As Stars Fall by Christie Nieman

Bushfire rages all around a bush stone-curlew, an endangered, native bird of Australia. Luckily it can fly, and as it ascends into the air it leaves behind not only the eggs in its nest but a woman who cares deeply for its species. A little way down the track, a family battles the falling embers that are beginning to alight their house and garden, fire rushing towards them, but suddenly the wind dies and the fire turns, leaving the family alive and the house still standing. But it’s after the fire that devastation hits.

In the city, a family is shattered. The woman left in the fire was Delia and Seth’s mum, a lecturer and researcher on the bush stone-curlew. Seth takes to the streets and ‘angel dust’ to numb his pain, while Delia delves into her mother’s research papers. When a bush stone-curlew turns up in nearby parklands and Robin, a red-haired girl from the country starts at Delia’s school, the three teenagers become strangely linked by this rare bird.

As Stars Fall is a beautiful Australian novel about the devastation nature and humans can inflict on one another and how worlds can collide in the most unique of ways. The use of the endangered bush stone-curlew is unique, and the story is creative and brilliantly written. I absolutely loved this. Highly recommended for ages 14 and up


Katherine Dretzke is a bookseller at Readings Hawthorn.