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{December 12, 2011}   {ARC Review} Flyaway by Helen Landalf

From Goodreads: Fifteen-year-old Stevie Calhoun is used to taking care of herself.  However, 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.

But most of all, it’s the summer she finds out the truth about Mom.

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on December 20.  This story is very realistic and poignant, and though we may sit back and yell at Stevie to “wake up” and get herself together, I feel like we often take on Stevie’s mindset when we’re put in similar situations.  Stevie is a fifteen-year-old know it all, or so she thinks.  She’s under the impression that she can take care of herself and that her mother can do no wrong.  Although all the evidence points in the opposite direction of these two “truths,” Stevie is blind to her reality, and this really isn’t a far-fetched story at all.  While I’ve never been in Stevie’s shoes, per say, there have been many occasions where I am blind to the truth because I’m right in the middle of the situation, and I am sure that this is true with all people out there.  Although we may really love a person, we don’t always note the error of their ways, or even our own, when we’re in close proximity, and this is exactly what Stevie must learn to overcome when it comes to her mother.  Now, I will admit that I yelled at Stevie throughout the entire novel… she really made me angry, but looking at the life she’s led, and her poor excuse for a mother, I have to say that I completely understand where Stevie is coming from, as well. 

If you’re into realistic life stories, this is definitely a book for you.  I highly enjoyed it, though the sections about the birds and such weren’t really that interesting for me.  The rest of the novel, though, is very well done.  Three stars.

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