If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak
Published: June 29th 2017 by Macmillan Children’s Books
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Recommended for: Anyone searching for a beach read that’s a little bit heavier than the usual fluffy summer romance, but not so heavy that you couldn’t read it at the beach.
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I received a copy of this book for free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Linny has been living life in black and white since her sister Grace ran away, and she’s scared that Grace might never come back. When Linny witnesses the return to Miami of a cult movie star long presumed dead, she is certain it’s a sign. Surely Álvaro Herrera, of all people, can tell her why people come back – and how to bring her sister home?
Sebastian has come to Miami seeking his father, a man whose name he’s only just learned. An aspiring astrophysicist, he can tell Linny how many galaxies there are, how much plutonium weighs and how likely she is to be struck by a meteorite. But none of the theories he knows are enough to answer his own questions about why his father abandoned him, and why it left him in pieces.
As Sebastian and Linny converge around the mystery of Álvaro’s disappearance – and return – their planets start to collide. Linny’s life is about to become technicolor, but finding the answers to her questions might mean losing everything that matters.
I really did not anticipate before reading this book how simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming it would be. It features some beautiful relationships between sisters, friends, parents and kids, patients and carers, and romantic relationships. There are so many aspects to this story but it never feels complicated or confusing – the three main plots (the relationship between Linny and Sebastian, the one between Sebastian and Álvaro, and the one between Linny and Grace) are all so different but so wonderfully intertwined.
The characters are so well-written and distinct, even the side characters, and their relationships are all amazing and real. I especially loved the relationship between Linny and her father, and the one between Sebastian and his aunt, Ana. I really appreciate the diversity in the book – Linny identifies as multiracial, with a Nigerian grandparent, and Sebastian has Cuban roots.
The setting is not one that I’ve read about before – Miami in the summer, in the scorching heat. It’s such a summery book and it made me want to go outside and go to the beach.
The format is so interesting and original – each Linny chapter has an entry from her Lost and Found journal, and each Sebastian chapter has an extract from an astrophysics book (which is fictional, unfortunately, I checked).
The story was a little bit slow to start and I found myself having to drag myself through it until around the halfway mark. Things really picked up towards the end, though.
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