(Image from Barnes & Noble)
It's not that Myra Morgan's life in the (fictional) small town of Landon, Utah, is bad, it's just ... demanding. With her parents both working full-time, it's up to the 17-year-old to keep her four rambunctious little brothers fed, clothed and out of the hospital. That's a 24/7 job in and of itself, but Myra's also got to keep up with her schoolwork, slave away at her part-time job, and try to find a few spare minutes to spend with her boyfriend, Erik. She's barely got enough room to breathe as it is, but when her pregnant older sister moves back home, Myra feels like she's about to explode. With Melyssa's incessant complaining about the very inconvenient baby growing inside her, Myra's parents' non-stop bickering, and her brothers' constant demands, she's ready to run away from home. Then Erik breaks up with her, taking what's left of Myra's sanity with him.
When Myra hears about a scholarship competition, the winners of which get to spend the summer doing research in the Galapágos Islands, it sounds like the perfect opportunity for escape. The only problem is the $1000 entry fee. And the fact that she'll be competing against none other than her former boyfriend, Erik. But Myra's desperate for a change—so desperate she'll work humiliating jobs, risk upsetting her parents, even go on nature hikes with a nerdy grad student. Anything to win the scholarship. But when it really comes down to it, Myra has to make a gut-wrenching choice—chase her own dream or put it aside to take care of the people who need her? Does she have the courage to do what she wants to do or will she be forever tied down by the responsibilities of home and family?
Girls Don't Fly by Kristen Chandler is an upbeat, funny novel about one girl's struggle to find herself amidst all the chaos of her life. A self-proclaimed "doormat," Myra has to learn to speak up for herself, fight to have her own needs fulfilled, and choose for herself what—and who—is most important in life. Her plight will resound with anyone who's ever felt torn between duty and desire (and who hasn't?). Although the story does get a little melodramatic and far-fetched at times, Girls Don't Fly is, overall, a fun, empowering novel that encourages self-nourishment while lauding the importance of family, friendship and following your dreams.
(Readalikes: Reminded me of What Can't Wait by Ashley Hope Perez and Standing Against the Wind by Traci L. Jones)
If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG-13 for language (no F-bombs) and sexual innuendo/content
To the FTC, with love: Another library