Friday, June 18, 2010

Flightsend, by Linda Newbery

After the death of the baby who would have been Charlie's sister, her grieving Mom decides to make a full break of things, quit her job, break up with her lover, and move out to the country. Charlie is pretty messed up over the whole thing. While the death of her would-be sister is traumatizing, Charlie is most upset about the loss of her Mom's partner (even if he had no legal status as her stepfather). She is keen to get them to reconcile.

She doesn't have much success with getting them back together, but she does spend the summer in their new home (Flightsend) making new friends and discovering herself.

While the writing is strong and Newbery occasionally strikes gold, I found the book overall to be quite dull. Despite the book's subtitle ("a summer of discovery"), there really is surprisingly little of that in the novel. Charlie adopts a dog, takes a job, babysits for a child who reminds her of her dead sister, meets some people, addresses some feelings of infatuation, but not a whole lot of actual growth here. And given the slow pace and low energy of the story, I had trouble tracking all of the characters and/or their significance. In the end, I couldn't find much of a point to the book.

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