Book Review: Learning to Fly

Student Reviewer: Robert J.

Learning to Flyby Paul Yee
Orca Book Publishers, 2008
Pages: 108
Series: Orca Soundings

Summary: This book, “Learning to Fly”, is a journey of a young boy named Jie-Xin, a.k.a. China, who immigrates to a small town in The United States. He befriends a couple of pot heads who make him buy some weed; little did they know that the drug dealer was working with the cops. He gets charged with content to distribute and possession of drugs, he later decides to kill himself with his friend Chief.

  • Did this book hold your attention? : No
  • Was the story what you expected it to be? Were you disappointed? Surprised?: I had a feeling that this book would end with the protagonist killing himself. Through out the book he demonstrates a lack of self-confidence and great depression.
  • Do you think that the book was suitable for your age? Too violent, swearing, sex, etc.: Yes I think this book was appropriate for our age category. The only thing that might have been a bit aggressive would have been marijuana, but then again weed is a common factor in many lives. I think the author choose marijuana because it really relates to our daily lives.
  • Did you like/dislike the book? Why? I didn’t really like this book. I found the author rushed through it and didn’t really take the time to really develop an ending. The ending was unclear and very light. If I were Paul Yee I would have made it more structural and not take the easy way out.
  • Who would you recommend this book to, even if you disliked it? Give an example.: I would recommend this book to troubled teens. whether they are suffering with grades, drugs or police. They could really relate to this character.
  • Was the book part of a series? Is it a book that you have to read the previous/following book to understand the plot? Or is the story self-contained? This book is self-contained, it has no prequel or sequel.
  • Does the cover art match the style of the book inside? Yes, the cover art depicts China climbing a fence. Personally I think this is a symbol more than just an ordinary fence hoop. This picture depicts his rough journey in a new place he has never been: no friends, grades or hope. All he dreams about is going back to China, his home.

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