Disclosure: I received this complimentary product (The Year I Flew Away) through Raincoast Books. Affiliate Links will be used, thank you for your support of my blog, costs you nothing to do so. 🙂
The Year I Flew Away tells the story of a young immigrant and her travels to America. She has tons of decisions to make and lots of high hopes attached to the opportunity. This tale shows us the results of her decision-making, the wonder of making friends, and the hardness of immigrant life.
The Facts about The Year I Flew Away
The Year I Flew Away by Marie Arnold takes us into the life of Gabrielle and her move from Haiti to the United States in 1985. We start with her robust life in Haiti and move to her challenges facing a life in America. Ms. Arnold takes us into the thinking process of Gabriella has she has to make multiple choices about what she will do to “Fit it” in America.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, This middle school read runs at 256 pages. Youth from grades 3-7 might enjoy it though I expect it would appeal more to those up through grade five. I am reviewing an advanced reader’s copy for Raincoast books.
Marie Arnold walks us through the first few weeks of Gabrielle’s arrival in America. She thought it would be an easy transition with lots of new friends and an easy living. Things are harder than she anticipated. Friendships are hard, fitting in difficult, and dealing with prejudice unexpected. Magic becomes part of the equation.
The language is easy to read and fits well with the target audience. Characters are well-defined and by the end of the book I felt like I knew them well.
The use of magic, I found didn’t fit well and the book would have been better without it.
Should The Year I Flew Away be on your bookshelf?
I don’t know.
There was much I liked. A girl has opportunity to vastly improve her lot in life. She’ll need to work hard, adjust to change, and make a variety of decisions. Will she listen to those around her or do her own thing? Will she learn from the decisions that she makes? How will she handle adversity in whatever form it comes in? I love those themes.
I didn’t like the use of magic. It mostly fit, the magical system, but … I suppose I struggled with the nastiness of the magic. It wasn’t benign, but a deliberate attempt to subvert. I liked how the good magic required her to think and put different pieces together. The way it resolved felt wrong somehow….like it didn’t fit with the rest of the story. Overall, The Year I Flew Away would have worked better without the magical elements.
Overall it was a decent read, but it would a read I’d be happy enough to just borrow from the library, not one to keep on my bookshelf.