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This Is How We Fly Hardcover – December 15, 2020
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*"Through a conversational first-person voice that firmly grounds the reader in the main character’s inner tumult, Meriano portrays Ellen’s heightened awareness and dedication to social equity and inclusion alongside the timeless sense of unease that comes with new beginnings and major change. Readers will find much to appreciate about Ellen’s fresh, relatable journey to define herself on her own terms." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)
About the Author
- Publisher : Philomel Books; First Edition (December 15, 2020)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 480 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0593116879
- ISBN-13 : 978-0593116876
- Reading age : 12 - 17 years
- Grade level : 7 - 9
- Item Weight : 0.035 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.88 x 1.5 x 8.63 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #298,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I enjoyed this coming-of-age story about finding your tribe, embracing new experiences, and realizing that sometimes the people we view as family or even friends aren't always the people who will bring light and happiness to our lives. I've seen this book described as something of a retelling of Cinderella, and while there's an evil stepmother of sorts who gives Ellen a lot of grief, the rest of the story doesn't support that idea very much. In particular, and unlike Cinderella, there is no prince charming coming to Ellen's aid, and she is an unapologetic feminist who isn't afraid to call people out on racism, homophobia, or social justice. Ellen is also fiercely protective of her little sister, and genuinely tries to be a good person in the face of unfortunate circumstances with family and friends.
A lot of the central tension surrounds Ellen's relationship with her parents, with her stepmother being mean and rude to her, and her father allowing the hurtful behavior to continue. It was easy to see the danger of engaging negatively with children while assuaging the conscience with notions of, "I was just trying to protect you and do right by you." I think a good portion of the message here is that it is more important to engage compassionately and understand children, particularly as they grow into young adulthood, rather than to attempt to control their behavior, define who they will become, and limit their potential. This is How We Fly is a tense, feminist, beautiful coming-of-age story about a young woman attempting to navigate the last vestiges of childhood and finding a sense of identity with new experiences and people. I recommend this book if you like a good coming-of-age story, can identify with feeling like the "other", or if you like to read stories about strong girls navigating difficult situations against the odds.
‼ CW: Harry Potter and J.K.Rowling ‼
It’s the summer after senior year and the summer before college, Ellen is at odds with her friends, at odds with her wicked step-mother- who, of course, loads Ellen down with a never-ending chore list - and when Ellen acts out and ends up grounded for the summer, she has one thing to get her out of the house: Quidditch! Ellen follows her friend to a Quidditch practice and what she finds there is a level of acceptance amongst the players that she hasn’t found anywhere else.
I always say I love a good character driven story but TiHWF is both strongly character and plot driven. I have to say the Muggle Quidditch team gave me serious FOMO and oh man, how I wish there was a team by me! Aside from my Quidditch FOMO, Meriano addresses the issues that young women face in that in-between space between high school and college. That yawning abyss of being both a teen and an adult and the struggle to find the balance between who you want to be, who everyone expects you to be and who you actually are.
While Ellen is certainly a flawed character, she is much like many teen girls and faces the same struggles with acceptance, immaturity – especially with relationships, and the restlessness of that last summer before adulthood takes over. I didn’t always like Ellen but I did understand her. This is a coming-of-age story that really gave me all the feels. Fighting for what you believe in and learning to be unashamedly proud of who you are is an important message that everyone needs to hear.
My thanks to Penguin Teen and author Anna Meriano for providing me with a DRC of This is How We Fly!