cover image Fly Away

Fly Away

Patricia MacLachlan. S&S/McElderry, $15.99 (128p) ISBN 978-1-4424-6008-9

As she did in recent younger middle-grade titles including The Truth of Me and Kindred Souls, MacLachlan again demonstrates a gift for combining an economy of prose with a bounty of emotion. Lucy’s family is traveling by VW bus to visit her eccentric Aunt Frankie in North Dakota. An aspiring poet, Lucy insists that she can’t sing, an anomaly in her musical family. Her farmer father loves opera as much as he loves cows; her mother is devoted to musician Langhorne Slim; younger sister Gracie sings in a clear, high voice; and baby Teddy can’t yet talk, but substitutes “la la la” for lyrics of songs he sings to Lucy each night. “Teddy has music but no words,” says Lucy. “I have words but no music. We are a strange pair.” Though the family’s strong bonds are the heart of this novel, MacLachlan includes some nerve-wracking drama, too: a river overflows, threatening to flood Aunt Frankie’s house, and Teddy disappears in the deluge. As befits a story in which words and music play such a central role, MacLachlan’s writing is melodic, poetic, and enchanting. Ages 7–up. (Apr.)