The Desperate Adventures of Zeno and Alya

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An orphaned African grey parrot who can speak 127 words. A girl so sick she has forgotten what it means to try. Fate––and a banana nut muffin––bring them together. Will their shared encounter help them journey through storms inside and out? Will they lose their way, or will they find what really matters? Here is a story that will remind readers how navigating so many of life’s desperate adventures requires friendship and, above all, hope.

“Two hurting souls––an African grey parrot nervously plucking out its feathers, and an 11- year-old Brooklyn girl enduring treatments for leukemia––recognize themselves as kindred spirits. Kelley moves seamlessly between Zeno and Alyaʼs perspectives, capturing their humor, fear, desperation, and hope, while occasionally offering the viewpoints of supporters like Alyaʼs brother and Zenoʼs new bird acquaintances. An uplifting story of courage, resilience, and cross- species friendship.”  ––Publishers’ Weekly 

“The story is alternately told in Zeno’s and Alya’s voices, and both characters are compelling, believable, and likable. Sprinkled with humor, particularly with Zeno’s gaps in vocabulary, the plot is fast paced and will appeal to a wide range of readers as they root for a satisfying ending for both the bird and the young girl.” —School Library Journal