I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Why We Fly by Kimberly Jones, Gilly Segal
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on October 5, 2021
Genres: YA Contemporary
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Barnes & Noble
From the bestselling authors of I’m Not Dying with You Tonight comes a compelling YA novel about the choices teens make.
Two high school cheerleaders face the ultimate test when an act of solidarity spurs chaos. With a rocky start to senior year, lifelong friends Eleanor and Chanel have a lot on their mind. Eleanor is still in physical therapy months after a serious concussion from a failed cheer attempt. Chanel’s putting tremendous pressure on herself to get into the best colleges and starts making questionable decisions. But they have each other’s backs just as always.
Eleanor’s new relationship with star quarterback Three may be causing a rift between the best friends. When the cheer squad decides to take a knee at the season’s first football game, what seemed like a positive show of solidarity suddenly becomes the reason for a larger fallout between the girls.
Grappling with the weight of the school’s actions as well as their own problems, can the girls rely on the friendship they’ve always shared?
A bittersweet, sometime humorous, but always compelling look at issues of friendship, privilege, sports, and race.
I really enjoyed the other book by these authors, so I was very excited when the publisher sent me this next book. Now the first few chapters didn’t grab me, but once the characters got back to school and some not so great things happened, I was hooked.
There was a lot going on in this book. And really, it plays right into not only the climate in our country right now, but even hits close to home with some things going on at the school where I am a librarian right now.
The two main characters both had a lot going on in their lives. Now, there were a few times when I had to turn back a few pages to realize for sure which character was telling that chapter, because a lot of the stuff was similar. I mean, they were both cheerleaders and seniors in high school. Oh, the girls’ names were really close when they did the nicknames too, that was part of my confusion I think. But then something would happen that reminded me which one they were.
Each girl’s viewpoint was so important to read and realize how differently things affect people based on their backgrounds. The authors did a great job with showing not only the inequality in how things were handled, but also how skin color doesn’t always mean things are going to be automatically better. And how people will find something to say that is discriminatory about anyone who does something they don’t agree with.
While there were also some things about the way both the friendships and the possible love interests ended up going that made me disappointed, they also happened to finish the story in very realistic ways. So while I might have wished for things to go differently, honestly it was perfect for the ending of a high school story, and how friendships/relationships can go at that age.
I do feel like in a way, the vaping/marijuana storyline I would possibly have liked maybe more of a backstory with that. It almost feels like where did she start doing that? Who gave her the idea, etc. Because she didn’t really talk to anyone about that, and so it almost seemed a tiny bit out of place for me. I mean it worked in the story for sure, but I just had questions about it.
One thing I did really like is when Eleanor went to see Three’s aunt about what she could do to help with the cause. I really liked the way his aunt kind of explained things, or maybe left things unexplained. So that when Eleanor went to her own church and talked to her rabbi, that really made me think. And I think it is something that everyone trying to work to help further a cause should look at.
Again, really a perfect book for the times we live in, and I’ll once again be sure to share this with my own students!