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In This Whole World There’s Nobody As Lonely As She

Jenny reviews the sobfest that is Lucy Christopher's Flyaway, in which a young girl copes with the struggles in her own life by channeling her energy into rescuing a lone swan.

In This Whole World There’s Nobody As Lonely As She

BOOK REPORT for Flyaway by Lucy Christopher

BFF Charm: Yay!!
Swoonworthy Scale: 5
Talky Talk: Prosetastic
Bonus Factor: Grandads, All of the Things That Make Me Cry
Relationship Status: Soul Sisters

The Deal:

Isla (Eye-la) loves to go out with her dad every winter to watch the swans arrive. There's something so special and magical about the Whoopers, and it's almost an obsession her dad has with finding where they're going to be each year. The swans used to winter at the pond on Isla's grandad's farm, and the whole family would go over early in the morning to watch them fly in, but the swans haven't been back there since her grandmother passed away. But Dad has been a little sick, and although he says there's nothing to it, Isla can't help but be a little worried as the two of them head out early one English winter morning. They find the swans, coming in to a pond near the new power plant, only not all of the swans see the new power lines in time. As Isla and her dad rush to try to save the swans, something happens to her dad, and shortly after that day he has to go into hospital. It's there, in the hospital that Isla meets Harry, an incredibly sweet boy on the children's ward. It's also there that Isla sees a lone swan, a young one, by herself.

As Isla struggles with dealing with her dad's condition, her loneliness at school, and her new feelings for this boy, she funnels her energy into something she feels might make everything right again: she has to find a way to help that swan.

BFF Charm: Yay!!

OMG!!! Okay, so I don't remember if Isla's age is mentioned in the beginning of the book, but I'm guessing her to be about 14, which is probably too young for me to really give my charm to, so instead can I give it to Lucy Christopher? I loved the characters in this book SO much, you guys, I wanted to invite them all over for tea and bird watching (and although I find them fascinating, birds are also a bit creepy, so that just shows how much I love this family!) and maybe I could pretend I was actually crazy auntie Jenny who wears the fancy hats and gloves and drinks her whiskey from a teacup while she waits with the others for the swans. Erm...

Isla is so impulsive and earnest and thinking and strong and innocent and true, that if I ever had a daughter, I'd hope she would be like Isla. She's written like a real teenager, just an exceptional one. I loved her thought process and how much she loved the birds, but wasn't weird about them. And I loved seeing her crush on her brother's friend, and how that didn't necessarily stop when she was starting to crush on her own new friend.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

The swoon here is so sweet it might make your teeth hurt, but it does not for a moment feel fake. There's no sexy times, but it's all about first crushes, first relationships, and first discoveries of yourself and what you can do when you decide to.

Talky Talk: Prosetastic


When I picked the book up, with its cutesie artwork and back cover description, I 'ughed' out loud. But then I opened its pages and the words that washed over me were so poignant, it was like I had stepped back to childhood, with all its hopes and all its uncertainties. I'm serious about the DNRIP tag, y'all. I just don't get teary-eyed over too many books-- with the exception of the Harry Potters, in which I weep throughout. I teared up within the first couple of chapters of this one, and continued occasionally through to the end. And when I was finished, some 3 hours later, I felt the need to just sit down and have a good cry-- not because the ending was sad, but because the emotions in the story were so real, they stirred up feelings in me that I forget about in my busy adult life.

Bonus Factor: Grandads

So, like most people, I had two grandads. One, whom we lovingly referred to as Walter, who had married my grandmother when my dad was a teenager. Walter was a photographer with a penchant for Oreos. He always greeted me with both of these things, and I miss him. The Grandad in this story is not like one of those grandads. He is much more like my other Grandad, (whom we referred to as Grandad) my mom's dad. I never had much use for him, see, because he just never was very nice. Not to our family or in general. He went his way and I went mine. But in this story, I saw the bonds of family, and how even though you might be mad at an old-man's self-imposed limitations, there still might be something special about a relationship with him.

So I went and called my Grandad. Something I hadn't done in about a year. And it wasn't out of a sense of obligation. And it was nice.

Bonus Factor: All of the Things That Make Me Cry

I mean this in only the best way, of course. I was a little old for Fly Away Home when it came out, but it's like if you took that movie with one of its predecessors, The Thanksgiving Promise (a television movie also about geese, starring, like, the entire Bridges family) and add in The Boy Who Could Fly, and stirred well, you'd get an idea of the kind of emotions this book roused in me.

Casting Call:

I always feel terribly American if I cast an American actress in a British role, but I couldn't help this one:

Hailee Steinfeld as Isla

Relationship Status: Soul Sisters

I wonder if you all will connect with this book the way I did. I feel like it touched a part of me that runs very deep. We may live on different continents, this book and I, but we share the same fibers that make us who we are. And a part of us will always belong to the other.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from Chicken House. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Flyaway is now available.

Jenny Bird's photo About the Author: Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.