Title: If Birds Fly Back
Author: Carlie Sorosiak
Published by: Macmillan’s Children’s Books
Publication date: 29th June 2017
Pages: 352, paperback
Genre: YA, contemporary, romance
Linny has been living life in black and white since her sister Grace ran away, and she’s scared that Grace might never come back. When Linny witnesses the return to Miami of a cult movie star long presumed dead, she is certain it’s a sign. Surely Álvaro Herrera, of all people, can tell her why people come back – and how to bring her sister home?
Sebastian has come to Miami seeking his father, a man whose name he’s only just learned. An aspiring astrophysicist, he can tell Linny how many galaxies there are, how much plutonium weighs and how likely she is to be struck by a meteorite. But none of the theories he knows are enough to answer his own questions about why his father abandoned him, and why it left him in pieces.
As Sebastian and Linny converge around the mystery of Álvaro’s disappearance – and return – their planets start to collide. Linny’s life is about to become technicolor, but finding the answers to her questions might mean losing everything that matters.
If Birds Fly Back is another one of the stunning debuts released in 2017, and I had been dying to read it for ages. I finally sat down to read it (borrowing my sister’s ARC), right before the book launch, which I went to and had a blast!
I loved the alternating POVs between Linny and Sebastian. If Birds Fly Back is an example of a dual narrative done well – it was always easy to distinguish between the two of them because of the strong characterisation, and as both of them had there own stories to tell, the individual storylines unfolded really well.
Linny and Sebastian had such a beautiful love story, and there were so many scenes throughout the book that left me in a fit of the feels. I also found it quite refreshing how, even though they didn’t take to each other immediately, there was not some huge love-hate thing going on. This meant that their friendship was also explored in the book, and in general I just loved the relationship the two characters had. And although it ultimately was a romance, I never felt that the part of the plot about Linny’s sister was pushed aside. The screenplay extracts included in the book added more depth to her relationship with Grace, and thoughts about how to bring her back were never far from Linny’s mind.
Alongside this, I liked the complicated relationships both Linny and Sebastian had with their parents. From Linny’s side, we see how her parents handle their grief once Grace disappears, and how this effects Linny; from Sebastian’s side, his very complicated relationship with his father and how this develops throughout the book.
This book was so so cute, with a generous amount of cheese, which is just what I was in the mood for. It’s also very diverse (Linny and Sebastian are both POC), which just adds another reason why this book is so wonderful. This is literally the perfect summer read (the sun is even peeking out on the cover!), so I really would urge you to pick up a copy for yourself as soon as possible.