Nominated for the 2023 Andre Norton Nebula Award for Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction
A girl's quest to save a forest kingdom is intertwined with her exploration of identity in Every Bird a Prince, a gorgeous middle-grade contemporary fantasy by Jenn Reese, the award-winning author of A Game of Fox & Squirrels, perfect for fans of Josephine Cameron and Barbara O'Connor.
The only time Eren Evers feels like herself is when she’s on her bike, racing through the deep woods. While so much of her life at home and at school is flying out of control, the muddy trails and the sting of wind in her face are familiar comforts.
Until she rescues a strange, magical bird, who reveals a shocking secret: their forest kingdom is under attack by an ancient foe—the vile Frostfangs—and the birds need Eren's help to survive.
Seventh grade is hard enough without adding “bird champion” to her list of after-school activities. Lately, Eren’s friends seem obsessed with their crushes and the upcoming dance, while Eren can’t figure out what a crush should even feel like. Still, if she doesn’t play along, they may leave her behind…or just leave her all together. Then the birds enlist one of Eren's classmates, forcing her separate lives to collide.
When her own mother starts behaving oddly, Eren realizes that the Frostfangs—with their insidious whispers—are now hunting outside the woods. In order to save her mom, defend an entire kingdom, and keep the friendships she holds dearest, Eren will need to do something utterly terrifying: be brave enough to embrace her innermost truths, no matter the cost.
"Reese's splendid story skillfully combines everyday experiences with a fantastical world, and though the talking birds and ferocious frostfangs are a surface-level treat, they're also thoughtful explorations of selfdoubt and asexuality. A powerful testament to self-knowledge and boldly living in your truth." —Booklist
"Using frostfangs as a metaphor for the debilitating effects of self-doubt, this contemporary fantasy realistically examines Eren’s confusion, fear of alienation, and suffocation as she grapples with her true sexuality. Multidimensional supporting characters with their own identity issues and vulnerabilities add veracity and depth.." —Kirkus Reviews
"Reese gives equal weight to each storyline and captures how the urgency of self-identification and fear of your own truths can pervade every moment and feel just as catastrophic as the potential end of the world. It’s a comfort that Eren and her pals save the day—perhaps even more so that they each find new truths in themselves and each other. " —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Meanwhile, a conversation with Alex’s asexual, pan-romantic sister gives Eren the framework to consider her own sexuality. Eren’s relatable effort to find her own path is sympathetically wrought, while the conflict between the birds and frostfangs provides an alternate lens for a protagonist working through layers of feelings." —Publishers Weekly