Here is the official blurb from Goodreads:
A sexy and poignant romantic tale of a young daredevil pilot caught between two brothers.
When I was fourteen, I made a decision. If I was doomed to live in a trailer park next to an airport, I could complain about the smell of the jet fuel like my mom, I could drink myself to death over the noise like everybody else, or I could learn to fly.
Heaven Beach, South Carolina, is anything but, if you live at the low-rent end of town. All her life, Leah Jones has been the grown-up in her family, while her mother moves from boyfriend to boyfriend, letting any available money slip out of her hands. At school, they may diss Leah as trash, but she’s the one who negotiates with the landlord when the rent’s not paid. At fourteen, she’s the one who gets a job at the nearby airstrip.
But there’s one way Leah can escape reality. Saving every penny she can, she begs quiet Mr. Hall, who runs an aerial banner-advertising business at the airstrip and also offers flight lessons, to take her up just once. Leaving the trailer park far beneath her and swooping out over the sea is a rush greater than anything she’s ever experienced, and when Mr. Hall offers to give her cut-rate flight lessons, she feels ready to touch the sky.
By the time she’s a high school senior, Leah has become a good enough pilot that Mr. Hall offers her a job flying a banner plane. It seems like a dream come true . . . but turns out to be just as fleeting as any dream. Mr. Hall dies suddenly, leaving everything he owned in the hands of his teenage sons: golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson. And they’re determined to keep the banner planes flying.
Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business—until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers—and the consequences could be deadly.
This was my first Jennifer Echols book, and it has made me a fan. First off, I have to confess total adoration for the cover. It thought it was beautiful and intriguing and just so well done. Now on to the writing….
Leah is a high school senior unlike other seniors. She lives in a dump with a mother who makes Cruella Deville look loving. She puts up with a reputation and people who think she isn’t worth anything. And she tries to keep a roof over her head and food on the table with no effort from her mother. Most girls would be crushed under the weight of all of this, but not Leah. Because she has a dream that keeps her going – she loves flying.
And she’s lucky enough to find someone who will give her a chance to fly. Then one day he dies and Leah’s fate in the skies is put into the hands of the man’s two sons. The great thing about the way Echols set the novel up is that we get to see these sons as teens interacting with their father and Leah. We see Leah’s tenuous, shaky relationship with boys that she considers privileged (and who certainly are when compared to her). Then when the father dies, we see these three characters mired in grief, each in their own way.
Grayson is abrasive and determined. For a portion of the book, you feel that you should not like him and sense that Leah feels the same way. Yet, there is something in his spirit that draws Leah, a thing that she recognizes in herself. So even when you hate Grayson, you still are kind of rooting for him and hoping that kinder (if mistaken) motives are driving him. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the love-hate friction between Grayson and Leah leads to some incredibly hot scenes.
Perhaps the thing I loved most about the book was Leah’s voice. She is authentic and 100% real. She sounds mature, but then her past would lend itself to maturity. More than anything, she is full of fight in circumstances that could have ripped that from her. I so badly wanted her to achieve her dream in the book. And if some of the plot felt slightly unrealistic (don’t want to give away spoilers here), I could completely forgive it because of the strong characterization and amazing chemistry. And there were lots of moments of grip-your-seat tension when things didn’t go as expected in the air.
A great read for fans of more mature YA lit and realistic characters. If you like Courtney Summers, this is a great book for you.
Find it on Goodreads.
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