Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Flyaway by Lucy Christopher

Isla and her dad wait for the migrating whooper swans to return to their area every spring.  While trying to find the flock this year Isla's father collapses and ends up in the hospital facing heart surgery.  On one of her visits Isla notices a lone whooper on the lake behind the hospital.  When she goes to see the swan it seems friendly and even races her as she runs around the lake.  Isla wants to find a way to make the swan fly away to rejoin her flock.  When she is given an assignment at school to study flight and build a model of a flying machine, Isla decides to study swans and makes herself a harness with wings attached.  Her visits to the hospital also allow her to visit Harry, a boy with cancer, who becomes her friend and partner in tracking the swan.  Isla has a lot of deal with:  her worries about whether her father will recover, Harry's health, problems at school, her grandfather who refuses to set foot in the hospital to see his son, and the lonely swan.  I get that the swans were very important to the story, but they became overpowering to me.  Isla's focus on them felt more obsessive than dedicated.  I just had a hard time getting wrapped up in the emotion of all that was happening or caring much about the characters.