Full Flight

Wednesday Bks. Feb. 2022. 320p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250779786.
Gr 9 Up–Anna James is trying to prove herself as a saxophonist. After joining her school’s marching band, she enlists the help of Weston Ryan, whose musical abilities are as well-known as his reputation as an outcast. In their small Texas town, where football is like a religion, the members of the Enfield Marching Band have their own goal: winning the local contest and making it to the state competition. As Weston guides Anna through the duet they’re assigned, Anna returns the favor by helping Weston with his academic work. What begins as a practical arrangement turns into something much more. Their relationship flourishes despite Weston’s broken family life and Anna’s overprotective parents. When tragedy strikes, Anna is forced to make sense of something that ended before it had the space to grow. Schumacher skillfully captures young love, highlighting the romantic gestures and flirty text messages that cause butterflies. Although the main characters have intimate interactions, there is an innocent quality to their courting. While some teens may balk at this tame romance and the old-fashioned family activities scattered throughout, others will find the traditional touches appealing. The vibe changes drastically toward the end, and readers are likely to be shaken by the sudden tragedy. The author, however, writes beautifully about grief, revealing its unpredictable and all-consuming power.
VERDICT A sweet romance that also deals with tragedy, this work is recommended for libraries where romance and realistic fiction is in demand.

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