Friday, October 11, 2013

Review: The Paradox of Vertical Flight

The Paradox of Vertical Flight
By Emil Ostrovski
Published 2013 by Greenwillow Books

On his eighteenth birthday, Jack becomes disillusioned and thinks about killing himself. If only his ex-girlfriend hadn't called in the middle of it to tell him she was in labor, he might have gone through with it. Instead, Jack finds himself on the run with his newborn son, just trying to see his grandmother one more time.

I didn't know much about this book before I requested an e-galley, but the blurb definitely interested me. I finished it this past week and I'm not sure what to say about it. The story is pretty interesting and unique - there are not terribly many stories of how teenage pregnancies impact the young father and less about young fathers kidnapping their new babies and taking them on the lam. I like seeing what will happen next in the story and the author keeps it moving it a clip, though some of what happens along the way seems a bit over-the-top and convoluted. I suppose I should have expected that with this kind of blurb.

The writing is decent as well. I liked the humor throughout the story and I thought the characters were well-developed. I felt like I could understand where Jack was coming from, even though he took rather extreme actions. What I found most off about the story was the philosophy theme. Once again, maybe I should have expected it from the blurb, but the focus on philosophers and major philosophical thoughts seemed forced and, for me, detracted from the main arc of the story. I guess part of it is that I find it a bit difficult to believe that any 18-year-old would be this obsessed with philosophy. Then again, there have been a number of YA books with protagonists obsessed with philosophy or particular authors or books and I don't have problems with that. For some reason, it just didn't work for me in this case.

Overall, I thought this was an interesting book but probably not one that will stick with me. Teens looking for contemporary stories will probably enjoy this one.

Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss.

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