Review: Just Fly Away

Just Fly Away


I enjoyed this story more than I thought I would. Reading a male author writing from the POV of a female protagonist was something I had to experience.

Fifteen year old Lucy had her entire world turned upside down when she discovers that her dad had an affair and fathered an eight year old son. Both of her parents are still together and both knew of the child, they just never clued Lucy into the fact that she had a step-brother. Lucy digs and discovers that the woman and her son (her step brother) live only a few blocks away. Unable to ignore her curiosity, Lucy spends time at the park across the street from the boy’s house and soon befriends him. The more time she sits watching this boy, the more furious she becomes. She is furious at her father cheating, she is furious at her parents not telling her (and her sister) what happened, she is furious that everyone is acting like this isn’t a big deal. Lucy wants nothing more than to return to “happier times” where it was just her, her sister, and their parents. Unable to process the flood of emotions, in a fit of rage Lucy runs away to the only safe haven she knows – her grandfather’s home many states away. This starts a chain of events that causes everyone to rethink how they treat people in their lives, how their decisions affect others, and just how important family is.

I did not absolutely love this story, but I did enjoy it. The further into the story I got, the more it grew on me. I struggled with Lucy’s knee-jerk reactions to everything, but had to remind myself she was fifteen. I don’t know a lot of fifteen year old girls that don’t fly off the handle and make rash decisions.  I certainly couldn’t fault her for reacting the way she did, I only wish she had chose a less dramatic way to handle the way she was feeling. Running away in the middle of the night and not telling anyone really was a ballsy move. Now I’m not saying it was a good idea, I’m saying it was drastic. The experiences she had while taking the bus through NYC would be enough to terrify anyone but for a teen to do that with little to no money was … foolish. Almost too extreme. I find it hard to believe that no adult thought it odd for a teen to be roaming the streets of a bus terminal in the middle of the night? No adult thought it best to call the authorities for a type of wellness check? Convenient. You can probably guess by now that I struggled to connect with Lucy. She did not feel like a fully developed character. Again, I argue with myself on this point because I don’t know many fifteen year old girls that are completely and totally rational. I just had a hard time agreeing with the actions she made and that caused me to almost stop the book several times. Why didn’t I? It was a quick read.

The plot itself felt … confusing. There are so many plot points that could have lead to something bigger but instead fizzled out. Am I supposed to focus on the affair Lucy’s father had and the hurt that caused everyone? What about Lucy discovering boys and self discovery? Or perhaps the tension and rift between Lucy’s father and grandfather? The overall plot slowly (and I do mean slowly) reveals itself in the later half of the story. Once Lucy meets up with her grandfather, we begin to see more of who she really is. She is not so self-involved and selfish. Well, she still is but she starts to open up to her grandfather but he isn’t without his issues either. I won’t give away what exactly happens (that would ruin the book!) but I believe the ending tied things up nicely. I just wish the author had spent more time developing Lucy and her voice rather than throwing so many possible plots out and confusing the reader.

This was a 3.25 star read. Odd number, no? As I mentioned, I enjoyed this story once it reached the later half. I liked Lucy’s grandfather a lot, but wish his character and story would have been explored more. It felt like there were so many unknown secrets that could have enhanced the story. This is the author’s first YA but I hope he continues writing. I would like to see what he comes up with next.