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Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen
Magical realism

Other Birds

by Sarah Addison Allen

Quick take

This enchanting novel follows the quirky, soulful stories of the unlikely neighbors in a magical apartment complex.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_SlowRead

    Slow build

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Supernatural


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Quirky


  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Rural_update



Between the real and the imaginary, there are stories that take flight in the most extraordinary ways.

Right off the coast of South Carolina, on Mallow Island, The Dellawisp sits—a stunning old cobblestone building shaped like a horseshoe, and named after the tiny turquoise birds who, alongside its human tenants, inhabit an air of magical secrecy.

When Zoey comes to claim her deceased mother’s apartment on an island outside of Charleston she meets her quirky and secretive neighbors, including a girl on the run, two estranged middle-aged sisters, a lonely chef, a legendary writer, and three ghosts. Each with their own story. Each with their own longings. Each whose ending isn’t yet written.

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Other Birds.

Why I love it

When you find an author you love, and they publish a new book after many years away, cracking open the first page is like sinking into the arms of an old friend. I wanted to read this book slowly, absorbing each word carefully, yet I found myself rapidly thumbing through the pages with tears in my eyes. Other Birds is the story we all need right now, lyrical and heartbreaking and layered with hope. This book casts an unmistakable spell on its readers, and Allen writes with prose that feels like pure alchemy, as if each sentence were a summoning of autumn air and long-forgotten magic.

The story begins when eighteen-year-old Zoey arrives at her deceased mother’s home on the island of Mallow, which is known for its marshmallow confections. A cobblestone, horseshoe-shaped building called the Dellawisp—named after a variety of local birds—becomes Zoey’s unlikely home. The other residents who live in the Dellawisp are a curious mélange of outcasts, ghosts, and birds, but on the first night, when one of her neighbors is found dead, Zoey’s quiet summer becomes something quite extraordinary. And soon enough, the other residents of the Dellawisp become a found-family that Zoey never expected.

If I could rent a condo in the Dellawisp for the summer I’m certain I’d never leave. This book is more than the sum of its parts . . . there is something hidden among the margins of white paper and black ink—true sorcery that only Sarah Addison Allen can master. As she has done with all her previous books, she infuses a rawness and humanity into this delicate genre of magical realism that reminds me why storytelling is true magic. In short, this book is comfort food of the sweetest kind.

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Member ratings (19,994)

  • Carrie K.

    Morgantown, WV

    There are no mistakes in this world and it’s no mistake that I finished this book on the same day as the full moon eclipse in Taurus when it’s time for me to let go of the ones I’ve been holding on to

  • Cynthia M.

    Wisconsin Rapids, WI

    Grab a cup of pumpkin spice chai and curl up with this book. Zoey and her invisible bird, Pigeon are headed to Mallow Island to the condo Zoey’s mom left her when she passed away. Sweet and twisty!❤️

  • Tifarah Q.

    Woodcreek, TX

    I love all of Sarah’s book with their Practical Magic like magic. I’ve read her first four books multiple times and this one will probably be added. This one hit close to home with the grief aspects.

  • Stephanie O.

    La mesa, CA

    Honestly one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. I just finished after picking it up 2 days ago & I bawled like a baby at the end. Less quirky than I thought it’d be but an absolute must read.

  • Chris M.

    New Braunfels, TX

    “There are birds and then there are other birds. Maybe they don’t sing, don’t fly, don’t fit in. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather be an other bird than just the same old thing.”