Friday, May 1, 2020

Review: When Elephants Fly by Nancy Richardson Fischer

When Elephants FlyTitle: When Elephants Fly
Author: Nancy Richardson Fischer
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publishing Date: September 4th, 2018
Pages: 400
Audio Length: 9 Hours and 43 Minutes
Genre: YA Mental Health Contemporary
TW: Suicide, abuse, animal abuse, schizophrenia 
Series: Standalone
Source: Audio

There are some battles worth fighting even if it means losing yourself.
T. Lily Decker is a high school senior with a twelve-year plan: avoid stress, drugs, alcohol and boyfriends, and take regular psych quizzes administered by her best friend, Sawyer, to make sure she's not developing schizophrenia.Genetics are not on Lily's side.
When she was seven, her mother, who had paranoid schizophrenia, tried to kill her. And a secret has revealed that Lily's odds are even worse than she thought. Still, there's a chance to avoid triggering the mental health condition, if Lily can live a careful life from ages eighteen to thirty, when schizophrenia most commonly manifests.
But when a newspaper internship results in Lily witnessing a mother elephant try to kill her three-week-old calf, Swifty, Lily can't abandon the story or the calf. With Swifty in danger of dying from grief, Lily must choose whether to risk everything, including her sanity and a first love, on a desperate road trip to save the calf's life, perhaps finding her own version of freedom along the way.
This was my second read of April and it was even better than the first one, Keep This To Yourself. 
I wasn't expecting to love this book, or to have as much of an emotional response like I did. I have been avoiding writing this review because I'm not sure how to put into words how much this book affected me. 

The cover is just okay to me, I love the color and I can see how it would fit the book. But it's just kind of... Meh.

I love mental health books, anyone who reads my reviews knows that. I haven't read too many books about schizophrenia but I loved reading about it from the POV of a loved one of the person who had schizophrenia. Does that make sense?
Anyway. This is a great book about mental health. Lily does everything in her power to keep from ending up like her mother. She lives a boring, easy life. She doesn't have but one friend, she doesn't go out much, do anything exciting.
And then she takes an internship at a paper and everything just goes crazy.
She realizes that sometimes life is worth the risk and that maybe if something does trigger her schizophrenia then maybe it wouldn't be that bad of a thing.

Then on top of the schizophrenia, you have the animal abuse and the thing with the circus, and then you also have the thing with her best friend, about his dad hating him for being gay, and you also have her realizing how selfish she was being and it's just a whole big thing all wrapped up into one book.

The only thing is the romance part of the book. I liked the romance in general, it felt natural and sweet and I loved the development of it. However I almost wish it wasn't in this book. I think I would have liked to see her come into herself without adding a guy into it.

And let me just tell you, I love the elephant. I wanted nothing more than to take care of her. I wanted her to live and I never knew I'd be so invested in an elephants story.

It started out just a little bit slow and kind of kept that pace over the whole book. But it fits the book I think, it's just a very level pace.

I feel like the author did a really good job in writing about the mental illness. She made it all feel very real.
The emotions were written well, they were raw and real and powerful. I felt a lot when reading this, and that's something that's not easy to do. It's not easy to make the reader feel these kinds of emotions. Maybe if it's something that the reader feels personally, like for me anything about self harm, depression, etc. But for something such as schizophrenia to hit me so hard? I don't know anyone who has schizophrenia.

Nancy really made me want to keep reading this book, I was completely surrounded by this book and I didn't want it to stop. I already mentioned how invested I was in the elephant's story and man was I ever invested. I was scared and worried and I wanted her to be okay and I feel like you have to be a pretty good author to make me feel so much for an animal that doesn't talk or anything.

I absolutely loved Lily's growth in this book. I had mentioned it above, but she really does grow and come to the realization that life is short, and it's best to live your life to the fullest. What's the point of living if you're going to be miserable?

I also loved her best friend Sawyer, I felt so bad for him. He was so sweet and such a great friend, and all Lily did was talk about herself and not even think about his feelings.

And of course Swifty, the baby elephant. Who couldn't love swifty? The whole book was about her. She was the best part, of course.

There wasn't too much world building that needed to be done, I don't think. But from what was done, she did a good job.

Everything was so perfect in the end. I loved it. It was all wrapped up nicely in an elephant sized bow.

So much more than I thought it would be. This book gave me a major book hangover and I can't tell you the last time I had one of those. 

“The one certainty in life is that it changes.”
― Nancy Richardson Fischer, When Elephants Fly

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I've written for a circus, a graduate school, tried my hand at waitressing (I was terrible!), baking carrot cakes (I was messy but good!), and been lucky enough to ultimately do what I love - write.
I live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband and our mostly wonderful (but sometimes vorpal) Vizsla. When I'm not conjuring a story, I love to kite-board, bike, ski or plan adventures with my two guys, who both make me laugh for different reasons and are the best partners in fun a gal could ever imagine.

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1 comment:

  1. I wouldn't say I'm a fan of the cover either, to be honest. But the book does sounds great!


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