Blackbird SummerBlackbird Summer by Em Shotwell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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This is a story about a young woman who comes from a family of Gifted outcasts. “Maybe our family was the same as everyone else, we were just all too afraid of each other to show how I really felt.”
Tallulah is 21 years old and very rarely interacts with regular people. She has never dated, or kissed anyone and her sister refers to her as the good one or miss perfect, drives her nuts.
After meeting a young man she has
a real attraction for, Logan a young man willing to see beyond the small town gossip and willing to fight to stay in her life even when she doubts herself and even when things start to go bad for her and her family.
Logan is a 23 year old music teacher from Louisiana who works about an hour from Tully’s home town in Mississippi. ” It’s one of those things I really liked about Logan. He truly loved his job. Going to work and exposing kids to different types of music made him happier than almost anything else. He was convinced that the next Clapton or Hendrix was going to pass through his classroom”
The town is a major character in this story, there is so much hatred directed at this family, and small town bigotry that they have had to put up with their whole lives. Snide comments, name calling, harassment by the local preacher, and being used for their talents.
Her father controls weather, her mother communicates with birds, her grandfather has a memory that will not let him forget anything, her grandmother has the gift of vitality, which helps with all sorts of things. Her sister and cousin have the ability to charm people and Tully has suggestion as an ability. (Think of a vampire’s compulsion.)
Tully witnesses her beaten and raped sister being dropped into a ditch by her families fruit stand late one night while out running.  The man who had done this has hidden his identity and taken notice of her hidding in the woods. Horrified she loses her grasp on her gift and calls everyone in her family to the site. Events steam roll from there.
Tully, being from a family that arranges matches with other gifted families and living with a very closed off group of individuals questions Logan, his sincerity and his motives. Along with all this tragedy happening to her family and the change she undergoes because of it, will they be able to make a go of things?
This is a great novel that really touches on human frailty, hatred, compassion and our ability to adapt under any circumstances. Tully goes through real changes along with her family.
I really enjoyed the paranormal aspect of the novel, its so very subtle that the story could be real. Great read.

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