Just Fly Away by Andrew McCarthy

Setting: New Jersey and Maine
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: March 28, 2017

It's confession time. I've had a crush on Andrew McCarthy since Pretty in Pink, St. Elmo's Fire, and a selection of other '80's movies. Hearing he'd written his first young adult novel intrigued me. Just Fly Away isn't all I expected, but there were parts that tore me aup a little.

Fifteen-year-old Lucy Willows is stunned when she learns her father had an affair and that she has an eight-year-old brother living nearby. She's angry with her father for having the affair, her sister for not really seeming to care, and her mother for forgiving him. Lucy's friends don't seem as concerned with this news as she does, and her new boyfriend is also not quite as shocked as she'd want.

Needing to get away, Lucy runs off to Maine. Her grandfather's there and he may have some of the answers she wants to hear. It's in Maine that Lucy must quickly grow up.

Just Fly Away is a coming-of-age novel. Lucy's a little self-centered, especially in the early portion of the book, but I grew to like her. I don't want to give away spoilers, but something happens in the book and that's where the story got to me a bit. My family is going through exactly what Lucy, her grandfather, and her father experience while Lucy's in Maine. Reading those chapters was hard, perhaps a little too painful right now. It was still gripping, but far too real for me right now.

It's that situation that also made me realize that Andrew McCarthy had the details of this event right. The characters' reactions, the struggles, and the need for some form of closure are all too real. And for that, I feel the writing was spot on.


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