Just Fly Away by Andrew McCarthy (5 out of 5)

I’m not going to lie. I am hugely biased here. Andrew McCarthy is one of my favorite “Brat Pack” actors. I love all his movies. In 2013, I read his “armchair travelogue” The Longest Way Home. Yes, I loved it. I also love that this guy is still around in the public eye, and not in the actor’s studio, either. I love that he is now a New York Times best-selling author. And now? Well, damn! Now he’s written his first young adult novel. Don’t rush out yet..It’s out in April, courtesy of Algonquin Young Readers. But when April gets here? Go to your closest bookstore and pick up a copy. Right away. The copy that I read is an advance that came to the store, along with a wonderful handwritten note from Andrew. Yes, my 44-year old fangirl went a little crazy. And I put it on a place of prominence in my bookpile, to be read at a later date when I needed this. Well, on the heels of a week where the best word I can use to describe it was craptastic, I picked it up and started reading it. And didn’t stop until I finished it. All in all, four hours. And it was a quiet, reflective 60-something day in Chicago- in February, no less!- with my Adam Ant CD playing loud and a hint of change in the wind. Reading this book? A great harbinger for change, family secrets and solidarity, and growing up. Growing up is hard, no question. And those days are often filled with smiles and sunshine, and others with tears and rain. This is life, and it was refreshing to read this story of an incredibly resilient and strong young lady who just can’t handle a stunning reveal by her father. Lucy does what most free-spirited teens do in the wake of finding out something they disagree with and can’t handle with the impetuous rush of youth- she flies away, to see her grandfather in New Jersey. Partially because her fond memories of them visiting him a long time ago (her grandfather and her dad are estranged) make her yearn for his company, and partially to get away from her immediate family after she goes postal in wake of her dad’s confession. Once Lucy (“Lulu” to her granddad) gets there, they spend wonderful time together, and the growing relationship between the two is a wonderful thing to read and be a part of. It also made me wish my grandfather’s were around to forge a relationship with. My dad’s father died when my Dad was 7 or 8, from lung cancer he contracted while being a pipe fitter. My mom’s lived for a long, long time, but none of us were very close to him due to him beating the crap out of my mom and her 9 other siblings when they were growing up. I think that made us more determined to stay close to the family that is around. Alas, like the book points out, your best intentions often do not come to fruition. In this case, also true.What do you do when life throws you a gigantic grapefruit?  Life doesn’t always work out as you hope. Lucy, as most of us do, finds out things aren’t always guaranteed a happy ending, but you can create a lot of memories that will last a lifetime. I hope this book gets the audience it deserves. I also hope Lucy found the ending she deserved. What a great story. 

~ by generationgbooks on February 20, 2017.

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