Elizabeth Varadan | The Children’s Book Review | November 29, 2014
Up in the Air
By Ann Marie Meyers
Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Paperback: 244 pages
Publisher: Jolly Fish Press (July 1, 2013)
What to Expect: Self-discovery, unusual situations, an exciting world where anything seems possible.
Ann Marie Meyers has created an intriguing world where dreams come true—sort of. Ten-year-old Melody gets her wish to fly when she takes a humongous jump from a swing. She has always liked jumping off swings, doorsteps, or walls. Each moment in the air feels like flying, despite ensuing scratches and bruises when she lands.
What makes Melody want so badly to fly? Her family. Her mother overeats to the point of waddling. Her father was in an accident and is wheelchair bound. Melody finds them both embarrassing and avoids getting close to people. She tries to fly to escape the dreariness of her unhappy family—she thinks—but the mysteries of her real motivation gently unfold in this book.
One day Melody makes her swing go higher than before and her grand leap propels her into Chimeroan, a world with elves, leprechauns, and a set of wings for each newcomer, along with guides to help them fly. What more can Melody want? On the downside, there are witches and evil creatures like hoarders and jibber-jabbers. Wings have to be earned. Each flyer is sent on a recurring treasure hunt with challenges that, if unsolved by sunset, can lose them their wings.
One of the pleasures of this fantasy is that it deals with heavy themes without being heavy-handed. The story is laced with thought-provoking lessons that change Melody and her family in ways both hopeful and realistic while maintaining the brisk pacing of a fantasy adventure.
“By now, the four of us are flying side by side, with Jackson on my left. An awful thought hits me and I glance at him. If his clue and mine are different, one of us will be wrong.”
This book will appeal to middle grade readers who are dealing with family difficulties and losses, but who enjoy flights of imagination and who have had daydreams of flying.
Add this book to your collection: Up in the Air
About the Author
Ann Marie Meyers is a translator of legal documents. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and facilitates a children’s writing group. She lives in Toronto. Visit: www.annmarie-meyers.com
Up in the Air, by Ann Marie Meyers, was reviewed by Elizabeth Varadan.