If Birds Fly Back

If Birds Fly Back

By Author / Illustrator

Carlie Sorosiak




Pan Macmillan




Paperback / softback




Linny has been living life in black and white since her sister Grace ran away, and she's scared that Grace might never come back.

When Linny witnesses the return to Miami of a cult movie star long presumed dead, she is certain it's a sign. Surely Alvaro Herrera, of all people, can tell her why people come back - and how to bring her sister home?

Sebastian has come to Miami seeking his father, a man whose name he's only just learned. An aspiring astrophysicist, he can tell Linny how many galaxies there are, how much plutonium weighs and how likely she is to be struck by a meteorite. But none of the theories he knows are enough to answer his own questions about why his father abandoned him, and why it left him in pieces.

As Sebastian and Linny converge around the mystery of Alvaro's disappearance - and return - their planets start to collide. Linny's life is about to become technicolor, but finding the answers to her questions might mean losing everything that matters.



This is a lovely book about love, loss, relationships and life, for older readers. The story is a dual narrative, following two characters - Linny and Sebastian - as they go through some rather intense experiences. Linny is 16/17, and is struggling with the loss of her sister, who ran away one night and hasn't been seen or heard from since. Linny loves cameras, and cinematography, and throughout her chapters there are scenes from a film that she has scripted, giving us insight into her loss and the family dynamics. Sebastian is of a similar age, but from a different place and background - he and his Mum speak Spanish at home, and in the first chapter from his point of view, his Mum reveals the identity of his father, which had been previously unknown. Sebastian is a physics fanatic, and throughout his chapters, things are explained or illustrated using laws of physics. The two differing perspectives really help the story and both the characters are likeable. It is nice to have a main character who is racially diverse, and for me it benefited from not over-describing their ethnicity - just giving them something that is different and then letting the reader fill in the gaps. The book talks about family, heritage, love, and friendships. Linny's story is fuller than Sebastian's but this works. It's a novel dedicated to the questioning and intensity of teenage years, and the relationship that builds between Linny and Sebastian is realistic, given the heightened emotions of those years and their separate experiences. There is some sexual content - it is explained but not explicit - and not gratuitous but worth being aware of if you are going to recommend it. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, and I would recommend it highly. 352 pages / Ages 14+ / Reviewed by Alison Tarrant, school librarian

Suggested Reading Age 14+


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