When Elephants Fly

When Elephants Fly

by Nancy Richardson Fischer


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Don’t miss one of the most heartwarming young adult novels of the year. Perfect for fans of Water for Elephants, Wonder and All the Bright Places, When Elephants Fly shows that how we choose to live our lives matters, and that there are some battles worth fighting even if it means losing yourself.

T. Lily Decker is a high school senior with a twelve-year plan: avoid stress, drugs, alcohol and boyfriends, and take regular psych quizzes administered by her best friend, Sawyer, to make sure she’s not developing schizophrenia.

Genetics are not on Lily’s side. When she was seven, her mother, who had paranoid schizophrenia, tried to kill her. And a secret has revealed that Lily’s odds are even worse than she thought. Still, there’s a chance to avoid triggering the mental health condition, if Lily can live a careful life from ages eighteen to thirty, when schizophrenia most commonly manifests.

But when a newspaper internship results in Lily witnessing a mother elephant try to kill her three-week-old calf, Swifty, Lily can’t abandon the story or the calf. With Swifty in danger of dying from grief, Lily must choose whether to risk everything, including her sanity and a first love, on a desperate road trip to save the calf’s life, perhaps finding her own version of freedom along the way.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781335012364
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 09/04/2018
Edition description: Original
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 479,070
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Nancy Richardson Fischer is a graduate of Cornell University, a published author with children’s, teen and adult titles to her credit, including Star Wars titles for Lucas Film and numerous athlete autobiographies, such as Julie Krone, Bela Karolyi and Monica Seles. She lives in the Pacific Northwest.

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When Elephants Fly 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
KimMc 21 days ago
What a completely enthralling story. Mental illness, LBGTQ issues, friendships, familial relationships, animal captivity and fighting for the right thing especially when it scares you are covered, and what a ride! The characters are detailed, their thoughts and actions provoking, while the plot twists carry them along. This is a story with so much heart it hurts and so much hope it all just has to work out. The life lessons are numerous and subtle but their strength will catch you; read this book. *I received an arc from the publisher through NetGalley for an honest review
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TRIGGER WARNING: Schizophrenia, suicide, and animal abuse This story captured my heart. It’s not just about T. Lillian and her inner struggle with the potential of developing schizophrenia but with the horrors that can occur when animals are put into captivity. This is not just a mental health book but a book about how one person can make a difference. All of the characters left an impact. I really really loved this book and I highly recommend it.
2Shaye More than 1 year ago
This will be one of my very top YA reads of 2018 — I’m sure of it. I seriously didn’t know how to even start reading another book in the aftermath of this one. Just had to get that off my chest before I say anything else about this book. The story is told from the perspective of T. Lily Decker, a high school senior who is facing more than her fair share of questions about the future. When she was a child, her schizophrenic mother attempted to kill her. And since schizophrenia can be hereditary, T. Lilly has developed a 12-year plan she believes might decrease her risks of developing schizophrenia. If she plays her cards right, she’ll hopefully have a shot at a fairly normal life after the age of 40. In the meantime, T. Lily finds herself in the middle of a major news story about a baby elephant being rejected by her mother. The experience brings up painful memories of her mother and T. Lily feels compelled to see this news story to the end. And I mean the very end. This beautiful book is sprinkled with quotes from Peter Pan and The Little Prince weaved between memories of things T. Lily’s mother once said. There are moments where the reader might be unsure of what is real and what is imagined, but it all comes together and makes perfect sense in the end. As I neared the final pages of the book, the full impact of the title hit me. *SOB* I cried harder than I’ve cried in a very, very long time. It’s was quite the reading experience. And one I didn’t want to end. This book has heartache, devoted friendship, a wee bit of romance, and addresses a wide range of topics including mental illness, homosexuality, child/parent relationships, animal abuse, and even a bit of journalism. I just love books that drag you through the wringer, teach you about things you knew practically nothing about, and THEN make you feel all the feels. For a NUMBER of reasons, I highly recommend When Elephants Fly for any Teen or Young Adult collection. NOTE: There’s an important Author’s Note about real life inspiration, about schizophrenia, and about elephants, zoos, and the circus. Additionally, there’s a long list of helpful resources for further reading.
NovelKim More than 1 year ago
I had no expectations of this book, except liking the title. Actually, I had less than no expectations and perhaps this is why I was so overwhelmed by everything about this book. It is insightful. It is tender. It is tragic. But it is also humorous, downright funny in places. Lesson to be learned; to be a good friend you have to listen even to the silence. You have to give more than you take. You have to be there when it is uncomfortable and most inconvenient. because that is the most important time. Lesson; to be crazy you have to acknowledge that you might understand sanity and that you have no say in whether you own it or it owns you. You have to understand that your genetic DNA is larger than your twelve-year plan and today is now and that is really all you will ever have. Lesson; T. Lily Decker will make you laugh, shake you head, drop your jaw to the ground, and laugh a bit more. She sees herself a “life coward” but her best friend calls her “fierce” and she can be the most believable liar. T. Lily Decker will make you question what is here and now and what may never be and what may ultimately happen. She will make you cry and swear at the unfairness of life and she will make you wonder how she grew to be so…everything. Loved this book, loved the writing, spot-on dialog, so many issues, so many opinions, who is right, who is wrong, who will bend, who won’t. Thank you NetGalley and Harlequin Teen for a copy
Huggiez More than 1 year ago
Before I get into my review I feel like I need to say that If you are dealing with mental illness, there is always someone that you can talk too. You Are Not Alone. The mental health aspect of this for me was interesting because Lucy was trying to connect with Swifty. The way that the author intertwined the mental health aspect of the story was really fascinating. It kept me reading. Lily has a 12 year plan its consisted of running 3 miles everyday, meditating, an avoid stressful situations. She is doing all of this because she doesn’t want to become like her schizophrenic mother. Whom happened to kill her when she was 11. Lily then gets a job at the newspaper and that takes her to the zoo. As she’s there she see’s this mother elephant attempting to kill her 3-week-old calf. I wish that Lily and Swifty were able to have more development then what they did have. Over all, I did enjoy this book. If you like to read books about mental illness or the description peak your interest then I suggest that you pick this one up
Lisa_Loves_Literature More than 1 year ago
I started out this one a little unsure how I would feel about it, but by the end of the book I was so glad I was able to just sit and read with no interruptions, because this was such a page-turner. There were so many different aspects to this story. So many things that tugged at my heart. Not only the big things talked about in the synopsis, the fact that Lily is worried about schizophrenia taking over her life and the baby elephant, Swift Jones - or Swifty, whose mom has rejected her, but also Lily's best friend Sawyer who has a family that does not support him, even going so far as to forcing him to move out. And then there is the circus that takes ownership of the Swifty, and while there are the issues that you'd imagine with a circus and animals, there are even more things going on behind the scenes and between the family members that run it. Not to mention that Lily finds out things about her dad and mom's relationship, and comes to realize just why her father was doing the things he was the way he did after her mom was gone. I learned a lot about elephants, and a lot about schizophrenia as well. I knew that schizophrenia was a complicated and oftentimes scary mental illness, but didn't realize all the types there were, and just all the ways it could manifest. I also didn't know how much it could be overcome in some cases, and that it wasn't a set cure of just taking medicine and being okay. It was actually a little nice bit of a break to get a girl that was as innocent as Lily was, boyfriend-wise, sexually, etc., and to get a story that fit that type of a teenager perfectly. I feel like I'd been pretty close to that aspect in my teen years. So I enjoyed the way that was done in the book. By the end I was just so into the story I couldn't put it down, and finished it really quickly, hoping that they'd be able to save Swifty, and that other things would resolve themselves as well.
JennaBookish More than 1 year ago
As a person with an education background in psychology, I had some misgivings about the subject matter of this novel going into it. Lily's schizophrenic mother tried to kill her when she was a young girl. Lily struggles to deal with that trauma and also the looming threat of developing the disorder herself, given the genetic component. Schizophrenia is a such a highly stigmatized illness, and a novel with a schizophrenic character committing such a dramatic act of violence at the center of the story is concerning. While delusions in thought can cause a person with schizophrenia to become violent, most people living with this disorder are not violent and are at far greater risk of harming themselves than they are anyone else. So while Lily's story is certainly not out of the realm of possibility in the real world, these are important things to keep in mind when reading a story like this.  That being said, I do think that Fischer made efforts to treat the subject matter with sensitivity. She has used Lily's concerns about developing the disorder as a means to relay information to the reader; Lily has researched this topic tirelessly as a means of maintaining a sense of control over her life and mental health, and is aware, for example, of the risk of suicide for patients dealing with this disorder. Lily is a very sympathetic protagonist who is acutely aware of her risk of developing this disorder; she also gives the reader a window into what it feels like to be unfairly dismissed based on their mental health status. Certain characters look down on Lily based on the mere possibility that she may have inherited her mother's illness; should this possibility prove to be true, the contempt would be that much worse. Any and all of Lily's opinions can be dismissed based on the speculated status of her mental health. For an insecure and yet passionate young woman just emerging into adulthood, this is excruciating.  And then there's Swifty. I got so emotionally invested in this baby elephant; Lily's connection with Swifty is palpable, and my heart broke for both of them as Swifty struggled after being rejected by her mother. Many of the passages about Swifty are very well written, but some of them showcase the novel's main weakness, in my opinion. It's very clear that Fischer wanted this novel to educate, and that's admirable. However, with a 400 page book dealing with intricate subjects such as mental health, adolescence, parenting, and animal rights, the information may not always be weaved seamlessly into the story. Certain passages felt forced and awkward. It sometimes felt like the author's own research was pasted into the story without regard to the overall flow of the novel; it had the effect of pulling the reader momentarily out of the story.  Overall, this was a strong novel. It was well-paced with a well-developed and sympathetic protagonist. The story was interesting and multi-faceted. It brought us a character who, despite her overwhelming anxiety about her mental health, is more than her mental health status. Lily has people who love her deeply and a cause she's willing to fight for.