Thursday, January 05, 2012

Flyaway by Helen Landalf

Genre: YA Contemporary
Release Date: 19th Dec 2011
Pages: 182
Book Source: Harcourt & NetGalley

Synopsis: Fifteen-year-old Stevie Calhoun is used to taking care of herself. But one night, her mom, who works as an exotic dancer in a downtown Seattle nightclub, never comes home.

That’s the night Stevie’s life turns upside down.

It’s the night that kicks off an extraordinary summer:the summer Stevie has to stay with her annoyingly perfect Aunt Mindy; the summer she learns to care for injured and abandoned birds; the summer she gets to know Alan, the meanest guy in high school.

FLYAWAY is the story of a teen girl’s struggle to hold on to what she’s always believed, even as her world spins out of control. 

My Thoughts:
The title Flyaway is quite apt but the cover does nothing for me. How about you? That aside, I'm drawn to stories that deal with real issues and Stevie's story has a believable feel. This was a pretty good read but had none of the gut-wrenching emotional impact of Laura Wiess' Ordinary Beauty which was a favourite read of mine in 2011.

Stevie is blindly loyal to her crystal meth addicted mother, she's also angry, moody, obnoxious and not very likeable but hey I know quite a few teenagers without drug addicted mothers who aren't very likeable. I felt the relationship between Stevie and her Aunt Mindy was realistically portrayed and as Stevie learnt who to trust and count on in her life, she matured along with her behaviour.

I felt the real horror of Stevie's mums crystal meth addiction was downplayed and when it's revealed that some of Stevie's friends are also using it seems to be tackled in a rather blasé manner. Maybe after reading Ordinary Beauty I prefer the harsh reality of addiction and neglect to be just that ... a harsh reality.

What worked for me: 
The fact that the author volunteered at the bird nursery at PAWS wildlife rehabilitation center really came through in her writing. The descriptions of the care and feeding of birds at On The Wing was one of the truly lovely parts of this book and Stevie and Alans' involvement was healing for both of them.

Overall a quick read with a sweet ending. While it didn't check all the boxes, I'll definitely read more from this author.

To find out more about Helen Landalf visit her website.


  1. I really loved her Aunt Mindy and being on the more mature side, I just wanted to shake Stevie and show her how great Mindy is. I also thought the portrayal of Stevie's friends using was not as powerful as it could have been although at least Stevie does have a strong reaction to it; I just wanted more.

  2. I do not like when drugabuse is downplayed either. But I guess she wanted other things for this book

  3. This sounds like something I would enjoy! Thanks for the good review and insight! :):):):):):):):):):):)

  4. I'm with you in regards to being grounded in harsh reality. Because truly drug addiction is ugly. I will have to check out the first one you mentioned in your review. And no, I didn't really care for the cover either!

  5. I do like the cover, it's nice, but I probably wouldn't pick it up if I saw it at the bookstore.

    Ordinary Beauty is almost at the top of my wishlist! I really want to read it & I'm glad to find out it's one of your favourites of 2011.

    I'm not a big fan of books that deal with heavy issues, but this one sounds okay. And indeed, it is a harsh reality, so it should be protrayed that way.

    Great review.

  6. Uh yes its a harsh reality and any book that downplays it, obviously never knew actual drug abusers. just saying. Good review Teddy and a shame the author was blase.


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