Hey, all, it’s Alexa! So I got this ARC from Roaring Brook Press and it was so, so good. Allow me to tell you all of the things about why.
Description from Novel Back Cover:
A debut novel inspired by true events, about a teenage boy who has stolen―and crashed―not one, but three airplanes. And each time he’s walked away unscathed.
Who is Robert Jackson Kelly? Is he a juvenile delinquent? A criminal mastermind? A folk hero? One thing is clear: Robert always defies what people think of him. And now, the kid who failed at school, relationships, and almost everything in life, is determined to successfully steal and land a plane.
Told as an investigation into Robert’s psyche, the narrative includes multiple points of view as well as documentary elements like emails, official records, and interviews with people who knew Robert. Ultimately, Flight Risk is a thrilling story about one teenager who is determined to find a moment of transcendence after everyone else has written him off as lost.
Flight Risk actually begins at the end, with the sentence “Robert Jackson Kelley stole his last plane on a cloudy night, the moon casting hazy light through the gray gauze sky.” Which, of course, hooked me immediately. It then circles back to the beginning, showing piece by piece, year by year, how Robert stumbled into the massive mess of stealing planes in the first place.
And then, the moments unraveled, the years were up, and I was racing towards the finish line, knowing we were nearing the end, knowing there were really only two ways this could go down… yet, still halfway shocked when it all ended. And I mean, it was sad (though perhaps not in the way you’re thinking), but so very well-written. One of those where I planned to read for twenty-five minutes so I could continue writing for the day… and all of the sudden I’d been curled up on my bed for almost two hours, devouring literally half the book in a single sitting.
So yeah. A little sad, but a lot good.
Plot: 4 1/2 stars out of 5.
I loved how the different POVs played in with the interviews, the news clippings, and all the other pieces that rounded out the narrative. It just amounted to this fascinating contrast of the way everyone else saw Robert, pretending to know what was going on in his head, and then the way Robert saw Robert when he was in his head. Everywhere else, he was anything and everything. In his head, in truth, he was a kid. A stupid kid in way over his head who just wanted one moment of total escape and freedom. And I mean, I really hate stupid and there’s no real way you can condone the things he did. But. I so felt for him. I can’t necessarily say that I felt love for him, but the author skillfully showed me into his heart and his mind, so that I could at least understand where he was coming from. My heart went out to him, and I wanted things to turn out well.
Characters: 4 1/2 stars out of 5.
Absolutely no complaints here. The writing was perfect for the style and the story: 3rd person, which is kind of unique for YA, but it worked perfectly to show the POV characters’ frames of mind, as well as leaving opportunities for the interviews, TV shows, and all the other clippings that rounded out the story. The descriptions were always spot-on, honing in on tiny details to paint the bigger picture of what was going on in and outside of the characters’ mind.
Absolute A +.
Writing Style/Setting: 5 stars out of 5
And so, we come in just around 4 1/2 stars out of 5. Flight Risk was adrenaline-rushing and emotionally touching in a way I rarely find in contemporary stories. If you’d like to pick up a copy for yourself, you can preorder it here for $17.99.
So what was the last book that touched you? Do you ever read ones based on true stories? Can’t wait to hear from you all, and I’ll see you in the comment section!
~ Love, Alexa ❤
Note: I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of this book.
Content: quite a bit of cursing in some parts + mention of drugs and brief sexual reference