When Elephants Fly
by Nancy Richardson Fischer
Publisher: HarperCollins | Harlequin Teen
Release Date: September 4, 2018
Format: ARC from Edelweiss
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Lily Decker is doing her best to live a stress-free life to avoid triggering a schizophrenic episode. As part of her newspaper internship, she becomes invested in following up on a story about an elephant family when the mother elephant tried to kill her calf. This hit close to home for Lily because her own mother—who has schizophrenia—tried the same. Now she has tough decisions to make that is not helping her stress-free plan, but this journey in reporting on the baby elephant’s wellbeing will hopefully help her overcome her worries and her fears.
This was one of my anticipated reads for the fall after I read a chapter sampler. I was interested in the book due to what the book was about. There are social themes being discussed in the book that provide a perspective both sides of the issues. The book discusses mental illness and animals held in zoos. While I know little about schizophrenia I felt the book provided a general understanding of what schizophrenia entails. While Lily, the main character, has not had a schizophrenic episode, she has prepared her whole life trying to avoid one. Fischer was inspired to write this story based on the experiences of friends and family who had genetic histories of mental health. Fischer also has a strong affinity towards elephants, so the passion shows in the book. There is always a lot of controversy with animals and zoos, but I respected how Fischer allowed us to explore both sides of the topic. While reading I found myself thinking of a solution, but I just couldn’t think of one that would work.
Lily as the main character can get frustrating at times from her lack of interest in everything. However, to see her grow, to see her realize her own strengths and weaknesses and evolve over the course of the book was enlightening. I don’t mind the age gap between the characters, but the romance was introduced so quick that I was a bit thrown by introduction of the love interest. While I understand the intrigue both characters had in each other I just did not understand how the chemistry worked.
Even though the conclusion is quite vague I found myself being hopeful for their future.