Published: July 10, 2012
Publisher: MTV Books
My Rating: 5/5
Summary (from chapters.ca):
When I was fourteen, I made a decision. If I was doomed to live in a trailer park next to an airport, I could complain about the smell of the jet fuel like my mom, I could drink myself to death over the noise like everybody else, or I could learn to fly.
Heaven Beach, South Carolina, is anything but, if you live at the low-rent end of town. All her life, Leah Jones has been the grown-up in her family, while her mother moves from boyfriend to boyfriend, letting any available money slip out of her hands. At school, they may diss Leah as trash, but she's the one who negotiates with the landlord when the rent's not paid. At fourteen, she's the one who gets a job at the nearby airstrip.
But there's one way Leah can escape reality. Saving every penny she can, she begs quiet Mr. Hall, who runs an aerial banner-advertising business at the airstrip and also offers flight lessons, to take her up just once. Leaving the trailer park far beneath her and swooping out over the sea is a rush greater than anything she's ever experienced, and when Mr. Hall offers to give her cut-rate flight lessons, she feels ready to touch the sky.
By the time she's a high school senior, Leah has become a good enough pilot that Mr. Hall offers her a job flying a banner plane. It seems like a dream come true . . . but turns out to be just as fleeting as any dream. Mr. Hall dies suddenly, leaving everything he owned in the hands of his teenage sons: golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson. And they're determined to keep the banner planes flying. Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she's leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business-until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers-and the consequences could be deadly.
If the bags under my eyes could talk... they would be singing a song of praise!!
Jennifer Echols has once again blown me away with her amazing story-telling abilities and I am almost at a loss for words... almost!
You all know me by now and know that I don't read the synopsis on books because I don't want to know what it about in case I develop and preconcieved notions about where a story might be heading. That is never more true than for an author in whom I have the utmost respect and trust for... Jennifer Echols is one of those authors.
Instantly falling in love with the character of Leah, a girl struggling in a world dominated by men, I knew that her journey would be a hard fought battle but that it would be worth it in the end. Living a life you wouldn't wish on your enemy, in a trailer with little to no support from anyone, I found myself envious of her... odd as that may seem. Leah just knew where she wanted to go in her life and she was willing to do anything to make those dreams happen.
Jennifer Echols paints such a wonderful picture of small town airfields that it took my breath away. It seemed like another time, another place and yet there are banner planes everywhere so you know that places like this exist.
I had a hard time classifying this as a young adult novel vs. a general fiction novel because the main characters are all teens and yet the story is so wonderful that I think people of all ages would truly enjoy it. There is an electricity that runs through the pages and makes you want to read more.
Overall, after reading this book in ONE day, I am so sad that it is over and wish I had savoured it just a little bit more. Jennifer Echols has done the impossible... she made this chatty girl speechless (for a chatty girl).