By Lucy Christopher
Chicken House, $16.99, 328 pages
In Flyaway, the new Young Adult novel by Lucy Christopher, Isla and her father share a love of birds, especially the wild swans that return to the lake by their home every winter. But this year is different. One morning Isla’s father collapses by the water’s edge and is rushed to the hospital. Now the family awaits news on his condition while Isla teeters between concern for her father and curiosity about a boy she meets in the emergency room.
Harry is unlike most of the boys Isla knows. He doesn’t tease her about her fascination with birds and he understands her fears for her father. Harry has cancer and spends a good bit of time at the hospital. From his regular room he can look out at the same lake where Isla and her father spent hours watching swans, geese and ducks.
The two teenagers bond over an injured swan that has been separated from her flock. With Isla back in school, Harry watches over the swan from his perch above the lake. But healing a wild creature isn’t an easy task. Isla finds herself torn between her love for her father, her determination to save the swan and a growing attachment to a boy who is very ill.
Christopher’s touching book will appeal to all teenagers but especially those who treasure nature and family.
Reviewed by Ellison G. Weist