I forget where I first heard about Charlie Jane Anders’ All The Birds in the Sky, but I do know that when I heard the premise, I couldn’t get my hands on a copy fast enough. I’m a sucker for “best friends in childhood-turned-rivals in adult life” narratives – which is a pretty specific taste, I know, but Birds seemed to fit into it nice and cozy, so I was jazzed.
Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead meet in middle school, where they bond over the fact that they’re both social outcasts in their own way: Patricia is a witch and Laurence is a science geek/genius, making them both the perfect targets for bullies. At home, where both their parents have a tendency to punish them for things out of their control, it’s not much better. They forge the kind of awkward-but-close friendship that can only be forged in the crucible that is middle school until events spiral out of their control and they’re forced to part ways.