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If they saved the swan together, could she then save her friend?

In a heartbeat, in a wingbeat, it happens. Isla's father falls. They're racing across the fields, following the swans flying in to winter at the lake like they do every year, when something goes wrong. And before she can even catch her breath, they're in the back of an ambulance, she's holding his hand.

At the hospital, upset and scared, Isla meets Harry. Unlike the boys at ...

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If they saved the swan together, could she then save her friend?

In a heartbeat, in a wingbeat, it happens. Isla's father falls. They're racing across the fields, following the swans flying in to winter at the lake like they do every year, when something goes wrong. And before she can even catch her breath, they're in the back of an ambulance, she's holding his hand.

At the hospital, upset and scared, Isla meets Harry. Unlike the boys at school, he doesn't laugh when she tells him about her love of birds. He listens. But what is he doing there?

As Isla struggles with her father's frailty and the new feelings she has for Harry, she's determined to help the only way she knows how. Outside the hospital windows, Isla watches a lone whooper swan struggling to fly. If only she could save the lost bird, would that somehow heal her dad, and cure Harry, and make everything good again?

By the author of the Printz Honor Book STOLEN, an uplifting story about "the thing with feathers" - hope.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In her first middle-grade novel, Christopher (Stolen) offers a story ribboned with metaphors involving themes of trauma, freedom, and hope. Isla and her father share a special relationship with the swans that migrate to a nearby lake each winter, until he is hospitalized with a heart condition. Isla’s best friend has also moved away, and she feels isolated until meeting Harry, an optimistic and imaginative leukemia patient undergoing chemo treatments at the hospital and awaiting a bone marrow transplant. After Isla discovers a lost swan that has been separated from its flock, she makes it her mission to renew hope in Harry, her father, and herself by teaching the swan to fly, using a da Vinci–inspired flying machine that she creates with help from her estranged grandfather. Readers who share Isla’s love of nature and penchant for introspection will easily gravitate to her; her determination and pithy observations make for a strong, sensitive portrait of a girl trying to make sense of difficult changes in her life, while learning to draw strength from those around her. Ages 10–14. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

Praise for STOLEN
“Complicated and beautiful -- this novel left me doubting my emotions and missing a place I’d never been.” -- Maggie Stiefvater

"A vivid new voice for teens." -- Melvin Burgess

"All the tension of lightning, all the terror of thunder. A stunning, scary, and beautiful book." -- John Marsden

"It's Gemma's strength and clear-headed narration that keep the pages turning long after your skin has started crawling." -- The Daily Beast: Smart Young Adult Books: 10 Hot Picks

* “An emotionally raw thriller…a haunting account of captivity and the power of relationships.” -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Disturbing, heartbreaking, and beautiful all at once." -- School Library Journal

"Has a veracity and immediacy that rivets the reader to the page...A fascinating, disturbing novel." -- VOYA

"A complex psychological study that is also a tribute to the hypnotic beauty of the outback." -- Booklist

"An arresting, dramatic story...induces both shivers and thought." -- BCCB

Winner of England's Branford Boase Award for Best First Novel

Children's Literature - Tina Chan
Thirteen-year-old Isla loves swans. She and her father are out in the fields one day chasing a swan when he falls. Despite being frightened and upset, Isla remains strong while her father is in the hospital. During her visit to the hospital, she becomes friends with a patient named Harry. Unlike Isla's classmates, Harry is a boy who listens to her, understands her love of swans, and he makes her laugh. As they spend more time together, Isla's feelings for Harry become stronger. Outside Harry's hospital window is a swan that struggles to fly. The swan brings Isla and Harry together as Isla tries to help the swan fly while Harry watches from his window. Later, Isla and Harry leave together to help the swan fly, even though Harry is not allowed to leave the hospital. A daring experiment as both understands the consequences of their actions. A beautiful and moving story, this book is about love, friendship, and family. Reviewer: Tina Chan
VOYA - Jessica Skaggs
Every year, thirteen-year-old Isla and her family wait for the arrival of the wild swans. After six years of the swans not appearing, Isla and her father are surprised when they see the flock approaching. Just as they catch up to the flock, Isla's father drops to the ground, has a heart attack, and is admitted into the hospital. While visiting her father in the hospital, Isla sees a swan that has lost her flock and makes it her goal to not only help the swan learn how to fly, but to reunite her with her flock before they migrate. With elements of surprise, determination, and suspense, this story is sure to stir many emotions, while also giving readers joy and satisfaction at the happy ending. Author Lucy Christopher weaves together a beautifully written story that is hard not to connect with. Readers will connect with Isla's moments of joy, satisfaction, and even magic as she is trying to save the swan, while also experiencing Isla's feelings of uncertainty and fear about her father's complicated health condition. During her visits to the hospital, Isla meets a boy in the cancer ward. With the innocence of a first crush and romance, he is able to lessen the hardships Isla is facing. Although the book is slightly slow to start and Isla's character, at times, can seem young, Flyaway is a perfect book for younger teens who are looking for a good story to connect with. Reviewer: Jessica Skaggs
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Isla shares a love for bird-watching with her father. When they go to watch the annual arrival of the migrating wild whooper swans, her father collapses and is rushed to the hospital with a heart ailment. While visiting him, Isla gets to know Harry, a teenage cancer patient. Feeling helpless with the health issues that both her father and Harry face, Isla befriends a young lone swan. She feels that if she can help save the bird, her dad and Harry will recover. Wonderfully descriptive passages of the swans and the landscape offset the somewhat depressing hospital scenes. Set in the UK, Lucy Christopher's novel (2011) is narrated by Harriet Carmichael, who has a very strong English accent, but handles all the voices competently. Her enthusiastic tones perfectly capture Isla's teenage frustration. Frequently used English terms such as jumper (for sweater), trainers (sneakers), and boot (trunk of a car) may confuse listeners. This beautifully written story may just be nominated for some of this year's book awards, as was Christopher's previous novel, Stolen (2010, both Chicken House), a Printz Honor Award winner.—Julie Paladino, East Chapel Hill High School, NC
Kirkus Reviews

When newly constructed power lines ruin the annual return of the whooping swans Isla and her father rise early to witness, the death of several of the wild creatures and her father's sudden and severe illness both confound Isla and emphasize her loneliness.

At the hospital where her father awaits a heart operation, Harry, waiting there for a bone-marrow transplant, befriends Isla and points out the young swan he can see from his bed. At the nearby lake the swan, apparently abandoned in its flock's confusion and panic in the encounter with power lines, seems to imprint on Isla, imitating her, touching her with its beak and wings, gazing into her eyes. The first-person, present-tense narrative works to lend immediacy to Isla's fear and isolation and to make believable what might otherwise seem mere fantasy. Harry's lightheartedness adds buoyancy to the narrative, while images of flight and wings emphasize both the frightening and the hopeful.News broadcasts at the edge of Isla's notice about deadly outbreaks of bird flu contrast with the small unfolding of Isla's widowed grandfather's stiff grief as he helps her construct an art project—a harness and wings from an ancient stuffed swan—and innocent romance flutters between Isla and Harry even as the young swan regains flight and her father begins to recover.

Emotionally affecting and remarkably convincing. (Fiction. 10-14)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780545342148
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/30/2013
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 267,896
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

LUCY CHRISTOPHER'S novel STOLEN was named a Printz Honor Book by the ALA and received England's Branford Boase award and Australia's golden Inky for best debut. In a starred review, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY called it *"an emotionally raw thriller...a haunting account of captivity and the power of relationships."* She is also the author of FLYAWAY, a novel for younger readers. Lucy lives in Monmouth, Wales, where she is currently finishing her third book, THE KILLING WOODS, a psychological thriller for teens. Visit her website and follow her on Twitter @LucyCAuthor.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2011

    Good Read

    It was interesting and overall it was good, but it was slow in some parts and sometimes the author got a little too detailed (don't get me wrong, I like details and I need them to read, but there were just TOO many.) It was so heart-warming at the end though it made me cry. Recamend.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2012


    I liked this book. It was very heart wsrming.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Honestly, this is one of my favorite books now. I'm really glad

    Honestly, this is one of my favorite books now. I'm really glad that I found this book and it's author. I'm excited to see what she comes up with next. I'm hoping that it might even be a sequel to this book. Flyaway is about thirteen year old Isla ( It's told in first person but even if you don't like that I think you should give this book a try. ). Isla has a love of birds that no one else shares except her Dad. Then, her dad gets sick. Isla worries day and night about what's going to happen. Then she meets Harry. Harry becomes her new interest. She talks to him about what she likes and how she feels, and he understands. They form a bond that is unbreakable. When a injured swan needs help, that bond just might be what helps and saves that bird. This books is about heartbreak and healing, family and friends, love and birds, and about how when you bring all of these things together you get something extraordinary!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2012

    The book

    I just finished heaven is for real i got a sample of fly away at chapter to now so far i would buy but theres more to read

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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