Publisher: Macmillan Children’s
Genre: YA, Romance, Contemporary
Source: review copy
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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 by Carlie Sorosiak was one of my most anticipated debuts of 2017 and I was lucky enough to be sent an ARC by the lovely people over at Macmillan Children’s as part of their lucky dip! As always, in no way does this affect the honesty of my review.
The story is split between two POVs; Linny and Sebastian. Linny is known by most as ‘camera girl’ because she spends most of her time filming and her camera is like an extension of her. Her sister, Grace, who was also her best friend, recently vanished leaving behind a note and a broken family. Since her sister’s disappearance, Linny has grown obsessed with disappearance cases. Specifically those where the individuals have returned. At the beginning of most of her chapters, we are introduced to a new case and I just felt the need to mention this because they are super interesting. And then we have Sebastian. Cute, dorky, aspiring astrophysicist Sebastian. Though I loved Linny, I think I most enjoyed reading Sebastian’s perspective because I found myself laughing a lot more. Even if I wanted to punch his friend Micah in the face most of the time.
Linny and Sebastian are both struggling with their own predicaments, both involving abandonment. Linny wants to know how her sister could have left without telling her, or without taking her along. Sebastian wants to know how his father could have abandoned him and his mother. They find comfort and understanding in one another, and though Sebastian keeps his intentions secret for a while, he grows close to Linny and we see a friendship-romance blossom.
If I had to sum up If Birds Fly Back in a single word, that word would probably be ‘addicting’. I read the story in two sittings; half in one evening, and then the second half the next evening. Even when I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it and forced myself to get through uni assignments so that I could spend the entire evening bingeing it without feeling too guilty.
If you’re a fan of Rainbow Rowell, Jen E. Smith, Morgan Matson, or just contemporary romance in general, I advise you check out Carlie Sorosiak’s stunning and addicting debut. The characters were diverse, flawed and honest, and had me rooting for them the entire way through. The romance made my heart melt. I laughed, I cried, and despite the literal storm going on in the background
(you suck, Storm Doris) Carlie’s writing transported me to a scorching summer in Miami, on a wild adventure. I will definitely be rereading this as soon as the weather begins to warm up, and recommending it as the perfect summer read.