I wouldn’t say my favorite YA is Contemporary. If I had to make a list and rank all the genres, it would be at the bottom. The only reason being is that a Contemporary YA read really has to captivate me. This one did an amazing job since I read the entire thing in a day! When I saw that it was 40+ chapters I thought it would’ve taken a few days but nope!
Everyone eventually leaves Wren Plumley. First it was her mother, then her best friend, and then her sister. Now living with only her cop father and her upended dreams, Wren feels stranded, like a songbird falling in a storm. When Wilder, a sickly housebound teen, moves in next door, Wren finally finds what she’s always wanted—a person who can’t leave. But a chance meeting with Luca, the talkative, crush-worthy boy in her driver’s ed class, has Wren wondering if maybe she’s too quick to push people away. Soon, Wren finds herself caught between the safety of a friendship and a love worth fighting for. Wren starts to dream again. But when postcards begin arriving from her sister, Wren must ultimately confront why her mother left fourteen years before and why her sister followed in her footsteps. For her new life to take flight, Wren will have to reconcile the heartbreaking beauty of lost dreams and the beautiful heartbreak of her new reality.
Thank you to NetGalley who approved my request and to the publishers, Skyscrape who provided an ebook copy of this beautiful book! I adore the bright cover!
One thing that I loved the most about this book was that it took place over an entire summer. At the start, I admit, it took me a few chapters to really get into but once I was in… I couldn’t stop. You’d think forty plus chapters, that it’ll drag or something but I flew through the story. It was well-paced for a Contemporary. The little mysteries that it held with Wilder (the boy next door), her mother and sister and the dad too! He’s under appreciated, I don’t know why but I loved yet pitied the dad. It’s rare to find understanding parents in YA books who get along with their kids.
"Gravity is like a parent. It holds you even when you don't want it to." - 3% into the book
The father is a huge contribution to the story. Even though Wren doesn’t see her dad a lot since he takes the graveyard shift and sleeps in the day, there are a lot of monologues and blame put on him when her mother and sister leave. Wren is a peculiar main character. Her ‘thing’ is seeing people’s aura from first impressions. At first, I thought it was just a plot device, but it made her see light in Luca and the similarities he held with her sister, Lily.
"If all you ever see is people at their worst moments--broken, bruised, drugged, dread--humanity becomes the enemy. A thing to be tamed and tasered, not loved." - 3% into the book
Luca and Wren bond over summer with a meeting at the grocery store and driving lessons. Their relationship is adorable and unproblematic. I have to give it to the author. She focused on the family. Yes, Wren’s friends were there most of the time but the author kept the story on track. Luca was a skater boy who at first seemed weird but he becomes so likable that I frowned whenever he wasn’t in a chapter.
"Sometimes you don't need to know. Sometimes a person can just tell."
"You're worth it."
- 21% into the book
The side characters like Baby Girl and Leai were great subplots. Baby Girl was close to Lily and eventually filled the space of becoming Wren’s older sister. Leai was unusual but quirky which made all these characters unique!
I can’t say much about Lily and their mother without giving spoilers. The title of this book really comes into play when Lily sends Songbird a.k.Wren postcards. The mystery among all the usualness that’s happening over summer. While Wren is slowly moving on, there’s still a reminder of her life. Not just from the postcards but from her dad not being around, plenty of flashbacks of her sister and little things about her mother mentioned.
"That's the real story why people do drugs, Songbird. You can't really live without complete, full love, and so you fill the space with medicine to your heart together." - 13% into the book
I really enjoyed this book. The writing was deep and instantly drew me in where I couldn’t even sleep! This has to be my Contemporary read of the year. I’m proud to give it five stars for originality, pacing and writing style.
"Sometimes beautiful and dangerous go together." - 13% into the book