Title: How to Fly With Broken Wings
Author: Jane Elson
Published: March 3rd 2015
Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary
Length: 191 pages
I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Book Blurb (via Goodreads):
‘If Finn Maison shouts jump you jump or you are dead.’
Twelve-year-old Willem has Aspergers Syndrome and two main aims in life: to fly and to make at least two friends of his own age. But all the other boys from the Beckham Estate do is make him jump off things. First his desk – and now the wall. As his toes teeter on the edge, Sasha Barton gives him a tiny little wink. Might she become his friend?
Bullied by Finn and his gang the Beckham Estate Boyz, Willem has no choice but to jump. As he flies through the air he flaps his arms, wishing he could fly and escape into the clouds. Instead he comes crashing down and breaks his ankle.
Sasha, angry with herself for not stopping Finn and his Boyz, is determined to put things right. And soon, while the gangs riot on their estate, Willem and Sasha form an unlikely friendship. Because they share a secret. Sasha longs to fly too.
And when Magic Man Archie arrives with stories of war-flying spitfires, he will change the lives of the kids on the Beckham Estate for ever. And perhaps find a way for Willem and Sasha to fly …
Touching on themes such as friendship and bullying, this is a charming tale about overcoming obstacles and finding friendship in unlikely places.
This is a heartbreaking story about a young boy with Aspergers Syndrome who just wants to make two friends to complete a homework assignment set by his Maths teacher. When he thinks he’s friends with the school’s biggest bully – who has personally tortured Willem on many occasions – Willem is sure that he will get lots of extra credit for turning an enemy into a friend.
But obviously things don’t run smoothly. While Willem and his new friend Sasha work hard to make their school project – a presentation on a Spitfire they’re refurbishing with the help of a magical old man called Archie – Finn, who is supposed to be helping them, takes off with the local gang instead.
With riots and bullying, the estate is like a battlefield that poor Willem isn’t equipped to navigate. All he wants to do is fly away from it all.
I thought this was a lovely tale of how unlikely friendships can be formed – like the one between Sasha and Willem as Sasha is ‘Finn’s girl’. The last couple of chapters had me in tears though, it’s such a bittersweet ending. My heart was in my throat and I was really worried about what was happening – it’s not often that a book affects me in such a way. I almost wanted to put it down so that I wouldn’t have to find out if something bad happens.
An important message about bullying and its effects, How to Fly With Broken Wings is a beautiful story about two kindred spirits finding each other in the minefield of the estate and fighting to keep what they have.
About the Author
You can find out more about Jane by visiting her website.