities to the variety of characters from the local wildlife, like Tiberius, the eagle, Roger, the fox, and Crispin, the corvine.
I think the book would be perfect if the relationship between Trevor and his father was better addressed and deepened. So, I was torn between giving this a 3 or a 4, but I rounded up. I have to thank NetGalley and The Book Guild for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
What a lovely book.
This book centres on Trevor who is deep in grief and experiencing problems at home and at school .It had us crying and smiling and cheering ,it was a real rollercoaster of emotions. I wondered after the first few pages of it was suitable for the youngsters I was reading with but it turned out to be a great experience for us all. The conversations arising from this book were compassionate and expansive.
I really enjoyed this book it was such an interesting concept with a well written storyline with well developed characters. i found some of the characters really endearing but I loathed others. I have a deep rooted fear of clowns so I already hated them but I loathed them after their treatment of the Falcon..
I found this book so enaging and captivating and I think the children audience would love it, it has everything they want a young protaganist, magic and wildlife. I have always thought that there was something very magical bout birds and so I think that children will love that they are incorporated in this magical book.
The storyline is relatable and raw, there are many children out there that have lost parents and therefore have found solice in something that helps them through their grief and is this instance for Trevor it is birds.
This is definitely a book I will recommend to anyone with children or who just wants to read a spellbinding read.
Spellboda tells the beautiful story of Trevor, a young boy struggling with his home life ever since his Mum died. Stuck at home with Dad, a man crippled by grief and who turns this grief into anger, Trevor is troubles at school, taking out his confusion, pain and resentment of his home life into disruption in the classroom and a pledge of silence, he doesn’t speak to anyone but his cat. But Trevor has one love, he loves birds of prey, in particular the peregrine falcon and his school gets him a volunteer position at a local birds of prey centre. On Trevor’s first day, the centre are recovering from a break in, all but one of their peregrine falcons have been stolen with just one fledgling left. Trevor is the one who finds this fledging, hidden amongst the wreckage, because as he learns, Trevor is a spellboda, he can speak to animals and Midge, the fledgling, needs help learning to fly and finding his family.
Spellboda isn’t always an easy read, tackling grief and anger and neglect, particularly with Trevor’s Dad being particularly cold and, well, abusive with him. With that said however, this is a charming read, Midge becomes someone Trevor can talk with, someone he can open up to and, as a mirror, someone who can help him spread his wings and find his family again. In these exchanges, you see Trevor’s anger transform into understanding and his own journey towards healing. Does the behaviour of Trevor’s Dad need more addressing? Yes. But this isn’t a big book and that’s a big issue, I do wish it had been followed up more come the end of the story but that’s a minor criticism and it looks like there could be a book 2 so fingers crossed!
You can really tell that the author has a falconer background because I loved learning about birds of prey and their care and training as well as the variety of characters from the local wildlife. This information feels very natural, as Trevor is taught by the centre so are you as a reader, and this isn’t just thrown in for the sake of it. That’s what I particularly enjoyed, you can feel that passion through the writing and the important message on conservation and looking after wildlife.
Thank you NetGalley for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed Spellboda :)
It is not very often you want characters hung, drawn and quartered within the first few pages of a children's novel, but that is how I felt about the two clowns who trapped the Peregrine Falcon. Thankfully they got their comeuppance soon enough. It definitely made for a fascinating and intriguing beginning to a splendid magical read.
Trevor has refused to talk for some time because of emotional problems. Home life and school are awful, so when he suddenly gets the opportunity of his dream job, the last thing he needs is for anything to cause any problems. But then he meets Midge, a peregrine falcon in danger, and finds out he has a gift that could change his life forever.
J C Clarke’s knowledge of and passion for falconry shines through from the very outset. You do not have to be an ornithologist to know how the love of birds can reach the heart of even the very young. Books like Spellboda can only encourage youngsters to take further interest in these magnificent creatures and birds in general.
This is a well-researched and well-crafted book, with realistic scenarios, and a little added magic. The realistic characters and dialogue make this believable in many ways. Apart from the Dr Dolittle (magically gifted boy talking to birds) side of things is a quite heart-warming and thought-provoking tale.
I thoroughly enjoyed Spellboda and highly recommend it. I hope to get it on our children's library shelf as soon as possible.
Thank you, NetGalley and The Book Guild, for the ARC.