Wednesday, 9 February 2011

If I Could Fly by Jill Hucklesby

Target Audience: Teens/Young Adults
Genre: Fantasy/Dystopia

If I Could Fly
When i first started reading this I wasn't sure what to think. I think the main issue was that I'm not used to the particular writing style that was used, but once i did get used to it I fell in love with story and I completely understood why it had to be written the way it was.
In fact, I'm going to have major trouble writing a review that doesn't give away spoilers because a massive part of the book is such a surprise that i was left completely stunned, and in honesty, I wouldn't have seen it coming even if I'd dared to let my imagination look that far ahead.

In summary, If I Could Fly is about a young girl called Calypso who finds herself alone and in a deserted area with no memory of how she got there at all. All she knows is that she's hiding and running from something but she isn't sure what yet. She remembers her mother, her father and that she was part of a free-running gang, and her past, but nothing recently.
The book itself unfolds as Cali remembers things, and yet this does nothing to give away the big twist at the end, and i loved that about this novel.  The way the truth comes out is beautifully and cleverly done and Jill deserves an award for her writing skills.
When the twist is finally revealed, your jaw will drop (probably literally) and you'll then think back the earlier events and think, Why didn't I think of that? But in honesty, the clues were so cleverly hidden and well woven throughout the novel that there is no way of deducing the truth.

Since i can't say anything else about the plot without giving away the punchline (so to speak!) I shall delve into the characters.  Calypso, or Cali, for short is a wonderful heroine and i loved the way she dealt with everything she encountered. There were many incidents that would have caused a full grown adult to panic, yet Cali doesn't falter. Don't get me wrong, she isn't perfect and she makes some strange choices and decisions at times, but to me, her mistakes give her character a humanity that a lot of other characters across other books, lack.
Cali's mother, although not very present in the story, was a major focus point for Cali. She was the reason she kept going a lot of the time, and i found her cultural background fascinating. I learnt a lot about Thailand and Cali's and her mothers beliefs simply reading this book.  Also, the love that her mother had for Cali is truly beautiful, and i gained the impression that she would have gone to ends of the earth for her daughter.
My other favourtite characters were Alfie and Dair, both of whom are completely different to each other. Dair is a bit crazy (but very amusing) whereas Alfie is a loyal and amazing friend who helps Cali make some very difficult decisions.

Overall, i was left very impressed with this book, and i was amazed by the authors writing talent and her ability to write in such beautiful prose.  The ending left me feeling pretty happy and hopeful and with room to imagine what happens next, which is how i like to leave a book sometimes. Imagination, to me, plays a very important part in reading. I will most definitely be checking out whatever Miss Hucklesby writes next!


  1. This sounds like a book from such a talented author. Truly. I have often worked on a story about a boy who had no memory and found himself at a river. Reading this review describes very much what I had never published ... and probably never will. (It's sometimes eerie, to me, how another writer can present a story very similar to one you or I think we are making up brand new and fresh). This really sounds like a book I would love to read. If I could only get through my huge slush pile ... I'd add it. Great review!

  2. thanks, I know what you mean about having a big pile, me too :-)


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