The name alone of this book is enough to make you want to pick up and read it. Claybird Catts is a naive boy with dyslexia who is in special ed classes because of his learning challenges. He lives in the shadow of an older brother and sister and just doesn't seem to fit in. His world is turned upside down when his father dies of cancer. His mother, always an odd one, who sleeps during the day and wanders the grounds at night has been labeled a vampire, by Claybird's closest friends and classmates. This seems fitting because the affluent family lives in a large, old mansion with a spooky atmosphere.
But when Claybird's long lost and estranged uncle comes home following Claybird's father's death, family secrets come to light. He learns the painful truth which explains some of his mother's bizzare behavior. But there is shame and anger to be dealt with as well. Claybird must quickly grow up as he comes to grip with what's happened both in the past and the present.
Janis Owens has written an enjoyable coming of age story in southern fiction tradition.This book is the third in a trilogy but I had no idea it was when I read it and frankly, it can stand on its own, unlike most books in a series. I give this 4 and a half stars.