Tuesday, 3 February 2015



TITLE:  How to fly with broken wings
AUTHOR: Jane Elson
RELEASE DATE: March 5th 2015
PUBLISHER: Hodder childrens

Twelve-year-old Willem has Aspergers Syndrome and two main aims in life: to fly and to make at least two friends of his own age. But all the other boys from the Beckham Estate do is make him jump off things. First his desk - and now the wall. As his toes teeter on the edge, Sasha Barton gives him a tiny little wink. Might she become his friend?
Bullied by Finn and his gang the Beckham Estate Boyz, Willem has no choice but to jump. As he flies through the air he flaps his arms, wishing he could fly and escape into the clouds. Instead he comes crashing down and breaks his ankle.
Sasha, angry with herself for not stopping Finn and his Boyz, is determined to put things right. And soon, while the gangs riot on their estate, Willem and Sasha form an unlikely friendship. Because they share a secret. Sasha longs to fly too.
And when Magic Man Archie arrives with stories of war-flying spitfires, he will change the lives of the kids on the Beckham Estate for ever. And perhaps find a way for Willem and Sasha to fly ...
Touching on themes such as friendship and bullying, this is a charming tale about overcoming obstacles and finding friendship in unlikely places.

I thought I knew what to expect when I started reading 'How to fly with broken wings'. From the synopsis, and the super adorable cover, I thought it was going to be a heart warming story about a boy with Aspergers making new friends. It was, kind of, but that plot line seemed overwhelmed by a jumble of gangs, riots, and world war two references.

I guess that's not fundamentally a bad thing, it just wasn't what I expected. The friendship between Willem and Sasha was really sweet but I wish there had been more of an emphasis on it like there was in the books marketing. The characters themselves were interesting- Willem was really adorable and Sasha went through some pretty good character development- but I never really got very connected to them. Maybe it was because I was too old to relate to them (although I actually thought Sasha seemed a lot older than she was), or maybe it was just because the book just didn't give them enough time to shine. I did love Willem's gran though. Willem's gran was a badass.

I liked the fact that the main character had Aspergers Syndrome as it's not something I've read a lot about and I hope this book will help to raise awareness about the syndrome, especially among the young children this book is aimed at. Unfortunately I thought there could have been more exploration of the topic and it kind of came second to the chaotic plot, but it was still an aspect of the book that I really enjoyed. The topics of bullying and gang issues were also addressed, which was good to see in a children's book, but again I felt like they could have done with more development. Maybe I'm just not used to the genre. If you're in the target audience for this book I think this would be a great way to read about some deeper topics without getting overwhelmed, but for me there just wasn't enough about them.

Now, to talk about that chaotic plot that I keep complaining about. There was just far too much happening here. Half the time I didn't really know what was going on, and it seemed like the characters didn't either. There would be a problem, and then before it could be solved another problem would arise and the characters would go running off again. So many plot lines resulted in the book feeling rushed and jumbled.

Furthermore, some of the things that happened seemed really unrealistic. One minute there was a full scale riot going on in the estate, and the next they were all having an impromptu party with a local rock star or fixing spitfires together.

One thing I did enjoy about this book was the world war two references, especially the stories about the spitfire and how it brought everybody together. It's a subject that I find particularly interesting, and I think it would make any children who feel the same way love this book. I also enjoyed hearing about Archie's mum, who was a badass female pilot. I like badass female pilots. 

I know it sounds like I hated this book. I didn't, it was enjoyable to read and I finished it all in one night, but I just really wanted more and I had a lot of issues with how the story was told. I think younger people (9-12 age range, maybe?) would probably really enjoy this book but I just wanted and expected more from it.

(I think I said I rated it higher than that in my  wrapup, but after thinking about it I've decided on 3 stars)

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