cover image Flyaway


Kathleen Jennings., $19.99 (176p) ISBN 978-1-250-76187-3

Jennings’s wonderful, slim debut pulls readers into an eerie, enchanting fairy tale set in a trio of Australian towns so tiny that they hardly exist. Nineteen-year-old Bettina Scott lives alone with her controlling mother, as her two brothers and father disappeared the same night years before. When Bettina receives a mysterious letter calling her a coward and addressing her by her nickname, “Tink,” a name only her brothers and father called her, she sets off to find them through her district’s small, dilapidated towns, hoping to piece together what really happened to them. She recruits her childhood friends Trish Aberdeen and Gary Damson to help her, though they have not spoken to her since the Scott brothers’ disappearance and are disconcerted by strange changes in Bettina, who used to be rebellious and is now compliant. Throughout their search, Jennings weaves tantalizing snippets of short fairy tales that Bettina and her friends grew up with and, as it slowly becomes clear that the line between fact and fairy tale is rather hazy, Bettina is forced to question her own jumbled memories of her family. In spellbinding, lyrical prose Jennings lulls readers into this rich, dreamlike world. Lovers of contemporary fairy tales and magical realism will find this a masterful work. (July)