This Is How We Fly

Philomel. Dec. 2020. 480p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593116876.
Gr 8 Up–Recent high school grad Ellen Lopez-Rourke likes “Harry Potter” as much as the next teen, but never imagined herself joining a local Quidditch team. The summer before college brings lots of changes for Ellen. Her one best friend Xiumiao, who has had a secret crush on their other best friend, Melissa, for years, doesn’t want to hang out as a group anymore. Ellen and her stepmother’s tenuous relationship is also deteriorating. Her stepmother still doesn’t get what being a vegan means, nor does she understand the social justice issues that are important to Ellen. After an especially heated argument over Christmas that leads to her stepmother and stepsister going back to Mexico to cool off, things have only gotten worse, and her father is less inclined to take Ellen’s side. When Ellen gets grounded, her only outlet is Quidditch. While there is no flying, the game turns out to be way more athletic—and full of drama and team romances—than she thought. Ellen’s first-person narrative is strong and relatable. Teens will identify with her struggle with identity (as emphasized by the fact that people are often confused with her Latinx-Irish hyphenated last name), and Ellen’s desire to change the world even if the adults in her life don’t always understand why. Readers may be inspired to look for a local Quidditch team in their area.
VERDICT A timely coming-of-age story with a unique Quidditch twist. Recommended for most collections.

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