Monday, March 15, 2021

YA Review: If These Wings Could Fly by Kyrie McCauley

Title: If These Wings Could Fly

Author: Kyrie McCauley

Year Published: 2020

Category: YA fiction
Pages: 400
Rating: 5 out of 5

Location (my 2021 Google Reading map) USA (PA)

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Tens of thousands of crows invading Auburn, Pennsylvania, is a problem for everyone in town except seventeen-year-old Leighton Barnes. For Leighton, it’s no stranger than her house, which inexplicably repairs itself every time her father loses his temper and breaks things.

Leighton doesn’t have time for the crows—it’s her senior year, and acceptance to her dream college is finally within reach. But grabbing that lifeline means abandoning her sisters, a choice she’s not ready to face.

With her father’s rage worsening and the town in chaos over the crows, Leighton allows herself a chance at happiness with Liam, her charming classmate, even though falling in love feels like a revolutionary act.

Balancing school, dating, and survival under the shadow of sixty thousand feathered wings starts to feel almost comfortable, but Leighton knows that this fragile equilibrium can only last so long before it shatters.

Review: This is another American Library Association Youth Media Award Winner. It won the William C Morris Award for best first-time author writing for teens. And oh my goodness, what a great choice for this award. I loved everything about it.

First, I don't love the above summary of the book. I don't hate it, I just think it gives the wrong feeling of the book. I thought there would be domestic violence in amongst some teen romance and magic. While technically that's true, it is so not enough. Yes, she dates Liam, but their relationship feels calm and serves more as a friendship of support than a romance, though he also serves to support her in her decisions. And, yes, there is magic, but it's more metaphorical.

I am not a magic sort of person, but in this book it really works. The crows grow in number as the danger in Leighton's house increases and it's really effective. I also like the role Joe, crow extraordinaire, plays in the novel. The author obviously did her research about the crow behavior of bringing gifts plays a large role. Trust me, it sounds strange, but is great in this book.

Issues of domestic violence, why people stay, the role of friends, neighbors, and townspeople, small town issues, and finding one's voice are all in this well written and gripping novel. I think it will do really well with teens and adults who read it.

Challenges for which this counts: 
  • Literary Escapes--Pennsylvania
  • YMA--William C. Morris Award
 

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