If I Could Fly – Jill Hucklesby
Release Date: 3rd January 2011
Other Titles by This Author: Deeper Than Blue, Last Kiss of the Butterfly
Yeah, that really is my name.
‘A girl with such a name is on a journey. She will have adventures,’ my mother used to murmur in my ear.
And now I am on a journey. I’m running from something terrible – but I don't know what. It’s like my brain has blocked it out. For now, I’m learning to survive: to break the System and not get caught. I’ve found a friend I can trust. Next stop, freedom. Somehow, somewhere...
If I Could Fly is a beautiful and fascinating read that completely captured my attention.
Jill Hucklesby wrote If I Could Fly in a lyrical and songlike prose that created a truly individual narrative style. It’s written in the rarely used present tense which, with the lyricism, gives the novel a dreamlike feel. I was constantly unsure as to whether what Caly was seeing and doing was real or not. I occasionally wondered if she was perhaps hallucinating or dreaming due to the intensely involving use of metaphor.
When I began this book I expected a very traditional middle-grade contemporary novel. But what I got was far from that. If I Could Fly is set in the England of the near future where a virus spreading across Europe has caused England to be split into zones, curfews, rebellions and widespread fear. It was almost apocalyptic in a way and was very unexpected which I loved.
The main thought from Caly through the novel is the mystery of what she is running from. As the novel moves forward, fragments of memories were stirred in her and we saw tiny glimpses of the event that led her to flee. Although the trigger for her running away is alluded to and could probably be guessed at, I didn't know until it was revealed near to the end. It wasn’t a disappointment at all and I understood completely why her brain had blocked it from her.
As well as the intriguing plot line and beautiful prose style, Jill Hucklesby created a cast of lovable and memorable characters. Caly is a strong and independent girl who I immediately liked and this only grew with the building of her hose of books. I think I want one. She did, however, seem both older and younger than thirteen. Then you’ve got sweet and funny Alfie in all his Superman t-shirted glory who was such a good friend to Caly. But my favourite character was crazy, old Dair. His madness was endearing and I would really liked to have heard his story.
If I Could Fly is a striking novel that shocked me a mind-blowing twist at the end that will be loved and remembered by everyone who reads it.
For my British Books Challenge 2011