Received: ARC to review for VOYA
Rating: 4.0/5.0 stars
Thirteen-year-old Isla and the rest of her family wait every year for the wild swans to return to her Granddad’s lake, indicating that winter is right around the corner. However, ever since
Nan, Isla’s grandmother, passed away six years ago, the swans have not been returning to the lake. Just as Isla and her father hear the swans coming, they race towards them and tragedy strikes. Isla’s father falls to the ground, has a heart attack, is rushed to the hospital, and remains there for quite awhile in critical care. Isla is deeply impacted by this event and deals with feelings of uncertainty, sadness, and fear.
While visiting her father in the hospital, two “big” events happen in Isla’s life. First, she witnesses a swan that has lost her flock. Isla worries that the swan is somehow hurt, making her unable to fly and return to her flock before they migrate without her. Isla decides that it is her mission to help this swan and thinks doing so will not only make her feel better, but will help her father recover, since he is so passionate about the swans. The second “big” event in Isla’s life happens when she meets a boy, Harry, who is right around her age and is a patient in the cancer ward. Although they initially start off as friends that are both interested in watching and helping the swan, there is very innocent crush and romance that begins to occur, but it is in no way, shape, or form over the top. Isla must face the same uncertainty she has about her father’s condition with the condition Harry is in.
The best way I can summarize Flyaway is by saying that it is a really sweet, heart felt story jam packed with emotions, both good and bad. Although the story is a little slow to start and Isla’s character can seem kind of younger than thirteen-years-old, the story is still one I would recommend to tweens and younger teens that want a good story that they are able to connect with. The elements of magic when it comes to the swan and the suspenseful last third or so of the book will make readers rush through it to find out what happens at the end.