Hot Best Seller

Why We Fly

Availability: Ready to download

From the bestselling authors of I'm Not Dying with You Tonight comes a compelling YA novel about the choices teens make. Two high school cheerleaders face the ultimate test when an act of solidarity spurs chaos. With a rocky start to senior year, lifelong friends Eleanor and Chanel have a lot on their mind. Eleanor is still in physical therapy months after a serious concuss From the bestselling authors of I'm Not Dying with You Tonight comes a compelling YA novel about the choices teens make. Two high school cheerleaders face the ultimate test when an act of solidarity spurs chaos. With a rocky start to senior year, lifelong friends Eleanor and Chanel have a lot on their mind. Eleanor is still in physical therapy months after a serious concussion from a failed cheer attempt. Chanel's putting tremendous pressure on herself to get into the best colleges and starts making questionable decisions. But they have each other's backs just as always. Eleanor's new relationship with star quarterback Three may be causing a rift between the best friends. When the cheer squad decides to take a knee at the season's first football game, what seemed like a positive show of solidarity suddenly becomes the reason for a larger fallout between the girls. Grappling with the weight of the school's actions as well as their own problems, can the girls rely on the friendship they've always shared? A bittersweet, sometime humorous, but always compelling look at issues of friendship, privilege, sports, and race.


Compare

From the bestselling authors of I'm Not Dying with You Tonight comes a compelling YA novel about the choices teens make. Two high school cheerleaders face the ultimate test when an act of solidarity spurs chaos. With a rocky start to senior year, lifelong friends Eleanor and Chanel have a lot on their mind. Eleanor is still in physical therapy months after a serious concuss From the bestselling authors of I'm Not Dying with You Tonight comes a compelling YA novel about the choices teens make. Two high school cheerleaders face the ultimate test when an act of solidarity spurs chaos. With a rocky start to senior year, lifelong friends Eleanor and Chanel have a lot on their mind. Eleanor is still in physical therapy months after a serious concussion from a failed cheer attempt. Chanel's putting tremendous pressure on herself to get into the best colleges and starts making questionable decisions. But they have each other's backs just as always. Eleanor's new relationship with star quarterback Three may be causing a rift between the best friends. When the cheer squad decides to take a knee at the season's first football game, what seemed like a positive show of solidarity suddenly becomes the reason for a larger fallout between the girls. Grappling with the weight of the school's actions as well as their own problems, can the girls rely on the friendship they've always shared? A bittersweet, sometime humorous, but always compelling look at issues of friendship, privilege, sports, and race.

30 review for Why We Fly

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jenni

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Told from alternating points of view, Chanel and Eleanor are high school seniors on the cheerleading team. They're also best friends and have been for years. In the summer leading up to senior year, Eleanor is recovering from a concussion, hoping that she will be back to normal by the time school starts. Chanel is working on her post high school plans. At the first game of the school year, the cheerleaders decide to take a knee during the national anthem because they know of an NFL player who has Told from alternating points of view, Chanel and Eleanor are high school seniors on the cheerleading team. They're also best friends and have been for years. In the summer leading up to senior year, Eleanor is recovering from a concussion, hoping that she will be back to normal by the time school starts. Chanel is working on her post high school plans. At the first game of the school year, the cheerleaders decide to take a knee during the national anthem because they know of an NFL player who has been trying to raise awareness by taking a knee at games and that had caused a bit of controversy (and he was a former student of their school, so they feel like they want to support him). And then, well, the stuff hits the fan, as they say. Administration for the school gets involved and there are consequences, but only for one Black cheerleader, not the entire team. And then the whole subject is dropped. Nothing else really happens in the book after that. I thought the girls would have protests or something, but no. Where were the lawyers? Where was the NAACP? These were missed opportunities for this storyline. An okay story, but it had the potential to be HUGE.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Why We Fly in exchange for an honest review! My biggest compliment here was probably how developed and believable all the characters were. Why We Fly is a dual perspective book following two cheerleading best friends when their decision to kneel during the national anthem leads to public reactions that push the two apart and normally in books like that, one POV needs to be incredibly dumb or unbelievable to warrant the inevitable moment where the P Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Why We Fly in exchange for an honest review! My biggest compliment here was probably how developed and believable all the characters were. Why We Fly is a dual perspective book following two cheerleading best friends when their decision to kneel during the national anthem leads to public reactions that push the two apart and normally in books like that, one POV needs to be incredibly dumb or unbelievable to warrant the inevitable moment where the POVs take different sides on an argument. While both girls are flawed and one is definitely far more flawed than the other, Why We Fly manages to make all of their decisions and reactions make a lot of logical sense. This is also a lot more nuanced of a book than I thought it would be. I figured it would climax with the team deciding to kneel, but it actually happens way earlier on the plot to give the book time to examine the fallout of the action which made a much more interesting reading experienced and allowed for a lot more social commentary and character growth. A few pacing things here felt a tad too slow or too fast, but all in all, this was really well done.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Mandina

    I really enjoyed the other book by these authors, so I was very excited when the publisher sent me this next book. Now the first few chapters didn’t grab me, but once the characters got back to school and some not so great things happened, I was hooked. There was a lot going on in this book. And really, it plays right into not only the climate in our country right now, but even hits close to home with some things going on at the school where I am a librarian right now. The two main characters both I really enjoyed the other book by these authors, so I was very excited when the publisher sent me this next book. Now the first few chapters didn’t grab me, but once the characters got back to school and some not so great things happened, I was hooked. There was a lot going on in this book. And really, it plays right into not only the climate in our country right now, but even hits close to home with some things going on at the school where I am a librarian right now. The two main characters both had a lot going on in their lives. Now, there were a few times when I had to turn back a few pages to realize for sure which character was telling that chapter, because a lot of the stuff was similar. I mean, they were both cheerleaders and seniors in high school. Oh, the girls’ names were really close when they did the nicknames too, that was part of my confusion I think. But then something would happen that reminded me which one they were. Each girl’s viewpoint was so important to read and realize how differently things affect people based on their backgrounds. The authors did a great job with showing not only the inequality in how things were handled, but also how skin color doesn’t always mean things are going to be automatically better. And how people will find something to say that is discriminatory about anyone who does something they don’t agree with. While there were also some things about the way both the friendships and the possible love interests ended up going that made me disappointed, they also happened to finish the story in very realistic ways. So while I might have wished for things to go differently, honestly it was perfect for the ending of a high school story, and how friendships/relationships can go at that age. I do feel like in a way, the vaping/marijuana storyline I would possibly have liked maybe more of a backstory with that. It almost feels like where did she start doing that? Who gave her the idea, etc. Because she didn’t really talk to anyone about that, and so it almost seemed a tiny bit out of place for me. I mean it worked in the story for sure, but I just had questions about it. One thing I did really like is when Eleanor went to see Three’s aunt about what she could do to help with the cause. I really liked the way his aunt kind of explained things, or maybe left things unexplained. So that when Eleanor went to her own church and talked to her rabbi, that really made me think. And I think it is something that everyone trying to work to help further a cause should look at. Again, really a perfect book for the times we live in, and I’ll once again be sure to share this with my own students! Review first posted on Lisa Loves Literature.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    I really wanted to like the book, and I did for the first half or so. The problem came in the pacing of the second half. Everything happened way too quickly, and it's potential to deliver a powerful message got lost. Oh, and let's not forget how unrealistic and tidy it all was. Bleh I really wanted to like the book, and I did for the first half or so. The problem came in the pacing of the second half. Everything happened way too quickly, and it's potential to deliver a powerful message got lost. Oh, and let's not forget how unrealistic and tidy it all was. Bleh

  5. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Cresse

    Why We Fly is a story that reflects events and situations our students NEED to read about. At the heart of the story are friends, having to navigate not only their senior year and all the pressure and energy that goes into planning for the next step but also their individual struggles. The main characters are all athletes and there is another pressing aspect with collegiate tryouts that influence decisions. One deals with her recovery from a serious concussion, the other with a secret addiction, Why We Fly is a story that reflects events and situations our students NEED to read about. At the heart of the story are friends, having to navigate not only their senior year and all the pressure and energy that goes into planning for the next step but also their individual struggles. The main characters are all athletes and there is another pressing aspect with collegiate tryouts that influence decisions. One deals with her recovery from a serious concussion, the other with a secret addiction, and another deals with overbearing parents. Topics are handled with knowledge and realistic consequences and outcomes. It is always a relief when it is easy to see that an author has done the relevant research to approach important issues. The all-encompassing event occurs when the cheer team hastily decides to kneel during the national anthem in support of racial injustice. Again, the authors do an excellent job telling this part of the story. The side characters are well-developed and help move the story along. This book grabbed my attention from the start and was hard to put down, however, I did hit a snag at about 80% when the characters were individually dealing with the hot issue. The tone shifted, wasn't as engaging, and didn't quite feel authentically the characters' voices. However, the last 10% picked up again as growth and resolution came about. Overall, I closed the book happy and will be recommending it as a book club selection so I am rounding up to a 5-star rating. Timely topics: friendship, athletes, race, protests, civil rights, concussion awareness, self-medicating with marijuana, vaping, parent/child relationships Thank you to Edelweiss+ for sharing this ARC with me.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Erica Chaillot

    This book started out really good but I think it started to fizzle out about midway. I still finished it, but I’m not sure if I would read another by this author.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Books and Cats

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Why We Fly by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal started out strong, with an interesting premise and the promise of strong characters but unfortunately it stagnated pretty quickly. There isn't much of a plot to this book, it's just kind of a series of events that happen to two girls who we're told are best friends (though we never actually see this friendship). That wouldn't be unforgivable if the characters were more interesting or even just likeable, but they are not. I am only not giving this boo Why We Fly by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal started out strong, with an interesting premise and the promise of strong characters but unfortunately it stagnated pretty quickly. There isn't much of a plot to this book, it's just kind of a series of events that happen to two girls who we're told are best friends (though we never actually see this friendship). That wouldn't be unforgivable if the characters were more interesting or even just likeable, but they are not. I am only not giving this book 1 star because it was able to hold my attention for the entire 270 pages, which says something. However, I spent most of my reading time baffled by the choices these authors made. Why We Fly revolves around "best friends" Chanel Irons and Eleanor Greenburg, and I put "best friends" in quotes because the book spends a lot of time telling us how close they are but we don't actually see that. The girls spend very little time together, and when they do interact, it's clear that Chanel doesn't actually like Eleanor, and that Eleanor is completely codependent on Chanel. Eleanor's on-again, off-again relationship with the school's football star Three is far more interesting than their friendship. Speaking of Three, I was left wondering throughout the whole book why the POV characters were Eleanor and Chanel instead of Eleanor and Three. He was the only character who was a little bit likeable, or at least whose actions and intentions actually matched up. The idea for this book is fantastic: a high school cheerleading squad engages in protest by kneeling during the anthem at games, sparking outrage from parents, faculty and peers. However, the execution was so severely lacking. Eleanor, the white MC, railroads all the Black characters who are having mixed, complicated emotions about the whole thing, basically forcing them to participate in a protest she doesn't understand in the least, and then... nothing. She kind of drifts away from Chanel I guess, and breaks up with Three but then gets back together with him for prom and makes awesome new friends without ever actually apologizing so... good for her, I guess? Meanwhile the other MC Chanel, a Black girl, gets unfairly singled out and suspended for something the whole team participated in and then... her dad fixes everything and the suspension gets wiped from her record and she gets a scholarship because she's so awesome, apparently. So, good for her too I guess. There's also a weird subplot with Chanel smoking weed that seems really out of touch for a book set in present day. Overall, this book makes a promise it can't deliver and I was hugely disappointed.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sydney

    This one snagged a spot in my top 10 books of the year for so many reasons but mostly because it was real, raw and eye opening. Everyone needs to read this.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Hasnita Singh

    Rating 2.5 stars. I’m so confused? I was reading this and thoroughly enjoying it. So many interesting and strong points were set up. The protest, the consequences, Nelly’s ambition, Eleanor’s new leadership position, the wedge in their friendship, a romance with Three who was really against protesting. And then bam, nothing happens, all is forgotten. I’m so upset with how this story ended. There wasn’t any character development, no big moments that wrap it up. Everything was DROPPED. Forgotten. Rating 2.5 stars. I’m so confused? I was reading this and thoroughly enjoying it. So many interesting and strong points were set up. The protest, the consequences, Nelly’s ambition, Eleanor’s new leadership position, the wedge in their friendship, a romance with Three who was really against protesting. And then bam, nothing happens, all is forgotten. I’m so upset with how this story ended. There wasn’t any character development, no big moments that wrap it up. Everything was DROPPED. Forgotten. So many good opportunities that were missed. I don’t understand what the point of picking up such important topics was if you’re not going to see them through. Disappointed doesn’t even cover this.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Gary Anderson

    With their 2017 young adult novel debut I’m Not Dying With You Tonight, co-authors Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal established their ability to create a drama rooted in social justice and driven by a high-energy dual narrative. Why We Fly is another taut dual narrative that lands every punch it throws. The first hundred pages focus on an intensely competitive cheerleading team led by its captain, Eleanor, a white, Jewish athlete recovering from a concussion; and Chanel, a Black elite cheerleader c With their 2017 young adult novel debut I’m Not Dying With You Tonight, co-authors Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal established their ability to create a drama rooted in social justice and driven by a high-energy dual narrative. Why We Fly is another taut dual narrative that lands every punch it throws. The first hundred pages focus on an intensely competitive cheerleading team led by its captain, Eleanor, a white, Jewish athlete recovering from a concussion; and Chanel, a Black elite cheerleader consumed by excelling in both academics and cheerleading. Leni and Nelly, as they are called, have been friends forever, but Leni being named as captain doesn’t sit well with Nell. Why We Fly makes its move when the team choreographs taking a knee during the patriotic activities before a game during their football team’s state championship run. The cheerleaders take pride in their own version of patriotism as they use their free speech rights to take a stand against American racial injustice. At first, the cheerleaders are praised for their courage, but the school’s administration is not amused. The team is punished in various ways, while one team member is singled out with especially harsh consequences. The alternating voices and perspectives of Eleanor and Chanel reveal different sides of the novel’s relationships and issues as they address not just the interplay between free speech and equity but also mental health, substance abuse, and parental pressure. A misstep in the plot is the on-again-off-again romance between the cheerleading captain and the star quarterback that would be more interesting if these roles were less trite. In a couple of places, the authenticity of the high school setting is affected when characters use legalistic language in conversation and with the reference to “AP Brit Lit.” There is no such thing as an Advanced Placement British Literature test, and it’s against Advanced Placement policy to have a course with this name. AP students who read this book will notice the error. Why We Fly will appeal to young readers interested in competitive ccheerleading, alternating-voice narratives, and books featuring social protest, such as The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow, Internment by Samira Ahmed, Parkland by Dave Cullen, Dear Rachel Maddow by Adrienne Kinzer, Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu, the March trilogy by John Lewis, and numerous others in this burgeoning genre.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Slaa!!!

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was left a little disappointed by the way things went with a few of the main relationships... for example: Three was not as emotionally mature and available as he seemed to be for a good chunk of the book. I felt a bit blindsided by the fact that he apparently wasn’t really seeing what he and Leni had as a real relationship. I was glad that Leni spoke up for herself towards the end and wanted him to be clear about his intentions, but it hurt my heart a bit that this is where they ended up in t I was left a little disappointed by the way things went with a few of the main relationships... for example: Three was not as emotionally mature and available as he seemed to be for a good chunk of the book. I felt a bit blindsided by the fact that he apparently wasn’t really seeing what he and Leni had as a real relationship. I was glad that Leni spoke up for herself towards the end and wanted him to be clear about his intentions, but it hurt my heart a bit that this is where they ended up in the first place. Second, I really wasn’t fond of Nelly for much of the book and felt she was much too critical and harsh when it came to Leni. You can be aware of ways in which your best friend can improve without being downright mean. It was kind of depressing to see the journey that they went on as friends and to see that it only ended up with them being further apart - and with college on the horizon, what’s left of their friendship really probably won’t last at all. Third, Three’s parents made me so angry and his mother especially really needed her comeuppance somewhere along the line for the disparaging remarks she made to/about Leni. I didn’t like how that had no resolution. I guess there was a lot in this story that didn’t have any resolution - it’s realistic in that way, but not uplifting and I could use some uplifting. Other than that, I thought this was a really great read, really well done and brings up a lot of important issues - including the conflict that can occur when you’re staging a protest to try to help a community at large, but it has negative consequences on the people closest to you who are from that community. What do you do? Do you proceed? When are your attempts at helping not really helping anymore? Are there better choices you can make that WILL be helpful? The authors did a good job of showing the journey a character can go on in these circumstances, and how they can be a good ally to an extent but still have their blind spots and areas that they can improve in - even something as simple as caring about what your friends are going through and what they’re thinking, and not just making assumptions without having a conversation, and not realizing that they could have harsher consequences for the same actions because of the color of their skin. It hurt to see how Leni’s close relationships kind of fell apart with this negligence being basically the main reason.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Madison

    ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✧ 4/5 Stars Synopsis: This book takes a deep and much needed dive into social injustice. Eleanor and Chanel are teenage best friends who become interested in wanting to change the way their school handles discrimination. They decide to take a knee during the national anthem at the football game, ensuing drama and betrayals in their relationships. I read this book in less than 24 hours, it was so addicting. The beginning was a little slow but about 40% through I definitely was invested. Thi ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✧ 4/5 Stars Synopsis: This book takes a deep and much needed dive into social injustice. Eleanor and Chanel are teenage best friends who become interested in wanting to change the way their school handles discrimination. They decide to take a knee during the national anthem at the football game, ensuing drama and betrayals in their relationships. I read this book in less than 24 hours, it was so addicting. The beginning was a little slow but about 40% through I definitely was invested. This book is an essential read for teens looking to make a difference, and a great way to inform them about how to do so. I was glad that the squad had people to look up to and seek for help such as Rhonda, Rabbi Spinrad, and Cody Knight to teach them how to successfully make a difference and why is it important to do what they are doing. At the beginning of the book it is revealed that Eleanor (Leni) suffered a concussion and as a result has headaches. I was pleasantly surprised that the symptoms lasted the whole book, as normally authors may forget about or skip over a factor that the book was very focused on at the beginning. Even though the main focus of this book is social injustice it does a good job of also portraying normal high school problems, goals, and relationships. Also how teens deal with high expectations and college pressure from teachers and parents, substance abuse, and depression. This book teaches teens or anyone who wants change to stand up for what you believe in, and that some people may disagree. The downfalls of this book were I occasionally forgot/couldn’t tell who’s point of view I was reading at that moment. After Leni talks to Rhonda about how else she can help, it feels like the social injustice plot fizzles out. Overall this was a great read and very informative! Favorite Quotes: 1. “ ‘Well-behaved women rarely make history’ “ 2. “ ‘We’re protesting injustice in this country. I can’t imagine that will all be fixed by Friday night. Why would we go back to pretending everything’s fine, now that we’ve made it clear that we think it’s not?’ ” 3. “ ‘An ally supports a cause without suffering any consequences for their actions. But an accomplice takes the hits along with the people they’re trying to support.’ ”

  13. 5 out of 5

    Helen Farch

    Life-long friends Chanel and Eleanor are determined that their cheer squad will make Nationals this year, their senior year. While Eleanor spends their summer break recovering from a concussion, Chanel is at cheer camp honing her skills. While attending physical therapy sessions, Eleanor runs into the school’s star quarter-back, Three. Three is bound for greatness, and his parents don’t ever let him forget it. A budding relationship with a cheerleader doesn’t fit into their plans for their son. As Life-long friends Chanel and Eleanor are determined that their cheer squad will make Nationals this year, their senior year. While Eleanor spends their summer break recovering from a concussion, Chanel is at cheer camp honing her skills. While attending physical therapy sessions, Eleanor runs into the school’s star quarter-back, Three. Three is bound for greatness, and his parents don’t ever let him forget it. A budding relationship with a cheerleader doesn’t fit into their plans for their son. As the school year begins, a rift opens between Chanel and Eleanor as Eleanor and Three continue their summer relationship. And things get worse when the cheer team make a last minute decision to take a knee during the national anthem at the first football game of the season and even though Eleanor is team captain, Chanel takes the brunt of the school’s displeasure when she is suspended. This is a story about friendship, about how friendships change, about ambition and about race. ‘I look down and notice my mother give my dad’s hand a little squeeze. He glances at her, and they lock eyes for a second. I’ve seen that squeeze before. Although my dad wouldn’t hurt a fly, his stature and his tone when he gets excited can seem intimidating to white people. He takes a deep breathe, and when he speaks next, I notice his voice has softened. His proud posture deflates, as it does whenever he is forced to unfairly censor himself in the presence of white people.’ The consequences they start by taking a knee at the football game sees Chanel and Eleanor both start to learn more about social activism and re-evaluate their friendship, and their priorities. ‘Living up to a legacy doesn’t mean celebrating it. It means we pick up the baton and keep running the race.’ ‘Why we fly’ is a valuable book for high school libraries and the sports focus of the story will hopefully appeal to readers who may not necessarily be drawn to reading stories that explore issues of race and social justice. Thanks to NetGalley and SourceBooks Fire for the review copy of this book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Many teen readers will want to read this book and may see themselves and their own situations and choices in its two narrators. After reading I'm Not Dying with You Tonight by the same authors, their desire to read this one will be heightened. Although this book covers different territory than the previous book and features different characters, it addresses an equally important topic--social justice and taking a stand. Obviously, the cheer team's decision to take a knee during the National Anth Many teen readers will want to read this book and may see themselves and their own situations and choices in its two narrators. After reading I'm Not Dying with You Tonight by the same authors, their desire to read this one will be heightened. Although this book covers different territory than the previous book and features different characters, it addresses an equally important topic--social justice and taking a stand. Obviously, the cheer team's decision to take a knee during the National Anthem was inspired by recent events, which makes it particularly relevant. Readers may be inspired to do some heavy thinking about the consequences of those actions and how much freedom high school students actually have to speak their minds or stand up for their beliefs. But I found myself being bounced around quite a bit as the narrative shifted from Eleanor, one of the flyers on the squad, and her best friend, Chanel who is usually part of the base for formations. Eleanor is recovering from an injury, her second concussion, and still feeling a bit tentative about her stunts. Both girls are determined to help their team reach the National Finals and take first place in the competition. But Eleanor's involvement with Three, the team quarterback, and Chanel's resentment over Eleanor being named captain of the squad, drive wedges between the girls. I found the use of nicknames for the girls to be quite confusing since the chapters used their actual names, and often the nickname seemed more suited to the other girl. For best friends, they certainly didn't spend much time with each other or talking things out. Surely, if Chanel resented being passed over for captain, why didn't she talk about that with her friend? And why was Eleanor supported by her team and coach for the position after being injured for part of the season? I never really saw her taking on much of a leadership role. When Eleanor finally becomes woke enough to understand that racism might have led to Chanel being suspended when none of the rest of the squad was, the authors miss an opportunity to explore that topic more thoroughly. As I read this one, I became increasingly frustrated with the bad decisions the girls were making and trying to sort out whether there really was a relationship between Eleanor and Three. I wish there'd been more description of the cheer team's practices and stunts, especially at their final competition, and I wish it had been clearer why these girls fly or why readers should care. The idea behind the book is great, but its execution leaves something to be desired. There is a distinct disconnection between the book description on the jacket flaps and the book itself since the book doesn't end up delivering what it promised.

  15. 4 out of 5

    caro(lee)na

    Why We Fly is a contemporary novel about two teens in a cheer squad and the decisions they make regarding social justice. It is a really powerful and important read about being an ally, and how sometimes when you try to do something good it doesn’t turn out that great. I thought this book was really good. I love the authors and their other works, so I was excited about this one and really enjoyed it. It follows Eleanor and Chanel as their friendship is facing a rocky patch and their cheerleading Why We Fly is a contemporary novel about two teens in a cheer squad and the decisions they make regarding social justice. It is a really powerful and important read about being an ally, and how sometimes when you try to do something good it doesn’t turn out that great. I thought this book was really good. I love the authors and their other works, so I was excited about this one and really enjoyed it. It follows Eleanor and Chanel as their friendship is facing a rocky patch and their cheerleading squad decides to take a knee, and while at first it seems like a show of solidarity and support, just pushes them further apart. I liked that Eleanor was white and Chanel was Black because I could see how they each reacted differently to the situations around them regarding race and social justice. I really liked all the characters and thought they were all so different from each other which made it really interesting, but mainly the two POVs. I enjoyed the character development because I found it interesting to see how their actions, which were almost the same, made them have different resolutions and how both of them came to terms with the whole concept of social justice. I think every teen should read this, because it highlights the parts of social justice that happen behind the scenes and that you don’t normally see on social media. I think that is really important to learn about. It is absolutely worth reading. Anyone with an interest in social justice, powerful women, and complex friendships will probably enjoy it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Misha

    I was really excited to read this book. Co-written by two authors, each bringing their own experiences and world view to this story about friendship that comes up against a difficult moral stand and where things go from there sounded really promising. Unfortunately, it didn't deliver for me at all. The two best friends, Leni and Nelly, are an excellent opportunity to explore how a racial issue and standing up for what you think is right can lead to diverse consequences for different people and h I was really excited to read this book. Co-written by two authors, each bringing their own experiences and world view to this story about friendship that comes up against a difficult moral stand and where things go from there sounded really promising. Unfortunately, it didn't deliver for me at all. The two best friends, Leni and Nelly, are an excellent opportunity to explore how a racial issue and standing up for what you think is right can lead to diverse consequences for different people and how we can understand our own privilege and repair bridges when a well-meaning but ill-considered stand takes its toll on a friendship. Unfortunately, I don't buy that Leni and Nelly are best friends or even like each other at all. They are not at all supportive of each other, hardly talk to each other through the course of the book, and even when directly told that one hasn't asked the other her feelings at all, nothing changes. All the characters go through a furor of press and consequences over taking a knee but the only person to have a long term impact is (view spoiler)[Nelly and her consolation prize at the end is that she's appreciated by a small group of fellow woc at an event. (hide spoiler)] I don't really understand what these kids are thinking or doing and the whole main conflict dies down almost immediately via a fast forward and off-stage resolution. Really unsatisfying and honestly confusing.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Karen Kohoutek

    I really liked the authors' previous book, which similarly went back and forth between two teenage narrators, one black and one white, in a shared storyline. In this case, a pair of long-time BFFs, both fiercely dedicated to their cheer team, are already starting to go their separate ways as they deal with their individual lives and the pressure of future plans. During a national debate on activism in sports, inspired by a fictional Colin Kaepernick-like athlete, the cheer team impulsively decid I really liked the authors' previous book, which similarly went back and forth between two teenage narrators, one black and one white, in a shared storyline. In this case, a pair of long-time BFFs, both fiercely dedicated to their cheer team, are already starting to go their separate ways as they deal with their individual lives and the pressure of future plans. During a national debate on activism in sports, inspired by a fictional Colin Kaepernick-like athlete, the cheer team impulsively decides to take a knee at a football game. All sorts of repercussions spiral out from there, affecting friendships, family, and romances. I liked that we had a chance to get into the rhythm of the characters' daily lives, getting a real feel for who they were and what mattered to them. When they take their action, the idea evolves naturally, and they believably don't think it's going to be a life-changing experience. They feel energized and positive about it, and are dumb-founded when all sorts of motives are attributed to it. Both narrators feel real, and their conflicts are ones where we can see both sides, understanding why they feel like they do even when they may be in the wrong. Anyway, I sped through it! (For the record, I have zero natural affinity for football, sports, or cheerleading, and this is a world where everyone is interested in sports of different kinds, but I was still able to get absorbed in it, as the characters' world and what's important to them).

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kate (GirlReading)

    Powerful, nuanced and brilliantly written. This was a superb exploration of white privilege, racism, feminism, friendship and the exceptions put upon teens from society, parents, education and more. Both Eleanor and Chanel's individual voices were so strong and I loved watching their characters develop and grow throughout the story. I also thought the audiobook narrators were both fantastic. This book may have been short but it definitely packed a punch and succeeded in delivering its message. T Powerful, nuanced and brilliantly written. This was a superb exploration of white privilege, racism, feminism, friendship and the exceptions put upon teens from society, parents, education and more. Both Eleanor and Chanel's individual voices were so strong and I loved watching their characters develop and grow throughout the story. I also thought the audiobook narrators were both fantastic. This book may have been short but it definitely packed a punch and succeeded in delivering its message. TW: racism

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    2.5 stars Like others, I really enjoyed the first half of the book and the alternating storylines of the two best friends which tackled many real world issues going on today. However, the second half felt very speedy and like an afterschool special on TV. Everything fit where it was supposed to, and it was all too polished. Disappointed because I was truly interested in how they would resolve their conflicts, and everything was tied up instead with the figurative bow.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Gillian

    First off the rep in this book is awesome! We have strong POC rep and Jewish rep! I loved the scenes with Leni and her Rabbi. It was so wonderful to see a non-religious Jewish character embrace their religion and seek guidance from a Rabbi. This book tackles a lot of really timely topics such as systemic racism and white privilege, while still keeping a high school feel. I found the way these topics were discussed was well done.

  21. 5 out of 5

    allison

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. this was good!! these authors write activism so well. they did an amazing job writing from multiple perspectives. i really liked the progression of the story and the growth of the characters. the two main characters where definitely flawed, but that made their growth all the more important. the authors did an amazing job showing activism from different groups of people. i did feel liked the story lulled at times but nothing too bad. overall a well written and important read!!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    Aside from showing the consequences of taking direct action by kneeling during the national anthem during a high school football game when you're a cheerleader, this also shows senior-year cracks in friendship brought about by different wants and skin color privilege/discrimination. Provides great points for discussion about differing outcomes due to race, and has me wondering how being the girlfriend of a sports star is even a thing when everyone assumes the girlfriend is a gold digger. Aside from showing the consequences of taking direct action by kneeling during the national anthem during a high school football game when you're a cheerleader, this also shows senior-year cracks in friendship brought about by different wants and skin color privilege/discrimination. Provides great points for discussion about differing outcomes due to race, and has me wondering how being the girlfriend of a sports star is even a thing when everyone assumes the girlfriend is a gold digger.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Galia

    4.5 stars

  24. 4 out of 5

    Brooke

    Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal are making a name for themselves by teaming up to write Own Voices YA novels that feature both perspectives - black & white - on race relations in our country. I enjoyed their first collaboration, I’m Not Dying with You Tonight, a novel set around the riots in Atlanta, so I was eager to pick up their second joint writing project, Why We Fly, which was inspired by cheerleading squads who have faced repercussions after taking a knee in the wake of Colin Kaepernick’s Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal are making a name for themselves by teaming up to write Own Voices YA novels that feature both perspectives - black & white - on race relations in our country. I enjoyed their first collaboration, I’m Not Dying with You Tonight, a novel set around the riots in Atlanta, so I was eager to pick up their second joint writing project, Why We Fly, which was inspired by cheerleading squads who have faced repercussions after taking a knee in the wake of Colin Kaepernick’s bold move on the NFL sidelines. Eleanor and Chanel are childhood best friends, and also cheerleaders on their high school’s squad. Eleanor spent most of her junior year sidelined after suffering a concussion on a basket toss gone wrong, but now she is ready to get back into the game. Chanel, a Type A personality with big plans for her future, is determined to make cheerleading captain, lead her team to a Nationals win, and then get into the top tier school of her choice. However, senior year isn’t going to go quite as these girls planned. When the squad takes a knee in the name of one their high school’s alums who is making waves in the NFL by kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality against black people, they inspire many, but anger more. Are they prepared to, in this case, kneel for what they believe in and face the repercussions? How will this single act affect their lives going forward? What I love about Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal’s collaborations is that they take hot button issues that everyone is talking about, and turn them into easy-to-read, relatable novels that teens can pick up and find themselves within. While I’m Not Dying with You Tonight was the more exciting and compelling novel, Why We Fly is a more controversial conversation starter. Is it okay to kneel during our country’s national anthem? Should students face consequences for making a statement? If so, what sort of actions warrant repercussions? These are all questions that will spark the minds and opinions of teens as they read this thought-provoking novel. On the other hand, as an adult reader, Why We Fly felt under-developed and “safe,” not taking matters far enough. The story and its characters are lacking passion, and while the squad does take a knee, it reads as if they just got caught up in the emotion and momentum of the movement instead of truly understanding and standing behind what it all means. Teenagers are often like that, but when a book is trying to make a statement and inspire young adults to stand up and be heard, Why We Fly’s protagonists fall short.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jenna Freedman

    Best friends and rising seniors Eleanor (Leni) and Chanel (Nelly) are very serious about their high school cheer team. We meet Leni first, as she's working her way through grueling physical therapy after spending junior year on the disabled list due to a concussion she sustained in practice. Nelly, on the other hand, is at a cheer camp, with the 24 next most promising prospects. In addition to being a star athlete, Nelly has strong grades and stronger determination to build the future she wants. Best friends and rising seniors Eleanor (Leni) and Chanel (Nelly) are very serious about their high school cheer team. We meet Leni first, as she's working her way through grueling physical therapy after spending junior year on the disabled list due to a concussion she sustained in practice. Nelly, on the other hand, is at a cheer camp, with the 24 next most promising prospects. In addition to being a star athlete, Nelly has strong grades and stronger determination to build the future she wants. Their senior year doesn't start off as expected. Leni connects with a football player (the football player at their Georgia school) she meets at PT and gets an unexpected prize. Things are rocky between the two, but they are brought together by a spontaneous show of support for a Colin Kaepernick stand in, an alum of their school. The cheer team kneels during the national anthem. The school and town respond as one might expect, and as expected, the consequences differ for white Leni and Black Nelly. Despite all the "as expecteds," it seemed to me the story was going in a strange direction, so if you find yourself thinking Leni is the more sympathetic character and wondering why, it takes a minute to realize the ways she is immature and flawed due to her lack of racial justice awareness. A favorite moment is when the Wise Negro character sends Leni away to learn from her own people, in this case Leni's rabbi. Nelly's character development is more nuanced, with her growth happening within and with more work and less approval. Thanks, Edelweiss, for the free ARC.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    Chanel and Eleanor have been best friends for as long as they can remember. But their senior year is starting off on the wrong foot. Eleanor is still recovering from her second concussion and is t sure she's going to be allowed to cheer. Meanwhile, Chanel is doing everything she can to get into a top business school and ace her final year as a cheerleader by leading her team in a win at nationals. But things aren't working out quite how they hoped. When the entire squad takes a knee at their fir Chanel and Eleanor have been best friends for as long as they can remember. But their senior year is starting off on the wrong foot. Eleanor is still recovering from her second concussion and is t sure she's going to be allowed to cheer. Meanwhile, Chanel is doing everything she can to get into a top business school and ace her final year as a cheerleader by leading her team in a win at nationals. But things aren't working out quite how they hoped. When the entire squad takes a knee at their first game, following the lead of a famous alumni of their school who's now playing pro ball, everything starts to go wrong. This funny, but compelling books does a gray job of looking at a lot of topics, including race, athletics, privilege, mental health, and friendship. What it doesn't do is delve too deeply into any of those topics. There's parents are terrible people and he acted like as ass. Eleanor's parents were extremely unsupportive of her. Eleanor couldn't see anything that wasn't spelled out for her and even then she missed it most of the time. A lot of the issues were brought up, but none of them were really resolved. This was a good read, but it could have been so much better.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    I have mixed feelings in the review of this one. Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal do a fantastic job with dual narratives and the characters are well developed. I feel like the build-up of the story was longer/more detailed than the climax and resolution. The relationship tensions among characters that resulted from kneeling at the football game seemed like an extreme reaction. I also struggled with Eleanor's handling of her concussion symptoms--it's difficult to recommend a book to teenagers that I have mixed feelings in the review of this one. Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal do a fantastic job with dual narratives and the characters are well developed. I feel like the build-up of the story was longer/more detailed than the climax and resolution. The relationship tensions among characters that resulted from kneeling at the football game seemed like an extreme reaction. I also struggled with Eleanor's handling of her concussion symptoms--it's difficult to recommend a book to teenagers that has a character hiding lingering concussion symptoms from her parents and doctors. There are some elements of the book that I really like, but the problems were too great (for me) for this to be a Gateway contender. I read an ARC from Sourcebooks.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Holstrom

    Leni and Nelly are two BFFs on the cheerleading squad who organize taking a knee during the national anthem at the first football game of the school year. But the only one who gets punished for it is Nelly, who is Black. Their friendship is on the line, as are their futures, as Leni recovers from her latest concussion and Nelly has to figure out how to expunge her suspension from her record. It’s a story of figuring out who you are and what you’ll stand—or kneel—for. Put Why We Fly on your radar Leni and Nelly are two BFFs on the cheerleading squad who organize taking a knee during the national anthem at the first football game of the school year. But the only one who gets punished for it is Nelly, who is Black. Their friendship is on the line, as are their futures, as Leni recovers from her latest concussion and Nelly has to figure out how to expunge her suspension from her record. It’s a story of figuring out who you are and what you’ll stand—or kneel—for. Put Why We Fly on your radar for October. From the July 2021 edition of Crooked Reads.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Neera

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review! Overall this was a great book with good representation and a really excellent message. The authors' note at the start set up the intentions and messages of the story really well and definitely shouldn't be skipped. It's really really valuable to have a book for teens that explores getting into activism in the age of social media, and I think it was a great decision to set the book before the 2020 Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review! Overall this was a great book with good representation and a really excellent message. The authors' note at the start set up the intentions and messages of the story really well and definitely shouldn't be skipped. It's really really valuable to have a book for teens that explores getting into activism in the age of social media, and I think it was a great decision to set the book before the 2020 BLM protests. The representation of what it's like learning about activism and how to be a good ally and accomplice was pretty good, especially from Leni's end. It's easy to make mistakes when you don't know what you're doing, and it was good to see Leni have to navigate that. It took a little too much time to get to the moment where they actually kneel, almost 50% of the way through, which didn't leave quite enough space to explore everything that came after (the fallout, Leni and Chanel's changing friendship, and Leni and Three's relationship issues). The point of only Chanel receiving the punishment for kneeling because she's Black could have been made more strongly. It was definitely implied, but I also didn't get a good enough sense of the racial makeup of the cheer team to be 100% sure that that's what was going on. Someone did explicitly say it at some point, but it was much later in the book so it was too removed from when Chanel's suspension actually happened to have the same amount of impact. Following on from that though, it was a little unrealistic that Three didn't really suffer any consequences for kneeling with the cheer team at all, even though he, like Chanel, is also Black. I liked Chanel's character arc, which I think represented really well how much harder BIPOC have to work to get the same things as white people, and I was really glad that she seemed to be going into the next phase of her life with a much healthier mindset. Leni's personal character arc was good, especially her exploration of activism and her issues stemming from her injury, but her relationship with Three was quite unsatisfying. It's very obvious of course that Three was going through a lot, but after starting out really nice and sweet, he suddenly became quite horrible to Leni for most of the book, and yet they came back together again so quickly at the end. Their conversation at the end was good because they both acknowledged that they were at fault, but too much was abbreviated into that short conversation that should have happened over a longer period of time. It also didn't sit right with me that Three only comes back to Leni AFTER he's secured everything he wants in life. I did like that Chanel and Leni drifted apart as the book progressed, because it felt very true to real-life high school friendships. It represented really well that you have different friends at different times in your life, and that it's fine if some friendships don't survive periods of big transition. Overall, although I felt the characters lacked a bit of depth and nuance, this was a good book with a great message!

  30. 4 out of 5

    BookishlyJewish

    I received an arc from the publisher Review first posted on my blog Writing as part of a team requires a level of patience, communication and trust that most people can't even achieve in their marriages. The two authors must share the same vision and work together to bring it to fruition. The fact that Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal have managed to do this not once, but twice, is a feat of epic proportions. Their latest offering, Why We Fly, showcases those skills in the very themes of the book. T I received an arc from the publisher Review first posted on my blog Writing as part of a team requires a level of patience, communication and trust that most people can't even achieve in their marriages. The two authors must share the same vision and work together to bring it to fruition. The fact that Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal have managed to do this not once, but twice, is a feat of epic proportions. Their latest offering, Why We Fly, showcases those skills in the very themes of the book. The narrative is told in dual point of view, alternating between Chanel Irons and Eleanor Green, best friends that compete on the same high school cheer leading squad. While Eleanor is struggling to make a comeback after suffering from several debilitating concussions, a condition that will be with her for the rest of her life, Chanel is hyper focused. Her own internal demands for perfection lead to anxiety and isolation from the rest of the cheerleaders. support of an alumna things take a turn. The moment is charged and joyous - my heart almost exploded when the Jewish Student Union and Gay Straight Alliance both joined the protest - but left alone it would have been the stuff of saccharine morality tales. It is in the aftermath of this event that we see the true power of a shared narrative. Both girls must necessarily go on very different journeys and through them Jones and Segal show us the many forms of discrimination that high school athletes and activists face. Chanel and Eleanor jumped in without a plan, and it shows. However, in true to life fashion, the repercussions hit the minority students disproportionately. The two girls, who have always shared everything with each other, are suddenly pushed apart by forces outside themselves. They must each find the strength to understand and fight the forces that would silence them. moving scenes with her Rabbi in which we are reminded, as Jews, that our job is not to rest on the laurels of previous generations but to actively take part in supporting our marginalized peers. That true leadership often takes the form of asking someone else what they need. Chanel, on the other hand, forms a strong relationship with another student t has prior experience with advocacy. Together with Chanel's older sister they show her that perfection is not necessary or even desirable. That she can't try and be everything to everyone all the time. Combined with her experience at the legacy weekend for her mothers sorority, Chanel discovers how important mentorship is for minority students seeking to perform advocacy work. The book resists the urge to give us a happily ever after with a neatly tied bow. The girls relationship is forever changed. Life is messy. So is this book. In the best possible way. Because it is written by two authors who know how to listen to each other. If only we could all learn to do the same.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...