Flyaway – Lucy Christopher (2010)

Flyaway is a novel following the story of Isla a bird lover whose life is turned upside down when her dad suffers a heart attack. The novel begins with the two of them scampering out in the middle of the night to watch as the swans arrive back to nest after their migration. Even during the opening a sense of wonder is instilled in the reader with her fathers seemingly all knowing power of when the swans will be arriving back. Expository detail is being littered from the start and foreshadows events to come, the shocking pain of the swans being ripped from the sky is the pain that Isla feels when her father is struck down from the heart attack.

When in the hospital Isla meets Harry Brambling, a teenager who is suffering from leukaemia and helps Isla to deal with and try to comprehend the strange events that seem to be happening when a lone swan settles in the pond behind the hospital. The fascination that Isla has with the swan intensifies as the novel progresses. It is a clear yet thought out representation if Isla’s and her fathers “clipped wings” and once Isla is able to fly again with the support of Harry her father begins to make his recovery.

The school project was the push needed for Isla to fully commit to the project of creating the swan wings. The added school life was a nice extra and showed how different situations effect the school life. With her friend leaving she has already started to withdraw into herself and it is only with the arrival of Harry that she begins to come out of her shell. By including a school environment Christopher is able to show all important aspects of a teenage life, love, school and family.

Christopher has captured the mindset of the teenage girl well, the sudden emotional outbursts, the impulsive nature and the want to be with parents. The conflict between Isla and her borther shows the two sides of a family disaster, while Isla is very in tune with her feelings towards it her brother seems to be in a case of self denial about what is happening. It is only through Isla’s harsh words that he is able to see his denial by thrusting himself into his friends and girlfriend.

This review may be shorter than previous ones, the book for me was an emotional roller coaster while for others it may be a journey of learning to see your potential. This has been one of the best books that I have read however it is not one I will be reading again any time soon.

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