Sunday, March 12, 2017

Start burning down the broken doors: JUST FLY AWAY.

Just Fly AwayJust Fly Away by Andrew McCarthy

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lucy is fifteen and enjoying what seems to be a happy, normal life with her parents and younger sister when she has a bombshell dropped on her: her father has an eight-year-old son with another woman. And they live only a few blocks away. When Lucy learns of this news, she is incredibly angry at both her parents: her father for cheating on her mother and keeping the secret, and her mother, for passively remaining with her father and not telling her daughters what happened. Lucy wants to return to happier times, but she finds herself unable to move past her father's news.

I didn't love this book and for a while, didn't think this would even get up to a three-star review. It did grow on me by the end: mostly due to Lucy's relationship with her grandfather, who was perhaps my favorite character in the novel. Alas, I never really connected with Lucy, and I didn't completely find her voice authentic. The beginning of the novel was quite slow, and there were a few points where I wasn't really sure I wanted to keep reading. It's really a rather sad and serious book, and it seems to meander a bit, with no real ultimate point. The overall plot, as well as the small details, seem to veer off on weird tangents. Do we focus on Lucy's anger at her father? Or her growing up, exploring boys and teenage life? Or maybe her grandfather and his strained relationship with Lucy's father? Often, there were many times where I found myself wondering why the author felt the need to include certain details, or include a particular plot point.

At times, Lucy felt incredibly self-involved, even for a teenager, and I wasn't sure if her anger--which seemed to be meant to serve as the main plot device--was really that justified. As I said, when the book shifts and Lucy comes into contact with her grandfather, it did pick up, and I found myself enjoying it more. This could be perhaps because Lucy felt less time focusing on her father's betrayal, and we could get to know her a bit better. Still, I would have liked to have seen more character development, less tangents, and just a better developed voice for Lucy. This one barely grazed 3 stars for me, but it is McCarthy's first novel (albeit I'm sure he can always fall back on that acting career!), and I can see some potential here.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and Netgalley (thank you!) in return for an unbiased review; it is available everywhere as of 03/28/2017.

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