“‘It’s amazing what humans will sacrifice for money and power … I told you, Abby, humans can’t resist what evil sometimes offers.’”
In the novel Hummingbird: Broken Wings by Spencer K. Prescott, we meet straight-A student Abigail Anderson, and she has the receipts to brag. She’s the first person in her town’s history to graduate a whole year early, has an unwavering dedication to her family’s antique business, and a natural, mystical look equipped with strips of blue hair and ever-changing eye color. But in the charming town of Allison Creek — with its hub of busy streets and antiquated homes — the mystery and tragedy of the town’s inception begins to unfold, with Abby in the center of it all.
At first, the papers decorated with peculiar symbols and runes that Abby finds around town are dismissed. After all, Abby has more important things to attend to: avoiding her jealous, alcoholic ex-boyfriend who seems to stalk her every move, maintaining her family’s shop, and desperately trying to mend her mother’s failing relationship with her controlling boyfriend. And, of course, dealing with the nightmares.
NEGOTIATING WITH NIGHTMARES
There are nightmares that have plagued her since childhood, that leave her scratched and bleeding and bruised the next morning: the nightmares where demons hunt and attack her, dragging her into the world of the grotesque, bringing her to the edge of death within every dream. Though assured her dreams mean nothing save for stress and subconscious fears, Abby can’t shake the thought that her dreams are far from accidental.
“It started with the dreams, but then the spirits started showing themselves in my waking life. I would see them in corners of rooms, curled up on closet floors, watching me from a porch on my street. I hear them, too. They speak with muffled voices and even whistle. I ignore them most days, hoping they will leave me alone. But they are always there. I can’t tell the good from the bad anymore, either.”
As Abby’s reality begins to crumble and becomes more debilitating, her saving grace comes in the form of another piece of paper — this time, a flyer advertising a weekend retreat for Ceruleans, individuals able to communicate with the spirit world. Catalyzed with the hope of finding others like her, Abby, in an act of uncharacteristic spontaneity, travels to Connecticut to uncover the secret of her powers. With her newfound friends, Abby is plunged into a world of angels, demons and witchcraft, with the key to solving a brewing war between Heaven and Hell in Allison Creek itself.
In this supernatural-meets-horror-meets-mystery YA novel, Prescott seamlessly weaves together fantasy and reality to produce a story that immerses readers in the confusion and terror that surrounds Abby and her friends. Her balancing of the worlds of angels and demons, witchcraft and cults is crafted with a meticulousness that suspends readers’ disbelief and captivates on every page. Moreover, Prescott’s choice of first-person narration is even more impressive: it allows the reader to be fully integrated into the disorientating world that Abby is thrust into to bridge the distance between reader and character.
And while the core of the story focuses on the mystery that surrounds Allison Creek and those living there, Prescott also introduces themes of found family, the dangers of corruption, and the disillusionment of power. As the veil of ignorance in Abby’s life begins to tear as she uncovers her powers, Abby realizes that more things were possible than she was ever taught and that, perhaps, the town really is alive with more than just its human inhabitants.
For those intrigued by all things supernatural, Hummingbird: Broken Wings has it all without being overwhelmingly mystical. Come the last page, readers will surely be left anticipating the next adventures in Allison Creek.
“I always believed the veil that separated us from evil, from the dead, would be a blurry threshold, like barricade tape with a warning. But it wasn’t, and when Allison Creek awakes this morning, they will mingle and dance, unknowingly, with the souls of the departed, the good, the evil, and the wicked.”
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