Acquired: Sent to me by Chicken House
Published: January 4th 2010, Chicken House
Summary (from Goodreads): In this touching novel for ages 10+, Lucy Christopher explores the remarkable bond between a young girl, a boy and a damaged wild bird - a relationship that will touch everyone who reads it.
While visiting her father in hospital, thirteen-year-old Isla meets Harry, the first boy to understand her and her love of the outdoors. But Harry is ill, and as his health fails, Isla is determined to help him in the only way she knows how. Together they watch a lone swan struggling to fly on the lake outside Harry's window.
Isla believes that if she can help the damaged swan, somehow she can help Harry. And in doing so, she embarks upon a breathtakingly magical journey of her own.
What I liked: Stolen was one of the first books I ever reviewed and I absolutely fell in love with Christopher’s dreamy, lyrical prose and well-defined characters. I had put off reading Flyaway as I was nervous the book would never live up to Stolen, which I loved. Though I wouldn’t say Flyaway quite had the same impact on me as Stolen did (though I think it would be almost impossible for another book to be as intense as Stolen is) I really did enjoy Flyaway and am still a huge fan of Christopher’s writing.
As with Stolen, the characters in Flyaway drive the novel forwards and give it that little bit extra to go from a good story to a great one. Isla is a brilliant narrator and I warmed to her instantly but, for me, it’s Harry who really stole the show. He’s funny, he’s tragic, he’s everything we need from a male lead and I found his and Isla’s innocence very touching.
There were elements of the writing that made the story feel timeless, like it was a book I’d read years ago as a child and loved dearly. In a lot of ways it reminded me of David Almond’s Skellig. There were the hospital scenes, the family tragedy, the endless waiting and the unlikely friendship between two very different children. And, to be honest, anything that reminds me of David Almond’s classic cannot be a bad read at all.
What I didn’t like: As I mentioned before, there are a lot of hospital scenes in Flyaway and, towards the end of the story, they really did begin to drag. I know the novel is principally set in a hospital so it’s obviously going to be featured but for me there was just too much description of the hospital and staff. It almost felt forced and did begin to detract from the story. As the story began to draw to a close I found myself skim reading the pages so I think the pace did begin to slow down towards the ending, when I really wanted it to speed up.
First line: ‘Every year, Dad waits for them.’
Final thoughts: Another home run from Christopher, who is proving herself to be one to watch – I certainly will be.
Read if you liked...: Skellig – David Almond
Total: 14.5/20 (B)