Blackbird Fly

 /   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
July/August 2016

By Erin Entrada Kelly, Reviewed by Ramsey E. Stephenson

Blackbird Fly book cover image

Blackbird Fly, by Erin Entrada Kelly;
Greenwillow Press: New York, 2015; $16.99

Have you ever longed and hoped for something you never had? Like blue eyes, or soft yellow hair? Those are the things Apple Yengko longs for night and day. To not come from a different country. To not have a mother who does things differently than other mothers. To be the same as everyone else. Have you ever felt this way? Then you should read Blackbird Fly.

Apple Yengko is from the Philippines. She was born there, and that was where her father died. Her mother couldn’t stand to still live in the same place. Too many memories. So they moved to America. Apple is conscious of her looks and how her mother talks. She goes to Chapel Hill Middle School in Louisiana. The kids make fun of her because she looks different. Looking different can either work for you or against you. In her case it works against her. They even put her on a list that marks her ugly. But then a bad mistake is made that somehow helps Apple make new friends and learn that being different from everyone else isn’t so bad.

One main theme of Blackbird Fly is that being different isn’t a bad thing. Sometimes it’s a gift. It’s OK not to blend in with the crowd. You don’t have to always be the same as everyone else. The author made the passion of the characters so strong. Feelings jumped off every page! It was also a little funny at times. You would immediately feel trust, sympathy, and compassion for Apple. Apple’s mother is always raging about American ways and choices and friends. It makes Apple wonder, if her mom is always talking about how much nicer or more friendly or healthy the Philippines are, why did she move her to America? This book is a cliffhanger and will deeply impact your emotions.

The best thing about this book is that you can really relate to the main character. One terrible thing that happens in this book is that Apple’s friends don’t turn out to be so friendly and are really harsh. They backstab her when she least expects it. One time a really good friend of mine backstabbed me and I was hurt. But I got through it, and so did Apple. The things that happen in this book seem so real and you can totally relate to Apple’s good moments, seriously embarrassing moments, and terrible and confusing moments. It makes the book seem so real because things like that happen all the time.

All in all, this was a five-star book for me. It made me gasp, sigh in relief, and shudder all the while I was reading it. This book was very satisfying, but also completely and truly shocking in some ways. Blackbird Fly is a fantastic read!

Blackbird Fly Ramsey E. Stephenson

Ramsey E. Stephenson, 11
Washington, DC

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