Read The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti Online

the-blackbird-season

Where did they come from? Why did they fall? The question would be asked a thousand times....Until, of course, more important questions arose, at which time everyone promptly forgot that a thousand birds fell on the town of Mount Oanoke at all.In a quiet Pennsylvania town, a thousand dead starlings fall onto a high school baseball field, unleashing a horrifying and unexpecWhere did they come from? Why did they fall? The question would be asked a thousand times....Until, of course, more important questions arose, at which time everyone promptly forgot that a thousand birds fell on the town of Mount Oanoke at all.In a quiet Pennsylvania town, a thousand dead starlings fall onto a high school baseball field, unleashing a horrifying and unexpected chain of events that will rock the close-knit community.Beloved baseball coach and teacher Nate Winters and his wife, Alicia, are well respected throughout town. That is until one of the many reporters investigating the bizarre bird phenomenon catches Nate embracing a wayward student, Lucia Hamm, in front of a sleazy motel. Lucia soon buoys the scandal by claiming that she and Nate are engaged in an affair, throwing the town into an uproar...and leaving Alicia to wonder if her husband has a second life.And when Lucia suddenly disappears, the police have only one suspect: Nate.Nate's coworker and sole supporter, Bridget Harris, Lucia's creative writing teacher, is determined to prove his innocence. She has Lucia's class journal, and while some of the entries appear particularly damning to Nate's case, others just don't add up. Bridget knows the key to Nate's exoneration and the truth of Lucia's disappearance lie within the walls of the school and in the pages of that journal....

Title : The Blackbird Season
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781501118456
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 338 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Blackbird Season Reviews

  • Chelsea Humphrey
    2018-09-06 14:48

    Happy Pub Day!!! When an author can fluently change the overall feel of each book they write, they have my attention. This is precisely how I feel about Kate Moretti; while you could technically group her last two books as psychological thrillers, the details ensure a wholly separate reading experience. I adored her 2016 publication The Vanishing Year, which was a classic domestic drama, and this year she has wowed me again with The Blackbird Season, a dark, slow burning suspense that was creepy and an overall perfect read for fall. The premise of what caused these birds to fall simultaneously, along with the domestic suspense completely hooked me before I even picked up the book. Marriage+Lies=Having Chelsea's name written all over it. I actually wondered throughout the entire story if it would take some sort of paranormal or fantastical turn, and while that vibe was present throughout, it remained firmly in the realm of realism.One of the many downfalls of reading so many exciting, twisty mysteries is the fact that I have to keep my lips shut in regards to plot discussion. You have what you read on the back of the book, but the story is so much more than those couple of paragraphs that you'll just have to trust me when I say you'll want to read this and discuss. This would be THE perfect book club read, as there are a multitude of questions that could be discussed on so many levels. There are two factors I want to touch on though: 1) I was blown away by the quality of writing put into crafting the narrative with Alecia as a mother of an autistic son. As a special needs mama myself, it was so refreshing to read a book where I could empathize with every aspect of a character, so much so that I probably sounded like Madea at church to the people around me at the gym. PREACH WOMAN! 2) I felt there was a large plot point unanswered and left up to the reader to determine what they thought happened. While the detective in me wanted to know EXACTLY what happened and why and how and all that jazz, I 100% understand why the author chose to leave it as such and have all the more respect for such a ballsy twist. In a way, it makes the story feel a little more intriguing.While the relationship between Nate and Alecia is a big feature in the novel, and it's done well, I also really enjoyed Bridget's character and how she grows as a person throughout the book. With a multiple POV format for telling the story (four narratives in fact), it would be easy to slack on the development of some of the minor supporting characters, and I was really happy to find out that each narrative was equally well done. If you enjoy the ever popular psychological thrillers that feature domestic drama, but are tired of the abusive relationship plot, I would highly recommend picking up The Blackbird Season. There is still the same level of urgent suspense, but with new ideas in the mix that will keep you guessing throughout. I was completely thrown by the ending and hope that you are too! If you need me you can find me in my corner patiently waiting for Moretti's next novel. <3*Many thanks to the author for providing my copy; it was a pleasure to provide my honest thoughts here!

  • Meredith
    2018-09-01 11:31

    3.5 stars Decent mystery filled with unlikeable characters.The disappearance of a mysterious high school student who was supposedly having an affair with a beloved teacher turns a small town on its head in The Blackbird Season. Mt. Oanake, a small mill town in Pennsylvania, is the kind of town that traps people. With little means to get out, most people wind up stuck in this little gossipy place. Baseball is one of the few things the town has going for it, and coach/teacher Nate Winters is considered to be the town savior. However, Nate’s status changes in an instant when his affair with enigmatic student Lucia Hamm becomes front page news. Nate becomes the town pariah; he loses his teaching and coaching jobs, and his marriage is put in jeopardy. Further complicating matters, Lucia goes missing and Nate was the last person to see her alive.The Blackbird Season is told through the POV’s of four main characters: Lucia, Alecia (Nate’s Wife), Nate, and Bridget (Nate’s best friend). I found all of the characters annoying, and this made it a bit of struggle to get through the book. However, I appreciated the mystery and I liked how I was constantly questing Nate’s innocence.The opening scene is one of the most compelling parts, and I wish that more had been done with the role of the blackbirds. I also felt like a few things didnt add up, but I am not going to harp on them. Nevertheless, The Blackbird Season held my interest.I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  • Kendall
    2018-08-24 12:42

    The Blackbird Season was my first read by Kate Moretti. I have heard such wonderful things about her writing and was thrilled to explore this author.Kate Moretti delivers a character based novel that alternates between our 4 main characters (Nate, Lucia, Alecia, and Bridget). This is a slow-burning mystery that takes you on one crazy ride trying to figure out who/what why?Mt. Oanoke is a small town in Pennsylvania where nothing ever happens. Until, our opening scene at the baseball field where thousands of starlings fall out of the sky. (Can we say freaky?) The town starts gossiping and some believe it's bad luck or the air is polluted. Soon after the birds fall from the sky... darkness looms over Mt. Oanoke.Lucia is a lonely teenager with a troubled childhood who accuses her teacher and coach Nate Winters of having an affair with her. Not long afterwards, Lucia disappears and the town really starts to question what happened to her. Did Nate kill Lucia Hamm..the white haired girl who reads tarot cards? OR is something more sinister going on in this small town? This novel is a slow burning suspense novel. I would not categorize this as a psychological thriller... not enough twists and turns for me. I definitely liked the shifting of characters which added a level of mystery for me. The characters are well developed and fits nicely into the story/plot line. I was disappointed in the ending of the novel and was left wanting more. I felt like the mystery wasn't complete. I do have to say that I really liked how the blackbirds tied into the story... I loved how this had a supernatural/spiritual twist to it.Overall, 3 stars for me. Thank you to Netgalley.

  • Lindsay
    2018-08-23 12:58

    3.5 starsThis was an atmospheric psychological suspense mystery about a high school student who goes missing and the teacher who becomes the number one suspect. The author, Kate Moretti, did a fabulous job creating a vivid picture of the unthriving small town devastated by the mill closure years prior. The after effects lingering years later – on the people, on the buildings, on the overall attitude of the gossipy, close-knit community. The abandoned mill seemed to be a haunting character itself – hiding secrets and lies within its broken, run-down structure. I enjoyed the way the story was revealed through four characters POV’s. The chapter changes of narration kept a refreshing feel throughout the novel. The slower paced storyline kept me intrigued for the most part, but my connection to the book wavered near the end.What I enjoyed most about this story was getting a glimpse into the life of a mothers love, struggles and commitment to her young autistic son. My heart broke for Alecia, Gabe’s mother, whose entire world revolved around monitoring, scheduling, organizing and tracking Gabe’s growth, development and progress through therapy, meetings, organized play, doctor appointments, etc. I could feel Alecia’s stress and overwhelming sense of exhaustion. She was a wonderfully dedicated mother and by far my favourite character.I was satisfied with the ending, but wished for it to have happened a bit differently. Throughout the novel, there are some good twists and turns, but overall the book lacked a “wow” factor for me. I would recommend it if you are looking for a more relaxed and slower paced suspenseful mystery. A big thank you to NetGalley, Atria Books and Kate Moretti for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review!!I really enjoyed reading this along with my lovely Traveling Sister Brenda! To find this review along with Brenda’s review, please visit Brenda and Norma’s fabulous blog at :https://twogirlslostinacouleereading....

  • Susanne Strong
    2018-09-09 11:47

    3.25* Stars (rounded down).Could you imagine a thousand starlings falling on you, while out watching a game? Would you call it a natural phenomenon, toxic poisoning or would you blame a young teenage girl who no one likes and several kids in her High School refer to as a witch? In Mt. Oanoke, a small Pennsylvania town, as soon as the birds fall, things go from bad to worse. Lucia Hamm, is a teenager who is a social outcast. If it weren’t for the support of best friend Taylor and her teacher Nate Winters, she wouldn’t have anyone. It’s the support of her teacher however, that throws a wrench in everything as you can imagine. Nate is the cool Teacher and Coach. The guy who has his finger on the pulse of the High School. He has fake Facebook and Twitter accounts and knows what is going on with everyone. The parents in town love him. He’s Mr. Popular. The only person he’s not all that popular with is his wife Alecia. The reason? He’s hardly ever home and doesn’t seem all that interested in helping her take care of their special needs son, Gabe. Needless to say, it puts a strain on their marriage. After Nate is accused of having an affair with Lucia, well things get worse. Once she disappears, well you can imagine how things might go from there. The outlook for Nate? It’s not very good. Bridget Peterson is a teacher at the High School. She is also one of Nate and Alecia’s closest friends. She is the only one who believes Nate and she will stop at nothing to find out what happened to Lucia and prove Nate’s innocence. The story is told in alternating viewpoints: Lucia’s, Alecia’s, Bridget’s and Nate’s. It is very effective. That being said, “The Blackbird Season” was an enjoyable mystery which held my attention until the end, when my interest waned. I felt that there was just something missing, and I can’t quite put my finger on what. On the whole, I did enjoy it and would read other books by Ms. Moretti.Thank you to NetGalley, Atria Books and Kate Moretti for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.Published on NetGalley, Goodreads, Amazon, Twitter and Facebook on 10.22.17.

  • HollyB
    2018-09-06 08:48

    The Blackbird Season is a character driven, dark tale with transitioning POV between the 4 main characters (Alecia, Nate, Lucia and Bridget). It begins in a small town in Pennsylvania at a high school baseball game. An ominous event....dead starlings raining down. This will become a recurring theme throughout the book. The community is toxic in more ways than one. Lucia, a troubled and neglected teen-age girl is an outcast. Some of the other students have taunted her and labeled her a witch. Nate is a beloved and trusted teacher who becomes entwined in her personal life outside of school. Alecia is Nate's wife and wonders why he has taken such an interest in Lucia. Is it Lucia's wild white hair, her red lips, her youth? And then there is Bridget, a fellow teacher at the high school. She is a trusted friend of Nate and also Lucia's teacher. After Lucia goes missing, the accusations and questions abound. What happened to Lucia? Why was Nate with her at a seedy motel? Who is to be believed, to be trusted? Will Nate's wife and close friends defend him or question his involvement?The story is more of a mystery about what happened to Lucia. Although there were suspenseful moments, it was not an edge of your seat thriller in my opinion. Also, the mystery of why the birds fell was more of a omen than integral part of the story. It is very well written with some shocking revelations, but not the type of thriller I was expecting! If you enjoy a story where you are questioning why and who, this is one you will enjoy.Thank you to Netgalley/Atria books for ArcPublication date is September 26, 2017

  • Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
    2018-08-24 11:49

    EXCERPT: 'He felt sick. No matter what happened now, everything had just gotten worse. All the pieces he'd been clinging to had flown apart, scattering what was left of his life in a million directions. He was in trouble, he'd been in trouble, but now he was more than in trouble, he was as dead as a person could be while still being alive. In one heartbeat, he envisioned Alecia and Gabe huddled together on the couch, himself in prison, a 20/20 special. ....He had no way of knowing that this moment would become the linchpin, the moment that all the moments after would hinge upon. The papers would call him a murderer; the police would come to him; his ex-friends, his gym buddies, the guys who knew him for God's sake; and say, Nate was the last one to see her alive, right? The last one is always the guilty one.'THE BLURB: "Where did they come from? Why did they fall? The question would be asked a thousand times…Until, of course, more important question arose, at which time everyone promptly forgot that a thousand birds fell on the town of Mount Oanoke at all.”In a quiet Pennsylvania town, a thousand dead starlings fall onto a high school baseball field, unleashing a horrifying and unexpected chain of events that will rock the close-knit community.Beloved baseball coach and teacher Nate Winters and his wife, Alicia, are well respected throughout town. That is, until one of the many reporters investigating the bizarre bird phenomenon catches Nate embracing a wayward student, Lucia Hamm, in front of a sleazy motel. Lucia soon buoys the scandal by claiming that she and Nate are engaged in an affair, throwing the town into an uproar…and leaving Alicia to wonder if her husband has a second life.And when Lucia suddenly disappears, the police only to have one suspect: Nate.Nate’s coworker and sole supporter, Bridget Harris, Lucia’s creative writing teacher, is determined to prove his innocence. She has Lucia’s class journal, and while some of the entries appear particularly damning to Nate’s case, others just don’t add up. Bridget knows the key to Nate’s exoneration and the truth of Lucia’s disappearance lie within the walls of the school and in the pages of that journal.MY COMMENTS: I struggled somewhat to become involved with this book. I didn't particularly relate to any of the characters, which is not necessarily a problem. But I was just over 40% into the story before I began to feel any kind of real interest, a spark, and that didn't last long. The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti is told from four points of view, that of Alecia, Nate, Lucia and Bridget, which wasn't a problem. The characters are well portrayed and rounded out. Nate’s life revolves around his baseball team and his students, with his wife Alecia and autistic son Gabe trailing somewhere behind in his priorities. He is not a bad man. He is very involved in the lives of his students, who both like and trust him. As do their parents. If he has a fault, it is that he is naive and can be arrogant. Alecia's life is consumed by Gabe, their five year old autistic son. She is totally focused on finding a 'cure' for him, so that he can live a 'normal' life; so that she can live a normal life, so that she can be a soccer mum and one of the mums in the cliques at the school gate. She resents that she is stuck in the house every day while Nate is out there 'cavorting with his students' and monitoring their every move on social media. She resents that he seems to care more for them, than for his own wife and child. There is a recipe for trouble to start with. Add in Bridget Harris, Nate’s coworker and colleague, who is still depressed following the death of her husband, struggling with her job and who has always had a bit of a thing for Nate. And Lucia, trashy, blonde, abused and considered wierd Lucia who is randomly accepted and discarded by her classmates on a whim, and who has only ever had one true friend, Taylor. But even that is changing.I so wanted to be captivated by the 'haunting, psychologically nuanced suspense, filled with Kate Moretti’s signature “chillingly satisfying” (Publishers Weekly) twists and turns', but I wasn't. I regret to say that I didn't find it any of these things. Instead of suspense filled, I got angst filled. Disappointing? Yes, but if the book had been depicted more accurately, my expectations may not have been so high. Thank you to Atria Books via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Therefore if you enjoyed the excerpt above, please go ahead and read this book. For an explanation of my ratings, please visit my profile page on Goodreads.com or my 'about' page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com. This review and others are also published on my blog sandysbookaday.wordpress.com.

  • Matt
    2018-09-18 09:45

    First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Kate Moretti, and Atria Books for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.Having no previous knowledge of Moretti’s work, I was able to read this novel without preconceived notions. It is worth noting, though, I did falsely presume the premise of the story that would develop. When thousands of starlings fall from the sky in the sleepy Pennsylvania town of Mt. Oanoke, everyone is left baffled as to what it might mean and how it could have happened. The reader may feel ready to synthesise a story that plays directly into this phenomena, but the narrative takes an interesting turn, plunging into more heartfelt mysteries. Told from the perspectives of a few characters and using flashback chapters, the reader is able to meet Nate and Alecia Winters, who are struggling through parenting their autistic son, Gabe. Nate is the high school baseball coach and a teacher with whom many of the students have a close relationship. When an allegation arises that a high school student, Lucia Hamm, and Nate are having a sexual relationship, the town splits as authorities try to decipher what is going on. Added to the mix is the role of Bridget Harris, Lucia’s creative writer teacher, who has come to learn some of her darkest thoughts through an ongoing journaling assignment. As the story continues, the reader learns that this ‘starling’ event proves to be the dividing line between Nate’s apparent ‘institutional assault’ of Lucia and the fallout that leads to the girl going missing. Alecia is torn and unsure whether to support her husband, seeking to juggle the pointing when she is out in public with the realisation that Gabe might never be the ‘normal’ child she seeks. Lucia’s disappearance turns into an even darker mystery, one that will make the massive avian raining event seem like a distance memory. Moretti draws on the dramatic development of small-town living to create this thriller that leaves the reader wondering how things will come together. A great read for those who enjoy a sense of surprise enveloped in a mystery fuelled by fractured relationships.There is a great feel to this novel and Moretti’s writing, as it pulls the reader in from the outset. Without being able to compare it against some of her other work, I am left to offer my own independent sense of how things developed. While the seemingly core event, the starling mass death, opens the novel, it can soon be seen to take a backseat to the dramatic development of the alleged sexual relationship between Nate and Lucia. Moretti builds up all the characters, both central and surrounding, to reflect the news of this event, but also fleshes out a strong backstory to individualise them. Woven throughout the novel is the angst felt by teenagers as they grow into their own personalities and the struggles of trying to raise a child who does not fit easily into society’s notion of normalcy. However, there is also the exploration of a couple torn apart because of their diametrically opposed interests in the family dynamic and the ‘third wheel’ friend/teacher, who is able to glimpse into the struggles of the student mind and the pain of seeing a colleague lose his way in his broken marriage. In essence, it is placing love in its various forms under the literary microscope. The mystery, which develops throughout the novel, is less the birds than the disappearance of a young student, one who has an agenda to divorce herself from the world and struggles to accept that she is not the most important person to the man she adores. Moretti ties things up effectively and yet tosses a curve at the end, leaving the reader wondering how it all developed and what could have happened to precipitate such a drastic outcome. A novel that forces the reader to play an active role and choose sides, Moretti is surely an author who deserves much attention by those who enjoy the genre.Kudos, Madam Moretti, for taking me on this journey. I was left wondering throughout, both as it relates to the starlings and the larger town crisis. Like/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...

  • Brenda
    2018-09-06 10:31

    Traveling Sister Read with LindsayThe Blackbird Season is a dark, slow-burning, eerie, haunting, suspenseful psychological thriller with some great elements to make it a haunting read. A dying town where people know everything and will turn on each other without a care, an abandoned mill haunted by the loss of jobs and hope, dead birds, and a missing girl. We both really enjoyed those haunting elements to the story and found them to be unique and suspenseful. The Blackbird Season is a story of jealousy and obsession that explores the bonds of friendship, and marriage and the cruelty of teenagers. Kate Moretti does a great job bringing some layers and depth to this story of a missing girl where all eyes point to her teacher by adding a well-developed plot with his strained marriage to his wife and their son who has special needs. The dynamics and desperation of the dying town add to the depth of the story and allowed us to see how easy they can turn on each other. Kate Moretti cleverly had us guessing with whose truth is the truth and whose perception is the truth leaving us guessing throughout the story. She paces this all very well and we both didn’t figure the twists out until the very end. I won’t say much about how we felt about the ending as it would give too much away however overall we were satisfied.Thank you, NetGalley, Atria Books and Kate Moretti for a copy to read and review. Our full Traveling Sisters Review can be found on your sister blog:https://www.twogirlslostinacouleeread...

  • Kathryn
    2018-09-11 11:44

    The Blackbird Season has all the makings of a Lifetime thriller. Teacher accused of sleeping with his student. Student disappears. Police become involved. Fingers are pointed. Small-town secrets revealed. Scandal mounts. Marriages are rocked. Susan Lucci makes a cameo appearance……Okay, maybe the Susan Lucci bit was a tad of an exaggeration. Really though, this book is poised to become a love to hate-watch flick. The sheer volume of tropes contained within are staggering. We’ve got the Hometown Hero/Golden Boy, Most-Popular-Teacher, All-the-Students-Love-Him guy played by Nate. When Nate is accused of sleeping with one of his students, the death-obsessed, pseudo-goth, wrong-side-of-the-tracks Lucia, their small town ERUPTS. Could Everyone’s Favorite Teacher & Baseball Coach be capable of such depravity??? GASP. Who knows, but this wee hamlet’s mighty eager to raise their pitchforks. Add in heart-rending side-stories about Nate’s troubled marriage, autistic son and a co-worker coming to terms with her husband’s death and…..oh, what’s that noise? It’s the violins. They’re playing already. In and of itself, the writing is good. Kate Moretti can string together a sentence like a pro. She clearly intended The Blackbird Season to be a character-driven piece. Narration duties rotate between the four major players: Nate, Lucia, Bridget (aforementioned grieving co-worker), and Nate’s wife Alecia. In each section, a HUGE and I mean HUGE amount of time is spent on backstory and needless description. If I read one more passage on the town woods, I s2g….Character-driven doesn’t signify multiple paragraphs of flowery, pointless prose. And with all this extraneous STUFF the narrative thread was lost and story stalled. It simply became dull. And then there’s the characters…..there are morally gray characters, which I fully support, and then there are those who are simply unlikeable. Unfortunately too many of The Blackbird Season’s players tended toward the latter. It’s hard to feel much sympathy for Nate when he’s just so…..DUMB. The guy makes bad choice after bad choice. No, you SHOULDN’T go chasing after an 18-year-old girl. Especially, an 18-year-old girl who’s just told everyone you’re sleeping together. Especially AT NIGHT. Especially, IN THE WOODS. No, you SHOULDN’T buy said girl a motel room. NO, you SHOULDN’T share your personal cell number with your students. The list goes on and on. C’MON DUDE…...USE YOUR BRAIN. And then there’s Nate’s wife, Alecia. Man, I really wanted to like her. I mean, she’s a stay-at-home mother caring for a 5-year-old autistic child. That’s unbelievably difficult. I feel for her struggle. I tried to like her. But she just makes it so damn hard. She’s endlessly shrill, critical, and resentful. A friend delivers a cheesecake to her house and she’s ANNOYED. That’s Alecia in a nutshell. And when her HUSBAND has lifechanging, horrific accusations leveled at him, she just….BAILS. Or rather, kicks him out. He gets no benefit of the doubt. No faith. Nothing. “Why do you defend him so much? Like you don’t even think of taking my side?" The whine came out, petulant, and Alecia could hear it but couldn’t stop it. WHY DON’T YOU DEFEND HIM??? He’s your HUSBAND. And this sort of betrayal happens repeatedly throughout the book. There’s multiple instances of Alecia using this case as an outlet for her pent-up frustration with Nate. He doesn’t get a presumption of innocence. Not from his wife. He gets “Did he catch her? Kiss her? Kill her? Alecia had no idea.” Did you ever, even for just a moment, consider that maybe--just, maybe--your husband is innocent?Now, Nate’s no picnic. In addition to his blatant lack of common sense, he has the emotional maturity of a Kardashian. Read: not much. He acts like a manchild who’s in competition with his AUTISTIC SON for his wife’s attention. Grow up, bro. Really, the only redeemable character here is Bridget. And I just wanna say to her: RUN BRIDGET RUN!!!To sum up: good writing, but predictable plot & (mostly) irritating characters.Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for an advanced, complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

  • Book of Secrets ☘
    2018-08-27 09:55

    3.5 Stars → When hundreds of dead starlings fall out of the sky, curious reporters flock to the grim scene - a baseball field in a small, down-on-its-luck Pennsylvania town. The birds prove to be a bad omen for local high school teacher, Nate Winters. One of the reporters spots him with a student named Lucia at a seedy motel, and then Lucia disappears. His wife Alecia is already at her wits' end, and the accusations against her husband are too much to bear. It seems the only person Nate has to defend him is fellow teacher and friend, Bridget Harris, who's read Lucia's troubling journal in class.The mystery about what happened to Lucia was an intriguing one. The story is told by Nate, Alecia, Bridget, and Lucia in alternating chapters. Other than Bridget, none of them were particularly likable, thought their predicaments held my interest. Something that was a bit jarring was how the dates/time jumped around from chapter to chapter. I had to go back several times to remind myself when something previous had happened. I think with four POVs the time jumps got confusing.The setting of this book really stood out to me. The author captured the perfect dark and gritty atmosphere of a dying town with an abandoned mill. It gave me a feeling of unease throughout. I only wish the starlings had played a bigger part in the book. THE BLACKBIRD SEASON is a character-driven mystery with plenty of drama. Not a lot of big surprises, but it did keep me guessing.Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Selena
    2018-09-03 08:47

    Thank you NetGalley for an ebook copy of The Blackbird Season.The book was a little slow to start but was thrilled when it picked up. The writing and descriptions are so wonderfully done. I love how Kate Moretti wrote from different points of view from the characters (Nate, Lucia, Alecia and Bridget. The Blackbird Season is written with great suspense.

  • Zoe
    2018-09-02 10:33

    Ominous, haunting, and gritty!In this latest novel by Moretti, she transports us to Mt. Oanoke, Pennsylvania, a small town that suddenly finds itself turned upside down not only by a sudden infestation of dead birds, but a teacher-student scandal that will test the limits of marriages, friendships, and community alliances.The prose is chilling and eerie. The characters are multi-layered, damaged, and self-involved. And the plot told from multiple perspectives is ultimately a suspenseful ride riddled with poverty, familial drama, jealousy, obsession, abuse, love, infidelity, social strife, emerging sexuality, peer pressure, bullying, and murder.The Blackbird Season is a dark, disturbing, compelling read that will keep you on the edge of your seat right from the very start to the unexpected ending you won't see coming. And even though I didn't find the characters to be the most endearing the overall pace, mood, and atmosphere of this story still makes it a good one.Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.All my reviews can be found on my blog at http://whatsbetterthanbooks.com

  • Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
    2018-09-11 07:57

    A husband, a father, a teacher, a coach, and now a suspended teacher accused of having an affair with a student.Did it really happen, though, or did Lucia make it up? Nate was always involved with this students on a personal level and helped the ones who appeared to be in distress. Did this backfire on him?THE BLACKBIRD SEASON is mainly about the characters and their lives after the blackbirds fell and after Lucia disappeared. Did Lucia have anything to do with the blackbirds falling from the sky or did the blackbirds have anything to do with Lucia's disappearance? Her fellow students do call her a witch.THE BLACKBIRD SEASON is considered a thriller, but it didn't seem like a thriller to me. I saw it more as an investigation into people's lives and what some people have to go through on a daily basis or during a crisis.Addressing teenagers and their behavior was a major theme as well.The book has four main narrators, and we hear from each one and how each one is connected to each other and to the situation. The intrigue for me was in the behavior of the characters. The characters did grow on you toward the end as you became familiar with their lives instead of feeling annoyed with them.Nate seemed to be too helpful for his own good.Poor Alecia was so overwhelmed with her special needs child and had no clue about anything her husband, Nate, did.Bridget, still mourning the loss of her husband, seemed genuine and a bit shaky about the situation Nate was in since he was a good friend.Lucia was a troubled teenager with a bad home life and a teenager who needed attention and got attention in the wrong way.The flocks of blackbirds seemed to serve as the background for the ominous situations that occurred in the small, gossip-ridden, mill town of Mt. Oanoke, Pennsylvania. The book kept my interest because I wanted to see what happened to Lucia and if Nate would be found innocent. The suspense definitely was not edge-of-your-seat.If you enjoy digging into the lives of folks and their emotions along with a lot of questionable choices, THE BLACKBIRD SEASON should be a good read for you. Let me know what you think of this book. I started out with a rating of 3/5, but raised it to a 4/5 because the ending was suspenseful.This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and Net Galley in return for an honest review.

  • Lori Lamothe
    2018-09-14 14:41

    4.5 starsMt. Oanoke is a dying mill town where nothing happens—at least until opening day at the high school baseball field, when a thousand starlings fall out of the sky. Some blame the polluted air, others believe it’s an omen. Whether the dark rain is manmade or supernatural remains a mystery, but a series of disturbing events soon follows. A troubled teenage loner accuses Nate Winters, a popular teacher and coach, of having an affair with her. Not long afterward, she disappears. Is Nate an adulterer and a killer? Or is Lucia Hamm, the white-haired girl who finds dead blackbirds and reads tarot cards, exactly what her classmates say she is: a real-life witch who uses her power to ruin lives? "The Blackbird Season" is a fast-paced, well plotted psychological thriller that kept me reading. The shifting timeframes and points of view added a certain edginess to the story that I liked. The characters are complex, each with their own struggles, weaknesses and doubts. Though there were fewer chapters written from Lucia’s POV, her character drew me in more than the others. Alecia, Nate’s wife, who has left the corporate world to care for their autistic son, also appealed to me. At times Nate’s character seems too obtuse to be believable, but by the end of the book I wondered if those closest to him, and even Nate himself, may not understand who he really is. Finally, Moretti’s depiction of the town is richly drawn (no irony intended…). I grew up next to an old mill town and much of what she describes—the lack of jobs, the environmental damage, the drug issues, the longing to escape—rings true. This is the first novel I’ve read by Moretti and I look forward to reading more of her work. Much thanks to Atria Books and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  • Barbara
    2018-09-06 13:37

    3.5 starsAs the story opens, Nate Winters is a popular math teacher and baseball coach at Pennsylvania's Mt. Oanoke High School. Nate - a married father - takes a real interest in his students, and has helped some of his players get college opportunities. The town's goodwill for Nate goes down the tubes, though, after thousands of blackbirds plummet to their death in Mount Oanoke. As the strange phenomenon is being investigated, a slew of reporters descend on the area - and one snaps a photo of Nate hugging a pretty student outside a cheap motel. The student, Lucia Hamm, is a striking 18-year-old senior, with long white-blonde hair, black-rimmed eyes, and luscious red lips. Nate claims he was only helping a pupil in need.....a girl who couldn't go home. Lucia's mother ran off long ago, and her father left when the paper mill closed and he lost his job. Since then Lucia has been living in squalor with her violent, drug-addicted brother Lenny. When Lenny burns Lucia with a cigarette and hits her one too many times, she walks out for good. After the 'hug photo' hits the newspapers, Nate claims that Lucia called him for assistance, and he got her a motel room for one night - sending her to a shelter the next day. Nevertheless, Nate is suspended from his job pending an investigation.....and it doesn't help that Lucia'admits' they had sex. This news spreads through town like wildfire, making Nate a pariah among Mt. Oanoke parents. Nate hopes his wife, Alecia, will be more understanding - but she's not. Alecia is exhausted from caring for the couple's autistic, five-year-old son Gabe, and already believes Nate is more attentive to his students than his child. So when Alecia finds a sexy photo of Lucia on Nate's phone, and discrepancies in his story, it's the last straw. She throws him out. The only person on Nate's side is his colleague, English teacher Bridget Peterson. Nate and Alecia were 'couple friends' with Bridget and her husband Holden, until Holden died of cancer a year ago. This was shattering to the widow, who's been grief-stricken and distracted ever since.....especially at school. Lucia is in Bridget's creative writing class, and the girl's journal suggests she has serious problems. Moreover, many fellow students call Lucia a witch and avoid her. Bridget thinks Lucia isn't being entirely truthful about Nate, and sticks up for her friend as best she can. Soon after the 'photo incident' Lucia vanishes, and things go from bad to worse. The Mount Oanoke detectives seem to think Nate is involved in her disappearance, and the coach becomes more isolated than ever. The story is told from the alternating viewpoints of Alecia, Bridget, Lucia, and Nate, switching back and forth from 'before the blackbirds fell' to 'after the blackbirds fell.' We see what each character thinks and does, and learn something about their motivations. I was especially moved by Alecia's sections, which detail the difficulties involved in raising an autistic child: the need for constant attention; the meltdowns; the soiled pants; the lack of speech; the rigid routines; the numerous (expensive) therapies; and so on. Alecia is overwhelmed, and it's hard to see how she copes. This situation would put a strain on any marriage, especially when hubby doesn't help much at home. As for Lucia, she's in dire straits. The troubled girl has been living in poverty since the paper plant closed, and has little hope for a better future. When Nate is kind to her, and expresses interest in her well-being......well, let's say Lucia develops high hopes. In fact, there's an atmosphere of desperation throughout Mount Oanoke, where many young people long to get away, but don't see how - since money is scarce and college is costly. This drives a lot of the behavior in the tale. In Nate's chapters, we see how hard he tries to understand and assist his pupils, going so far as to follow them on social media.....a big no-no for teachers. One has to wonder about Nate's judgement here. Furthermore, the coach gets over-invested in boys who are offered baseball scholarships for college, which clouds his thinking. The 'sleuthing' sections of the story belong to Bridget, who thinks the Mount Oanoke detectives are biased against Nate. Bridget sets out to clear Nate's name, and gets some help from uniformed cop Tripp Harris - a long-time friend of the Winters' and Petersons. There's some attraction between Bridget and Tripp, which should appeal to romance lovers. :)The story's climax is believable, fits the plot, and explains everything.I enjoyed the book, which provides a realistic look at high school culture; a marriage in crisis; a grieving widow; and a town in decline. The characters are well-rounded and compelling, and I was interested in all of them. All in all, a good mystery, recommended to fans of the genre. Thanks to Netgalley, the author (Kate Moretti), and the publisher (Atria) for a copy of the book.You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....

  • Jasmine from How Useful It Is
    2018-09-17 13:34

    About: The Blackbird Season is a thriller written by Kate Moretti. It was recently published on 9/26/17 by Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, 352 pages. The genres are mystery, thriller, suspense, and fiction. My Experience: I started reading The Blackbird Season on 8/28/17 and finished it on 9/13/17. Reading this book is a bit of a push for me. The actions were tame and the story was slow paced. The accusation of student/teacher relationship got my attention as well as birds dropping dead from the sky, but other than that, there isn’t much going on. I do like the reminder of not knowing the truth about people and how the stars shine on the popular while the unpopular is lost in the shadows. I like Bridget and how seeking the truth matter to her. I like the small town where everyone knows each other’s business but I don’t like how depressing it is when everybody yearns to leave. This book is told in the third person point of view, following Nate Winters, a high school math teacher and baseball coach. Another point of view is Alecia Peterson, Nate’s wife and a stay-at-home mom to their autistic 5 year-old son, Gabe. The third point of view is Bridget Harris, creative writing teacher at the same high school and friends with Nate, still coping with the death of her doctor husband Holden Peterson who died from cancer a year ago. This book started out slow and is a bored to read until 28% later. Change started to occur after thousands of black birds dropped dead from the sky. People in the small town are worried, businesses and schools closed for a week, Alecia has a breakdown, Nate transformed from everybody’s best friend to the most hated guy in town, and Bridget is going through the motions. Then Alecia was questioned by a local reporter about her teacher husband Nate and his affair with a student. The fourth point of view is Lucia Hamm, a senior at the high school, nicknamed “the witch” is a troubling student with a broken home life. Each chapter has a date so it switch back and forth to the past and the present. Nate is the kind of person that helps people even though his family is struggling with bills to pay, he would still help others who are more unfortunate than he is. Everyone loves him and he has many friends so when out of the blue he’s being accused of an affair with a student, almost everyone turns their back on him, except one person..The mystery in this book lasts a long time. There weren’t much interesting actions happening. Mostly Alecia having trouble with her autistic son and Bridget’s losing herself, taking random turns. Each person’s view is a bit depressing and there isn’t anything interesting reading about them. This book talks a lot and in so many ways about the old mill, an added bored to the adults’ boring lives. I like the ending. I was able to guess who did it. If you are looking for a small town mystery, this book is for you!Pro: mystery, third person point of view, cover,Con: confusing when Alecia’s and Holden’s last name are both Peterson, slow start, too much focus on the adults’ boring lives and the millI rate it 3.5 stars!***Disclaimer: Many thanks to the author Kate Moretti, publisher Atria Books, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity to host a blog tour! Please be assured that my opinions are honest.xoxo, Jasmine at www.howusefulitis.wordpress.com for a detailed review

  • Carrie
    2018-09-19 08:48

    Nate Winters is the teacher at the local high school that everyone loves, he coaches baseball and is always there for his students. Alicia, Nate's wife, wishes that her husband would put a little more into their family than he does his students as she struggles to raise their autistic son. One day in their quite Pennsylvania town a thousand dead starlings fall onto a high school baseball field which in turn unleashes an unexpected chain of events. As one of the reporters sent to investigate the phenomenon catches Nate embracing a student the story in town quickly changes. Lucia Hamm, the student Nate was seen with quickly jumps on the story making the claim that she is having an affair with the coach. As the town divides between those who believe Nate's innocence or guilt things take an even worse turn when Lucia disappears.The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti is a psychological thriller that is told from multiple points of view of the four main characters in the story of Alicia, Nate, Lucia, and Bridget. Alicia is the struggling wife of Nate who is accused of an inappropriate relationship with a student, Lucia, and Bridget is a co-worker of Nate's that knows Lucia and doesn't believe that Nate could possibly be guilty of the crime. The story is also told with flashing back to build up to the events in the current but was still easy to follow along. Picking up this book I had noticed plenty of good reviews on it so I had some high expectations going into the story. For me I'd say this one could be a bit on the wordy side though which at times could slow down the pace of the story being a bit over descriptive or seeming to cover some of the same things as the point of view changed. Also, I tend to have my guesses in this type of read and didn't find the ending to be too shocking as it was an early guess of mine. In the end I'd give The Blackbird Season 3.5 stars and thought this one was a solid thriller that many will enjoy. I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.wordpress....

  • Theresa Alan
    2018-09-10 11:54

    Moretti’s work gets better and better. This novel is suspenseful as promised: Did beloved teacher and coach Nate Winters rape a troubled female student? If not, will he get off, and if so, how? But I think what makes this such a good novel is the way Moretti portrays the subtle challenges of human nature. A marriage already under strain because Nate’s wife, Alecia, has been overwhelmed by taking care of the needs of their autistic now-five-year-old son. Alecia finds clues that make her doubt Nate’s side of the story. Nate, wanting everyone to love him and making stupid decisions because of it (but if characters/people always made good decisions, there would be no such thing as suspense novels). Then, there are the newly strained friendships because people don’t know whom to believe. Now, when Alecia and Nate need support from friends and from each other more than ever, they don’t have it.The story is told going back and forth in time from an odd day when hundreds of starlings fell from the sky to a baseball field, bringing dozens of reporters into town. It’s also told from the multiple points of view of Nate and Alecia, as well as creative writing teacher Bridget, a good friend to them both, and Lucia, the student who levels the charge to one of the reporters in town. Also, a side note: Everywhere else the wife’s name is spelled Alicia, but in the advanced copy I received from NetGalley, it was spelled Alecia—who knows how it will be spelled in the version that WILL RELEASE SEPTEMBER 26, but, in any case thanks to NetGalley for the advanced copy!For more of my reviews, please visit: http://www.theresaalan.net/blog

  • Jaime
    2018-09-19 12:59

    The Blackbird Season pulled me in from the very first word, sentence, chapter. I was hooked. I usually read more than 1 book at a time and I was putting the others down so that I can get through this one cause it was just that good. In a quiet Pennsylvania town, a thousand dead starlings fall onto a high school baseball field, unleashing a horrifying and unexpected chain of events that will rock the close-knit community.Beloved baseball coach and teacher Nate Winters and his wife, Alecia, are well respected throughout town. That is, until one of the many reporters investigating the bizarre bird phenomenon catches Nate embracing a wayward student, Lucia Hamm, in front of a sleazy motel. Lucia soon buoys the scandal by claiming that she and Nate are engaged in an affair, throwing the town into an uproar…and leaving Alecia to wonder if her husband has a second life.And when Lucia suddenly disappears, the police only to have one suspect: Nate.Nate’s coworker and sole supporter, Bridget Harris, Lucia’s creative writing teacher, is determined to prove his innocence. She has Lucia’s class journal, and while some of the entries appear particularly damning to Nate’s case, others just don’t add up. Bridget knows the key to Nate’s exoneration and the truth of Lucia’s disappearance lie within the walls of the school and in the pages of that journal.Told from the alternating points of view of Alecia, Nate, Lucia, and Bridget, The Blackbird Season is a haunting, psychologically nuanced suspense, filled with Kate Moretti’s signature “chillingly satisfying” (Publishers Weekly) twists and turns.The story was dated from when the blackbirds fell and it would go back in the past and after the falling of the blackbirds. It was not confusing as I would usually find these type of books. The story was easy to follow, easy to read and get lost in. Kate Moretti writes so good that you cannot help but feel the story and the characters who are involved. Kate Moretti incorporated social media and a special needs child into the story which made it feel even more realistic for the readers to connect to the story and its characters. If you haven't added to your list of book to read and if you haven't pre-ordered yet (release date is September 26) then you should do it asap! You will not regret and you will thank me later. Sincere thanks to Netgalley, Publisher Atria Books, and author Kate Moretti for the advance reader's copy of The Blackbird Season.

  • Amy
    2018-08-25 13:35

    The Blackbird Season is one of those books that had me gripped from the first page, there was something mesmerizing about this one, I was completely caught up in the lives of the residents of Mount Oanoke, Pennsylvania. I was so curious about the starlings and wondered how this bizarre event would tie into the story, almost as much as I was wondering what happened to Lucia…This is told from four different perspectives and shifts back and forth over a few weeks. I don’t think any of the lead characters are super likable and their reliability is questionable, but I found myself relating wholeheartedly to Alicia. Her five year old son is autistic and I found myself nodding my head vigorously anytime she talked about her hopes, fears and worries for her son. Being a special needs mom to a kiddo with autism is the biggest challenge (and biggest gift!) I’ve ever faced in my life and Moretti captured the constant daily struggles absolutely perfectly, a truly accurate portrayal, bravo! While I made have had the strongest connection with Alicia all of the characters are extremely well crafted with strong, distinct voices. The setting and overall mood is fantastic, there is a mystical, otherworldly vibe right from the start. There is an ominous feeling surrounding this bleak town creating an atmosphere that was haunting and even sinister at times. Mount Oanoke is a small town full of secrets and that will always grab my attention, and on top of that Moretti is a really outstanding writer. This has a slower pace with a steady buildup and while it doesn’t have many edge of your seat moments, the ending did ramp up the tension and intrigue, I was very engrossed. The Blackbird Season is an intelligent mystery with an eerie energy, this would be a fun one to add to your October TBR, it’s totally perfect for a fall read.All of my reviews can be found on www.novelgossip.com

  • Erin Clemence
    2018-08-27 10:55

    Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free, electronic ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. It starts with falling birds. In Kate Moretti’s “Blackbird Season” throngs of blackbirds fall out of the sky, for no apparent reason causing a small but temporary panic in a Pennsylvania town. When reporters show up to investigate the mysterious occurence, one reporter catches what she believes to be the local high school baseball coach (and English teacher) wrapped in an embrace with a student. Soon, rumours fly. When the student disappears, the townspeople’s speculations go from bad to worse- Nate Winters may now be a murderer. As Nate’s colleagues and friends choose sides, and his wife struggles to figure out where the truth lies, the birds are forgotten. But why then did the missing girl draw pages and pages of blackbirds in her journal right before she disappeared?I have never read Moretti before, although I know of her work (she is one of those “perpetual TBR” authors, for some reason I just keep neglecting to pick up her novels). This finally changed with “Blackbird Season”.With an unpredictable plot and honest characters, Moretti’s novel is suspense-fueled and drama-ridden. The novel is told from alternating viewpoints (Nate, his wife Alecia, Nate’s colleague Brigette, and the missing girl Lucia) and from alternating time periods (before the birds fell, and after). I enjoyed the different viewpoints with this novel but the different time periods made the story slightly more difficult to keep track of (possibly, as always, due to this being an electronic version). There was also quite a bit of characters to sort through, but the task became less daunting as the novel went on. The teenage angst-ridden characters were genuine and I can appreciate the effort Moretti put into getting every detail right, even down to their slang and language use. I also adored the character of Gabe, Nate and Alecia’s autistic son. Props to Moretti for also being honest, and open, with Gabe’s behaviours and diagnosis. She clearly knows her stuff. I enjoyed the novel, and the ending was unpredictable yet satisfying. The ups and downs of each chapter and the different “truths” that ran through the novel (depending on the point of view) made the novel captivating. I loved the broken down small town setting of this novel too, and the importance Moretti gave to the closure of the town’s paper mill- its primary employer. I would’ve loved to have seen the birds actually play a more significant part. Although a possible cause of the deaths of the birds was given, there was a lot of speculation and I would’ve enjoyed it more if a plot twist had been incorporated that would’ve wrapped this plot point up succinctly. Especially since that is, based on the title, what the book is about. A thoroughly good read, overall. Romance, suspense, drama and intrigue portrayed by genuine characters in a realistic setting. This story has piqued my interest and in fact I may now explore Moretti’s other novels.

  • Erin *Help I’m Reading and I Can’t Get Up*
    2018-08-28 09:52

    2.5 stars. Some nice character and relationship work; I really enjoyed Bridget, in particular. Ultimately, though, the book needs editing: it’s definitely too long, and there are a few misused colloquialisms I noticed (though of course I forgot to mark them for this review 🙄🙄🙄). I also wish the author had done more with the tarot concept— that could have been so cool, but in the end it fell so flat. Call Maggie Stiefvater, girl, she’ll teach you how to write amazingly witchy women ❤️

  • Heather
    2018-09-03 10:44

    Ugggghhhh, blehhhhhh, mehhhhh, urgggggg. Eh. This book. THIS BOOK. Eck. UGH. WHY is there SO much going on in this story, guys?! WHY? So much, too much, STUFF. Stuff that I didn't feel was necessary. Stuff that didn't further the plot in any way. Am I going to detail what stuff didn't belong? No, because I don't care about it. I'll admit this book kept me interested simply because I didn't know who did what deed. I wanted to know. I wanted to know, not because the story was good but because I'm a VERY curious human being who needs answers. Gimme all the answers! But HOT DAMN, even the outcome was disappointing. Talk about anti-climatic. Holy shcnikes. *SIGH* Even though my curiosity helped me get through the book, I never really felt like I wanted to get back to reading it. Several times I found myself reading paragraphs at a time, but never really absorbing what I had just read. I really, really don't like that. The characters were hollow and lack luster and just plain unlikable. All of them. I didn't like a single character in this entire book. I'm not sure that's ever happened to me with a book before. I also didn't like the style of writing. It didn't flow easily, and I had to re-read a lot of sentences because the sentence structure made no sense to me. Also, excuse my language here, but the shit with the birds and the magic? What the fuck was that about?! Total bullshit. The Blackbird Season seems like a very irrelevant name for this story. ARGH.To finalize, I'm giving this 2 (really probably 1.5, rounded up) stars instead of one, because this book had great potential, and I read the whole thing not knowing for sure who did what. I really do think it could have been a wonderful suspense novel, had multiple minuscule sub-plots been completely removed, had some (or even just one) characters been likeable and the writing more refined. I would probably give another Kate Moretti book a shot, but I'd be wary for sure. I also had a friend-- Hi, Ammar! -- ask if I would recommend this, and my answer is [obviously] absolutely not. Sorry, Kate.I understand my review is in stark contrast to others opinions of this, but that's just it -- it's my opinion and mine alone. This book frustrated me, bored me and made me angry in a strange way. I just really didn't enjoy it. Just because I recommend not reading it, doesn't mean you shouldn't still give it a try if it looks interesting enough to you.

  • Mogsy (MMOGC)
    2018-09-16 11:32

    2 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2017/10/15/...Maybe the publisher description led me to expect too much, or perhaps my standards for mystery-thrillers are simply much higher than they were before after reading so many fantastic novels in the genre this year. Whatever the case, The Blackbird Season just didn’t do it for me. To use one of my favorite phrases, everything about this book was “aggressively mediocre”—the mystery wasn’t too mysterious, the thrills weren’t that thrilling, and overall nothing about it really stood out.If only the story had been as intriguing as the blurb promised. In the quiet mill town of Mt. Oanoke, Pennsylvania, the opening day of the high school baseball season is suddenly interrupted when a thousand dead starlings started raining from the sky. No one knows why it happened, but the disturbing phenomenon will soon also herald a series of unexpected events that will turn this small community upside down. It all begins when popular teacher, baseball coach, and—by all accounts—happily married husband and father Nate Winters is accused of having an affair with a student. The teenager in question is Lucia Hamm, a troubled loner whose white hair and obsession with death and the occult have led her classmates at school to nickname her the town witch.Nate, however, is insistent on his innocence, claiming that he was simply being concerned with the wellbeing of his students, helping Lucia through some problems at home. His only crime is caring too much, he protests, and that everyone has merely gotten the wrong idea based on some blurry photos and vague text messages. But his wife Alecia Winters is not so certain. She knows beneath the “nice guy” façade, her husband is hiding many secrets, like the fact that he follows his students anonymously on social media, or that he can be an insufferable flirt. Their marriage is also on the rocks, worsening as Nate is suspended from work due to the investigation and Alecia is close to a nervous breakdown trying to care for their autistic five-year-old son. Then the unthinkable happens. Lucia disappears without a trace, and suddenly the allegations of rape turn into accusations of murder. As the whole town turns their backs on Nate, only one person has faith that he is innocent—Bridget Harris, a creative writing teacher at the school and also Nate’s trusted friend, who believes she has the evidence that would exonerate him.The Blackbird Season wasn’t terrible, but for a mystery-thriller novel, it did fail the most important test of being exciting and fun. You can’t just throw together a bunch of good ideas and expect the magic to happen, there needs to be some follow through too, and this is where I feel the story faltered. For example, I was disappointed that the book blurb made such a big deal out of the mass death of starlings, which in the end turned out to be a peripheral event and played no essential role in the plot. Ultimately, it felt like a distraction to divert from the uncomfortable truth: that this story is just not that interesting.On top of that, the pacing was sluggish and the characters were either too bland or too unlikeable to care about. Eventually, everything took on the feel of a made-for-TV drama, from the predictable small-town dynamics to the superficial protagonists with their perfunctory and clichéd flaws. First off, we have Nate, an all-around nice guy who is also incredibly naïve, to the point where actual uncertainty is created about his motives because you’re always thinking to yourself, “Surely no one can be this big of an idiot!” Too bad this was not the kind of suspense I was looking for. Next is Alecia, who I feel for because of her struggles as a mother with a disabled child who doesn’t get as much support as she needs. That said, she’s also so petulant, shallow, and bitter that it’s hard to relate to anything she says or does. I know that unlikeable character are pretty standard for the genre, but wow, this book was taking it to a whole other level.The format also didn’t really work for me, though to be fair, I am often conflicted when it comes to narratives that bounce back and forth between past and present. I might have been more forgiving if the story hadn’t been such a slow-burn to begin with or if the mystery had been more compelling, but at the end of the day, the shifting timelines and changes in POVs only served to drag the pacing down some more. The final nail in the coffin though, was the ending. Predictable and anticlimactic, it didn’t leave me satisfied at all.It’s lamentable, really, how much more The Blackbird Season could have been. It was not at all what I expected when I picked it up, feeling in the mood for a psychological thriller and hoping that this one would be a fast-paced heart-pounding read. At least the writing was fantastic, and I took no issue with Kate Moretti’s prose. To her credit, I had a pretty good idea of what she was trying to accomplish, but unfortunately it just didn’t quite happen for me. Hopefully, others will have better luck than me with this one.

  • Liz Barnsley
    2018-09-13 11:55

    A classically good take on the small town character drama, with a hint of psychological thriller and a huge dose of atmosphere - Kate Moretti takes us on a journey through the underbelly of school and town life, one damaged girl makes one huge accusation and everything changes....I love tales like this - morally ambiguous possibilities, many shades of grey and questions of trust - is Nate a lovable laid back guy who simply cares too much about the kids in his care or something much more nefarious? Is the girl a liar or a victim? As Nate, his wife, and his close friend traverse the waters of an investigation that is both official and not so much, the truth is obfuscated and the ripples are far reaching.Some great writing here that really allows us to see all the characters's edges but without making them definitive - it makes for a great page turner as you are never quite sure where any of them might end up. We all draw different lines in the sand, the truth of a person is never found in any one action but in the whole and this is a theme explored well here.Overall a really great, intriguing and hugely readable novel that makes me want to read more immediately from Kate Moretti. Handy as I have The Vanishing Year here somewhere...Recommended.

  • Kristy
    2018-09-20 07:32

    It's just another day in Mount Oanoke, Pennsylvania when the birds start to fall. Hundreds of dead starlings, dropping from the sky during a baseball game. It seems like the birds started it all, but really the secrets and lies began much earlier. Nate Winters, high school teacher and baseball coach, is beloved in the town. That is, until a reporter, in town to cover the birds, catches Nate hugging a student at a local motel. Suddenly, the birds are forgotten, and the story becomes much juicier: Nate; his student, Lucia; and their supposed affair. Lucia fuels the fire by affirming the affair and suddenly Nate and his wife, Alecia, are swept up in the story. The only who believes in Nate's innocence, even a sliver, is his friend and co-worker, Bridget. As Lucia's creative writing teacher, she has unique insight into the girl's mind. But when Lucia suddenly goes missing--with Nate as the prime suspect in her disappearance--not even Bridget may be able to save Nate. But is there more to Lucia's disappearance than an affair with her teacher? Wow, I was really impressed by this novel. It's a complicated novel that is just as much a character-driven study as it is a mystery. It's incredibly well-written, and Moretti expertly embodies the voice of each of her characters, from beleaguered Alecia, who is worn down from mothering her autistic son, Gabe; to the cast of teenager characters; to Bridget, who lost her husband to cancer a year ago. It's so well-done that often with each chapter (which skip from various points of view -- Bridget, Kate, Lucia, Nate, etc.), I found my myself veering between whom I preferred or believed, constantly second-guessing my allegiances or what happened. This is very rare for me: typically I find my "person" in a novel and stick with them, no matter what. But here, I was confused, wondering. Was Nate really a cad, who cheated on his wife every second he got, or was he the sweet, affable teacher and baseball coach that the whole town admired and adored? And Alecia--was she more than just a weary mom, broken down by years of staying at home with her autistic son, Gabe, unable to give to anyone beyond him? Did she push Nate away, into the arms of others? Or was the truth more complicated that all of this? I have to hand it to Moretti--she was excellent at creating confusion and doubt. In addition to different perspectives, the novel shifts in time (before the birds fell, after the birds fell, before Lucia disappeared, etc.). It's a little tough to keep track of, but it also keeps you on your toes and always wondering, as you piece various parts of the puzzle together. For me--even more than the mystery of what exactly happened with Lucia--the strength of this novel was the writing and the characters. I felt for them, even when I was frustrated with them. Moretti captures the angst and meanness of high school extremely well, portraying the cliques of a small town quite superbly. (I was reminded of WHEN WE WERE WORTHY, which I just finished.) I loved the juxtaposition of this being a small town, so the idea is that everyone knows everyone and everything, and yet there are so many secrets, so much unknown. Being a witness to Alecia and Nate's marriage is amazing-- you see firsthand how the events affect them and how they've reached this point. It's an incredibly realistic portrayal of marriage and of motherhood. As you probably tell, I just really liked this novel. It's very well-written, with quite compelling characters. I worked out some of the plot, but it didn't stop me from reading at all. I think some of the emphasis on character development slows the story at places, but not in any detrimental way. This one will make you think, as well as intrigue you with what happened to Lucia. Quite worth the read. 4+ stars. I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and Netgalley (thank you!) in return for an unbiased review; it is available everywhere as of 09/26/2017. Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Google+ ~ Instagram

  • Sonja Yoerg
    2018-09-20 10:56

    Small town secrets spell big-time trouble in Moretti's newest nail-biter. In all her books, Moretti is skilled at assembling a great cast of characters and spinning a web around them, a web that you can see but never quite understand until the last twist in the silk has been spun. But in The Blackbird Season, Moretti takes her art to another level, ushering us into the troubled lives of her characters, slowly revealing their broken hearts and tortured souls, making us despair for their futures and, at the same time, root for their salvation. Good suspense makes you turn the pages. Great suspense does the same, but you hate yourself for not slowing down to make the story last and last.

  • Bam
    2018-08-31 14:47

    Mt Oanoke, PA, is a dying mill town where nothing much happens...until the day that hundreds of blackbirds fall from the sky and popular high school teacher and baseball coach, Nate Winters, is accused of having an affair with a student. Nate is the kind of teacher who deeply cares about his students--did he take that caring a step too far with the troubled Lucia Hamm? Does he have some kind of savior complex? His wife, Alecia, doesn't know what to believe and asks him to move out so she can have the time and space to sort it all out. She has her hands full with their special needs son, five-year-old Gabe. Their marriage has been a bit rocky of late, with Nate feeling neglected, as if they are now merely parents instead of being the intimate, loving couple they once were. Has he sought love elsewhere?When Lucia goes missing, Nate is suspected of doing away with her. Bridget Peterson, the Winters' friend and Nate's fellow teacher, is determined to find out the truth but can one ever know 'the deep down truth' about anybody?The story is told from multiple points of view while skipping back and forth across the timeline of the case (which can be a bit confusing.) But Kate Moretti does an excellent job of building suspense and getting into the heads of her rather unlikeable characters. Coincidentally, this is the second newly-released book about a beloved teacher being accused of improper behavior with a student that I've read this week, the other being The Best Kind of People. That book focuses mainly on how the accusations tear up the lives of the accused's family and friends. In both cases, there is a rush to judgment, a taking of sides, ignoring the legal concept of 'innocent until proven guilty.'Many thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and author for providing me with an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Janelle
    2018-09-07 14:41

    THE BLACKBIRD SEASON by Kate Moretti -Summary:Nate and Alecia Winters live in the quiet town of Mt. Oanoke, Pennsylvania. Nate is a beloved teacher and baseball coach, while Alecia primarily takes care of their 5-year-old autistic son. One day, thousands of blackbirds fall from the sky to their death. Some believe it’s a bad omen, as it marks the beginning of a sequence of unfortunate events that cause an upheaval in the town. Nate is accused of having an affair with a student, Lucia Hamm, an allegation he denies. Adding suspicion, a reporter who is investigating the bird phenomenon encounters Nate and Lucia outside of a motel room. As this scandal is unleashed, Alecia wonders if her husband is as innocent as he claims. And when Lucia mysteriously disappears, the police narrow their focus on Nate as their sole suspect. Nate does have an ally in all of this: his friend and coworker Bridget, who is determined to prove his innocence. When she finds Lucia’s journal, she knows the truth lies somewhere within those pages.My Review:The Blackbird Season is a perfectly paced, atmospheric, character-driven story. There is so much depth to each character that any one of them could be the lead in their own novel. Written from multiple points of view, I started out not sure if I would like any of the characters, but by the end, I liked them all. I love the way the book immediately draws you into the mystery, and from there, slowly builds layer by layer with new clues as to what happened. Although this is not a nail biter, you will be compelled to keep reading to find out what happens next.These interesting and sometimes dark characters, along with the mysterious backdrop of thousands of dead birds, creates a very ominous setting. Overall, Moretti writes a very dark, mysterious, and creepy novel that I would categorize as a perfect psychological thriller. Plus the ending was outstanding!For more reviews, please visit my blog at https://shereadswithcats.com