Uniquely told through letters from death row and third-person narrative, Bryan Bliss’s hard-hitting third novel expertly unravels the string of events that landed a teenager in jail. Luke feels like he’s been looking after Toby his entire life. He patches Toby up when Toby’s father, a drunk and a petty criminal, beats on him, he gives him a place to stay, and he diffuses the situation at school when wise-cracking Toby inevitably gets into fights. Someday, Luke and Toby will leave this small town, riding the tails of Luke’s wrestling scholarship, and never look back.
But during their senior year, they begin to drift apart. Luke is dealing with his unreliable mother and her new boyfriend. And Toby unwittingly begins to get drawn into his father’s world, and falls for an older woman. All their long-held dreams seem to be unraveling. Tense and emotional, this heartbreaking novel explores family, abuse, sex, love, friendship, and the lengths a person will go to protect the people they love. For fans of NPR’s Serial podcast, Jason Reynolds, and Matt de la Peña.
We’ll Fly Away was absolutely devastating, but in the best way. I almost didn’t want to finish it because I knew from the beginning that the ending was going to be brutal, but at the same time I couldn’t put it down. It’s a wonderfully written book about friendship and family, and I would highly recommend it.
I loved the way the author made me care about the characters. Sometimes books told in a split timeline and format can be a struggle for me because they can start out quite impersonal, but with this book I had no problems with that.
I cared about both of the main characters, Luke and Toby, from the very beginning. Both of them are having trouble at home, but in very different ways. I could relate to both of them – Luke who had a neglectful mother and who had to take care of his siblings, and Toby who had an abusive father who preferred his drink to his son.
We’ll Fly Away is incredibly powerful and impactful, and I loved it a lot. I don’t think it’s one I would read again because it devastated me, but it’s definitely one I would recommend to everyone.