If Birds Fly Back
Author: Carlie Sorosiak
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Publication Date: June 29th 2017
Format: eARC (352 pages)
Linny has been living life in black and white since her sister Grace ran away, and she’s scared that Grace might never come back. When Linny witnesses the return to Miami of a cult movie star long presumed dead, she is certain it’s a sign. Surely Álvaro Herrera, of all people, can tell her why people come back – and how to bring her sister home?
Sebastian has come to Miami seeking his father, a man whose name he’s only just learned. An aspiring astrophysicist, he can tell Linny how many galaxies there are, how much plutonium weighs and how likely she is to be struck by a meteorite. But none of the theories he knows are enough to answer his own questions about why his father abandoned him, and why it left him in pieces.
As Sebastian and Linny converge around the mystery of Álvaro’s disappearance – and return – their planets start to collide. Linny’s life is about to become technicolor, but finding the answers to her questions might mean losing everything that matters.
My Rating: ★★★★★
If Birds Fly Back is a gorgeous debut from author Carlie Sorosiak. Filled with emotion and feeling, this book is a beautifully written story of love, loss and finding yourself. From the first few pages I knew this book was going to be special.
I loved the dual narrative of this book and thought it was so well written. I really got to know both of our main characters and felt invested in both of their stories. First up we meet Linny who is struggling to come to terms with the disappearance of her sister Grace several months before. I really liked Linny because I could just feel her pain so easily and I loved her ambition. I thought she had great development throughout the book and I’d quite like to be her friend. Then we have Sebastian, sweet darling Sebastian. I thought he was adorable and I so badly wanted to scoop him up into a cuddle when things were collapsing around him.
I loved that both Linny and Sebastian had their own separate issues to deal with and how this intertwined to bring the story together. I thought that the theme of loss was very delicately handled and felt very real. Although the romance happened very quickly (I prefer a slow burn) I thought the relationship was very cute and I was really rooting for them.
Something I particularly enjoyed about this book was the little quirks in each chapter. All of Linny’s chapters started with an excerpt from her journal of lost people. These were really interesting to read and I could so relate with Linny because if someone I loved were to go missing I would be desperate to do all I could to find them. Linny’s chapters also contained scenes from her screenplay about Grace and these were so gorgeous to read. Sebastian’s chapters always stared with different scientific theorems and throughout his chapter were his own theorems about his life experiences. I loved these added elements because it was a real reminder that Linny and Sebastian are their own people and have their own passions too.
The relationships in this book were really well written and very realistic. Sebastian and his best friend back home have a great friendship full of funny, realistic ‘boy’ banter. Linny and Cass have one of the most realistic friendships I’ve read in a while. Their friendship is definitely flawed and under strain due to Grace’s disappearance but it was nice to see the conflict within their friendship not being hidden because even the best of friends will having fallings out and I think it’s important that not all friendships in YA are completely perfect.
I also really appreciated the influence of parents in this book. Quite often in YA novels the parents are mythical unicorn creatures who get the odd mention but nothing more. In If Birds Fly Back the parent/child relationships are so, so important. It’s clear from the beginning that Sebastian has a close relationship with his single mother and it was interesting to see how his feelings flipped and turned when discovering who his father is. Linny has a very complicated relationship with her parents and feels overwhelmed by them a lot of the time. It’s easy to see why, being as they have lost one daughter already, but it was great to see Linny discover her courage and finally speak up. I thought all of these relationships had excellent, realistic dynamics.
An incredible debut that will tug at your heart strings and insist on planting a smile on your face. Fantastic!
Thanks to Macmillan Children’s Books, Carlie Sorosiak and NetGalley for my advanced copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Have you read If Birds Fly Back? What did you think?
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