If these wings could fly

Kyrie McCauley

Book - 2020

In Auburn, Pennsylvania, a farming community overrun with crows, high school senior Leighton struggles to keep herself and her sisters safe from their abusive father even as she starts a relationship.

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Location Call Number   Status
Young Adult Area YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Mccauley Kyrie Checked In
Paranormal fiction
New York, NY : Katherine Tegen Books [2020]
Main Author
Kyrie McCauley (author)
First edition
Physical Description
383 pages ; 22 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

For Leighton Barnes, home is two things. It's where she nurtures a deep, protective love for her two younger sisters and a mother who often seems frozen in place. But it's also where her father takes his temper violently out on Leighton's mother while the house itself magically and mysteriously absorbs all signs of the damage he inflicts. Leighton, who is applying to colleges, resists her attraction to a classmate as she chafes between extremes: her desire to escape wars with the desire to watch over her sisters. Stranger yet are the crows. At first, there are just a few of them, but as things in Leighton's life intensify, thousands more come, bewildering the town that has always turned a blind eye to the Barnes family. Poignant and powerful, this novel uses magical realism to examine choice in a difficult world. There are titles for teens that address the realities of dating violence, but it's more difficult to find stories of family violence; in her debut, McCauley traverses the tender ground with grace.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

McCauley makes a moving debut with this hard-hitting novel set in a small, tightly knit town. In Auburn, Pa., crows are gathering by the thousands, rendering the world outside as surreal as the one behind closed doors in 17-year-old Leighton's house. Her gun-toting father is becoming increasingly violent and abusive, though the house magically repairs itself every time he leaves cracks in the walls, and Leighton fears for the safety of her mother and two younger sisters. Mean- while, she grows concerned for the crows' wellbeing, treating one like a pet and even feeling affection toward them, while angry townspeople are desperate to rid the town of them. In the midst of the chaos, Leighton falls in love with football player Liam, whose home life appears comfortingly normal amid his struggles growing up black in a nearly all-white community. Though Leighton feels safe when she's with Liam, going out with him means leaving her family unprotected--as would heading to college. McCauley develops convincing, sympathetic characters while building tension that underscores the precariousness of Leighton's situation. While the book doesn't shy away from raw depictions of domestic abuse, the love and warmth exuding from Leighton's sisters, Liam, and his kindhearted family soften the story's sharp edges. Ages 13--up. Agent: Suzie Townsend, New Leaf Media & Literary. (Mar.)

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

The intricacies of family violence are explored in this lyrical novel.As she begins her senior year of high school, Leighton precariously balances her commitment to her two younger sisters with her desperation to flee her father's ongoing abusive behavior. Smart, driven, and self-possessed, she's been focused on earning her way into NYU and is unprepared for the emotional shake-up that comes with a romance that grows between her and Liam, a fellow student whose nuanced kindness eventually wins her over. Details about an ever growing population of almost preternatural crows in her small Pennsylvania town and her family's house's spontaneously repairing itself when her dad breaks things in the midst of his rages are juxtaposed against Leighton's authentic, intimate first-person narration, providing an element of the otherworldly that is likely to either appeal mightily to or confuse readers, depending on their taste for magical realism. Strong writing that features some dreamily lovely turns of phrase and language stands out, and the dynamics of domestic violence, including Leighton's simultaneous love for and frustration with her mother, are portrayed in all their complexity without feeling pedantic. Leighton and her family are white. Liam's mother is black and his father is white, and his experience as one of the few people of color in their town adds texture to his character development.A powerful, thoughtful, and ultimately hopeful debut. (Fiction. 14-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.