When Elephants Fly
There are some battles worth fighting even if it means losing yourself.T. Lily Decker is a high school senior with a twelve-year plan: avoid stress, drugs, alcohol and boyfriends, and take regular psych quizzes administered by her best friend, Sawyer, to make sure she's not developing schizophrenia.Genetics are not on Lily's side. When she was seven, her mother, who had paranoid schizophrenia, tried to kill her. And a secret has revealed that Lily's odds are even worse than she thought. Still, there's a chance to avoid triggering the mental health condition, if Lily can live a careful life from ages eighteen to thirty, when schizophrenia most commonly manifests.But when a newspaper internship results in Lily witnessing a mother elephant try to kill her three-week-old calf, Swifty, Lily can't abandon the story or the calf. With Swifty in danger of dying from grief, Lily must choose whether to risk everything, including her sanity and a first love, on a desperate road trip to save the calf's life, perhaps finding her own version of freedom along the way.

When Elephants Fly Details

TitleWhen Elephants Fly
Author
ReleaseSep 4th, 2018
PublisherHarlequin Teen
ISBN-139781335012364
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Contemporary, Health, Mental Health

When Elephants Fly Review

  • Kaya
    January 1, 1970
    My heart hurts. I have no words for what I've read, except possibly breathtaking. Powerful. Life-changing. TW for suicide, abuse, schizophrenia, and animal abuse.I'm not really sure what to say. That I infinitely prefer this book to Turtles All The Way Down? That reading from the perspective of Lily was just...eye-opening? Inspiring? Heartbreaking? I don't really think that words can adequately express what's running through my brain right now but I'll try.I've never read a book that tackles sch My heart hurts. I have no words for what I've read, except possibly breathtaking. Powerful. Life-changing. TW for suicide, abuse, schizophrenia, and animal abuse.I'm not really sure what to say. That I infinitely prefer this book to Turtles All The Way Down? That reading from the perspective of Lily was just...eye-opening? Inspiring? Heartbreaking? I don't really think that words can adequately express what's running through my brain right now but I'll try.I've never read a book that tackles schizophrenia before. Our main character, Lily, doesn't have it but her chances of getting it are pretty dang high. Her mom had it and tried to kill Lily when she was seven. All Lily has to do is avoid stress for twelve years of her life, and then she's free from the genetic curse. However, she's soon faced with decisions. Decisions that involve the welfare of a baby elephant, herself, her best friend, and so much more.I'm not going to go into a ton of detail because it kinda spoils the book. The author consulted experts and did a ton of research on mental illness, but one thing she continually repeats throughout the book is that no mental illness is the same. Lily's story is actually inspired by two real-life events. It's not just schizophrenia that's tackled in this book. There's so much more to this, that I honestly can't go over it all (spoilers!). I do think everyone ought to read this book for one simple reason: It offers perspective. Perspective into a life I personally can't imagine living. Perspective into the power of bravery, belief, hope, and doing what's right. Fans of Turtles All The Way Down should definitely pick this one up. I think the ending is actually kinda similar!My main complaints with this book are the romance and the plot. I wasn't really a big fan of the romance but I that might just be me and my own personal preferences speaking. Aside from the lovey-dovey stuff, I also found the plot to be a bit slow and not enough to cover the full 400 pages.There is great diversity, great character devlopment, hope and honesty. I loved this book and hope you do too!4.5 Stars, and thank you Edelweiss and Harlequin Teen for providing me with an e-arc in exchange for an honest review!
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  • Heather Warner
    January 1, 1970
    Such a GOOD book.....I laughed and I cried. Unusual story and so well written! Loved, loved, loved this book. Definitely recommend it! I started this book and could not put it down.
  • Jenna
    January 1, 1970
    "The only promise with schizophrenia is that there's both hope and despair."T. Lily Decker is an 18 year old girl living with a fear that I can't even begin to relate to - the fear that she, like most other women in many generations on her mothers side of the family, will develop schizophrenia. Instead of blowing out candles and celebrating her birthday party with friends, she spends her day soaking in the reality that she is now in the 12 year window where mental illnesses are most likely to re "The only promise with schizophrenia is that there's both hope and despair."T. Lily Decker is an 18 year old girl living with a fear that I can't even begin to relate to - the fear that she, like most other women in many generations on her mothers side of the family, will develop schizophrenia. Instead of blowing out candles and celebrating her birthday party with friends, she spends her day soaking in the reality that she is now in the 12 year window where mental illnesses are most likely to rear their evil little heads. She is knows that hormones, genetics, stress, etc. can trigger the disease, so she is determined to live the next 12 years in a self created bubble that will keep her safe from the voices that may be living in her head.Little does she know that her unpaid internship at a local newspaper is about to push her outside of her comfort zone and safe bubble. She comes up with the idea to hold a contest where people pay to name the new elephant calf at a nearby zoo, and from there, is catapulted into a beautiful journey of life and death, hope and despair, and learning how to cope with what she believes in impending doom.While I can't relate to her specific problem, I can relate to her fear. The fear that you may lose yourself. The fear that your whole life can be turned upside down by something you cannot control. The feeling that you may wake up one day and never be yourself again. I think most everyone can relate to that fear, and Nancy Richardson Fischer's poetically crafted characters and tumultuous story kept me on edge until the very end of the book."When Elephants Fly" does not shy away from the reality that mental health is a very real, very prevalent issue in this day and age. It addresses head on what it is like to live in the mind of someone who is sick and what it is like to live with someone who is sick. This is a book that all high school students and beyond need to read to start to develop some empathy toward people who need it most. Start the conversation, and read the book.*I was provided a free advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest feedback.*
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  • Mrs. Europaea
    January 1, 1970
    Crazy is genetic. It's the house I was born inside. There are no windows, just two locked doors. One door leads to normal, the other to insanity. At some point I will inherit a key, but I don't get to pick which door it unlocks.Dickens could learn a few things from Nancy Richardson Fischer because if that is not a gripping opening then I don't know what is. AND THIS IS A YA NOVEL.Lily, our protagonist, feels like she is a ticking time bomb. She has two years until her chances of having the same Crazy is genetic. It's the house I was born inside. There are no windows, just two locked doors. One door leads to normal, the other to insanity. At some point I will inherit a key, but I don't get to pick which door it unlocks.Dickens could learn a few things from Nancy Richardson Fischer because if that is not a gripping opening then I don't know what is. AND THIS IS A YA NOVEL.Lily, our protagonist, feels like she is a ticking time bomb. She has two years until her chances of having the same mental illness as her mother decreases dramatically and she believe she will be in the clear. What I love that the author does is she doesn't gloss over the unpleasant thoughts and feelings that Lily has, she doesn't use fluff to make Lily feel more at peace about her place in life or use Lily as a means to make readers feel optimist about mental health conditions. Instead, she offers up a sometimes unpleasant narrative that tugs on heartstrings and leaves readers in tears.Trigger warnings if you do not like to read about animal abuse.
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  • Faith Simon
    January 1, 1970
    I received an advance copy of this title from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. So pretty much all the reviews on this book are 5 stars, I feel like a total douche right now. *Feels especially nervous to review this book after I noticed the author sometimes sees and replies to the reviews 😳* I don’t know if it was because I just finished one of the best books I’ve ever read before picking this up and I was suffering from a book hangover, or if the book really was that tough to get into I received an advance copy of this title from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. So pretty much all the reviews on this book are 5 stars, I feel like a total douche right now. *Feels especially nervous to review this book after I noticed the author sometimes sees and replies to the reviews 😳* I don’t know if it was because I just finished one of the best books I’ve ever read before picking this up and I was suffering from a book hangover, or if the book really was that tough to get into, but it took me sooooo long to read this book! So the jist of this book is that it’s about acceptance, love, forgiveness and some small portion of mental health. This book is not what is expected, which sometimes can be a good thing and is pleasantly surprising. I didn’t find that I was severely disappointed by this but I wasn’t thrilled and it didn’t really enhance my opinion of the book as a whole because of it. I just feel the same as I did when I first started the book, meh, with a few warm feelings. I am not incredibly thrilled with the mental health representation this book brings to the table, as most novels with schizophrenia as a plot point establish it as bad or evil, I feel this point only adds to stigma and doesn’t actually do much to educate on the subject. While this book does a good job of providing several points of view about this particular mental illness, I don’t think the entire plot of Lily being terrified of getting the illness is a necessarily helpful to those who have it and are grateful to see de-stigmatization regarding the way it’s portrayed as bad and evil. But I will also give credit to the character development throughout the story, and also the development of Lilly’s feelings towards the illness this aspect is certainly redeemable.The first portion of the book is developmental, character introduction, situation building, that sort of thing. Although it wasn’t overly boring, I felt that it took a long time for anything remotely interesting in the story to occur. So I think the pacing was good, I just think that the story itself could have just moved along a bit faster than it did.I really enjoyed two characters, Lily and Sawyer, and that’s pretty much it. Other characters? Meh. Aside from Swift Jones of course, I got really invested in that baby elephant. The book did a great job of establishing the bond between Swifty and Lily, and made me as a reader concerned about her well-being and invested in her story. But I didn’t feel the side characters were very flushed out as well as they could have been, and could have made me care a little bit more about them. I didn’t really care for the dynamic between Lily and Otis, I think the story very well could have done without it, to me it just sort of felt forced, even at the beginning when it was being hinted at, I was hoping that it would turn out to be nothing, because even from that far back it just seemed so incredibly forced and a concept I didn’t really want to see explored.This book also calls attention to the morally gray areas of wild animal care, and the horrific conditions animals are kept in at the circus. I wish that there had been some warning as to the nature of this book and what I would have to read through as I prefer to skip through animal abuse in books, but I am glad to see this book raise awareness of such treatment of animals.I however did not enjoy that the ultimate fate of all these characters is left open ended at the end of the story. In some cases this can add to the plot and be beneficial to the story as a whole, but here it just feels like the story was cut off awkwardly, and what this story really needed was some resolution. What happens with Lily and her friendship with Sawyer, her and Otis, Swift Jones? We don’t know, and I found this frustrating. I feel that this entire novel was one big build up and then the ending resulted in this falling absolutely flat with no resolution or conclusion to be seen. The book’s title is very true to the story, and I was happy to see so many different issues addressed in the book.
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  • Ally
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.This book was truly amazing and something really special. This is a unique story of a girl named Lily with an increased chance of developing schizophrenia due to her family's history and her journey with a baby elephant, Swifty. Lily is supposed to be avoiding stressful situations for the next 12 years to hopefully avoid developing schizophrenia, but she is pulled into Swifty's world and has to decide how she wa Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.This book was truly amazing and something really special. This is a unique story of a girl named Lily with an increased chance of developing schizophrenia due to her family's history and her journey with a baby elephant, Swifty. Lily is supposed to be avoiding stressful situations for the next 12 years to hopefully avoid developing schizophrenia, but she is pulled into Swifty's world and has to decide how she wants to live the rest of her life."The calf lay beside me, gazing into my eyes. I had the urge to tell her that there's a relief when you no longer have to prove to the most important person in your life that you're worthy."I do not have schizophrenia or have proper education on it other than briefly discussing it during my psych class last year, so I looked to see what others have said about this books portrayal of it, and it seems that from other reviewers who are more educated about it than me that it is a respectful depiction of the illness. This is not a book that romanticizes mental illness. Personally I feel like I learned a lot about schizophrenia by reading this, and am really glad that I read it.I loved elephants before reading this, but I love them even more now. They are so smart, and not to mention adorable. I already knew how they were abused in circuses but I learned a lot about the species and about what the lives of elephants who are out of the wild are like. I think this will really open a lot of people's eyes, most importantly YOUNG people's eyes, and hopefully spark a change in how much we as a society do to protect elephants as well as other endangered species and the treatment of animals in general.This book was well written, the plot was unique and stands out from the crowd, the characters are memorable, and I think people can learn a lot from this book. This book comes out on September 4th, and I will definitely be buying my own copy of it so I can read it again in the future."Crazy is genetic. It's the house I was born inside. There are no windows, just two locked doors. One leads to Normal, the other to Insanity. At some point, I will inherit a key, but I don't get to pick which door it unlocks."
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  • Madison
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsAn incredible story of survival and finding something to believe in and fight for, When Elephants Fly will have you laughing, crying buckets and wildly cheering for Lily and her battle to save elephant calf, Swifty.Lily is working off a tight plan to control the likelihood of her developing schizophrenia. The genetic odds are not in her favour but by living carefully she hopes to avoid following the same journey her mother took. But, when on assignment for her journalism internship, she 4.5 starsAn incredible story of survival and finding something to believe in and fight for, When Elephants Fly will have you laughing, crying buckets and wildly cheering for Lily and her battle to save elephant calf, Swifty.Lily is working off a tight plan to control the likelihood of her developing schizophrenia. The genetic odds are not in her favour but by living carefully she hopes to avoid following the same journey her mother took. But, when on assignment for her journalism internship, she witnesses an elephant reject her calf and Lily can’t help but see the parallels between their stories. Lily must decide if it is worth risking everything she has worked so hard to control to try and save the life of the elephant she is quickly coming to love. Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautifully written, beautiful message, beautiful characters (and yes, that includes elephant calf, Swifty). Alone, Lily’s story or Swifty’s story would be enough in themselves to be both moving and motivational, enough for any book. Yet together they become phenomenal. The compassion between humans and animals, the loss Swifty and Lily both share, and they ways in which they help each other is stunningly conceived and written. I’m not sure I’ve ever met anyone who doesn’t love elephants. The conservation and protection of elephants is a big part of this story. Thanks to the author’s research and personal experience, everything in this book is all too heartbreakingly real. It will hopefully spark movements like the one Lily starts in the book to raise awareness of animal treatment and the ways in which we can take action to protect these incredible creatures.Mental health and Lily’s response to her story - past, present and not yet told, is a strong theme in this book. It is Lily’s story. The author, both in her notes and throughout the book, makes it clear that this is Lily’s journey and it will differ from anyone else’s, but Lily’s fear and reaction will be relatable to so many people. It is an important portrayal of mental health and shares a powerful (but never judgemental or one-size-fits-all) message. Friendship is another key part of When Elephants Fly. Lily relies on her best friend Sawyer. He tests her for schizophrenia, protects her from being a total outcast at school, and is there for her through everything. But, it takes Lily a good part of the book to realise that Sawyer is not untouchable, as she thinks, and that he needs her support in return. Much like in the way Lily grows from someone who lives in fear and defence-mode to someone who is willing to risk everything for something she believes in, she shows such growth and development as she comes to realise how important Sawyer is to her and how she can be there for him in return.My only complaint? That ending. Happy and sad, and oh my gosh I needed more details!!! Infuriatingly true to life where sometimes there are no clear answers, we readers are given possibilities not definitives, but I wanted more. Putting my teacher hat on, though, the ending presents the perfect opportunity for discussion of even a writing activity, letting students create an additional chapter or epilogue as they imagine the many ways in which Lily and Swifty’s story might continue.When Elephants Fly is a beautiful and important YA novel - it is easy to recommend and I look forward to having it on our library’s shelves to place into the hands of many, many readers. The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.Find more reviews, reading age guides, content advisory, and recommendations on my blog Madison's Library
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  • Zan
    January 1, 1970
    Never have I ever felt such an overwhelming desire to cry. Unfortunately, I think my tear ducts are fresh out of tears.When Elephants Fly is one of the best books I've read in a long time. From the moment I glanced at the title through the newest YA Buzzbooks, I knew that I absolutely had to read this work; I'm so thankful that I did.The plot was absolutely breathtaking! Though certain character arcs leaned fairly heavily toward the predictable end of things, I loved it in its entirety. In gener Never have I ever felt such an overwhelming desire to cry. Unfortunately, I think my tear ducts are fresh out of tears.When Elephants Fly is one of the best books I've read in a long time. From the moment I glanced at the title through the newest YA Buzzbooks, I knew that I absolutely had to read this work; I'm so thankful that I did.The plot was absolutely breathtaking! Though certain character arcs leaned fairly heavily toward the predictable end of things, I loved it in its entirety. In general, the originality is what gives this book so much of its charm.One of my only complaints is that I wish certain sections of Lily and Swifty's story could've been further developed, as it felt sort of unbalanced in terms of pacing. Specifically, some of the longer sections, like those not necessarily as crucial to the plot(e.g. circus exploring), felt like they could've been touched upon more briefly and replaced with more detail for the ending.As for the mental illness theme, it was really als;dkjfal;sjfd for me when our beloved MC was drawing parallels between her life and Swifty's, but I guess that was her way of connecting with the elephant? I honestly don't know all too much about schizophrenia, but Fischer's implementation of symptoms and the method in which the disorder manifested in Lily were fascinating for me to read. While I can't say much about the accuracy of her representation, it felt incredibly real to me.Character-wise, I don't really have all that much to say. If anything, it felt like everyone could've had more developed development, if that makes any sense. With the dynamic nature of the plot occupying a lot of the book, it's not too hard to look past. I'm not complaining, but I'd really love to see more from our MCs and even the less prominent characters.Anywayyy, I love love loved reading When Elephants Fly, and I definitely recommend it to everyone! Thousand thank yous to Harlequin Teen and Netgalley for providing such a wonderful ARC :)))
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    My full review can be found on the Epilie Aspie Chick blog! This book really hit me hard because it asks the question I ask myself a lot as an Epilie-Aspie with major anxiety issues: am I living or am I waiting in fear? When mental health is an issue for you, it has this way of encompassing your world and taking over like it does in Lily's. The problem is that you ens up missing life when you do that. Life is worth the risk because at least you're giving yourself something to hold onto and that' My full review can be found on the Epilie Aspie Chick blog! This book really hit me hard because it asks the question I ask myself a lot as an Epilie-Aspie with major anxiety issues: am I living or am I waiting in fear? When mental health is an issue for you, it has this way of encompassing your world and taking over like it does in Lily's. The problem is that you ens up missing life when you do that. Life is worth the risk because at least you're giving yourself something to hold onto and that's very powerful stuff. From page one, the author here showed with here dedication down to her author's note how much this topic matters to her and the level of detail she took in writing this. Even though the conversation aboht Lily is schizophrenia, its so applicable to mental health disorders in general.
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  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    Lily is afraid that she will end up like her mother, who suffered from schizophrenia, she is trying all she can to achieve her dreams of being a journalist all while keeping her mental sanity in check. When Lily covers the story of a baby elephant named Swifty Jones, whose mother tried to kill her. Lily feels she must stick with the story and fight for the safety of the baby elephant. Lily is a strong, determined character who is fighting for her dreams. She is afraid of becoming her mother and Lily is afraid that she will end up like her mother, who suffered from schizophrenia, she is trying all she can to achieve her dreams of being a journalist all while keeping her mental sanity in check. When Lily covers the story of a baby elephant named Swifty Jones, whose mother tried to kill her. Lily feels she must stick with the story and fight for the safety of the baby elephant. Lily is a strong, determined character who is fighting for her dreams. She is afraid of becoming her mother and she is fighting against the odds that are stacked against her. I really enjoyed seeing Lily with the baby elephant Swifty and seeing her help take care of the elephant. Lily worked hard to fight and keep Swifty alive and help fight for her wellbeing. It was sad to see how much Swifty struggled and start to lose the fight to survive. I particularly liked the friendship that forms between Swifty and a small dog named Flea. Lily had a great friend in Sawyer, he was supportive of her and looks out for her best interest. This was an entertaining read that I enjoyed. There are some sad scenes that deal with mistreatment of animals that can be hard to read. I willingly received an advanced copy from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Nina
    January 1, 1970
    I was given an early ARC of this story to read because I do what I can to raise awareness of the plight of elephants and other wild animals in captivity - and I was thrilled with what I read! Not only does this book show the reader the perils of keeping elephants in zoos and having them perform in circuses, it does it with heart, grace, and imagination. I can't tell you why it made me cry without spoiling the plot, but both the protagonist Lily and baby elephant Swifty will tug at your emotions I was given an early ARC of this story to read because I do what I can to raise awareness of the plight of elephants and other wild animals in captivity - and I was thrilled with what I read! Not only does this book show the reader the perils of keeping elephants in zoos and having them perform in circuses, it does it with heart, grace, and imagination. I can't tell you why it made me cry without spoiling the plot, but both the protagonist Lily and baby elephant Swifty will tug at your emotions throughout the story. All of this is skillfully interwoven with Lily's fears about inheriting her mother's schizophrenia. But for me, an animal lover, it was Swifty's story that made this a must-read for me. I'm so glad it will be out there for teens to learn more about how our society deals with elephants and other wild animals in captivity.
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  • Angelique
    January 1, 1970
    I chose this book from the title, since I adore elephants, and I’m so glad I did. When elephants fly deals with a few different major hot topics, but mental health is the issue in the forefront. The main character, Lily, has just turned 18 and is living life fearful that she will end up with schizophrenia, like her mom. She is doing an intern as a journalist and has the opportunity to do a piece on an elephant at the local zoo that is about to have a calf. The two story lines connect and there i I chose this book from the title, since I adore elephants, and I’m so glad I did. When elephants fly deals with a few different major hot topics, but mental health is the issue in the forefront. The main character, Lily, has just turned 18 and is living life fearful that she will end up with schizophrenia, like her mom. She is doing an intern as a journalist and has the opportunity to do a piece on an elephant at the local zoo that is about to have a calf. The two story lines connect and there is a whole lot more that happens, so many great characters. And elephants, a baby elephant and a dog for a best friend. I highly recommend When Elephants Fly by Nancy Richardson Fischer. I received this early release from NetGalley for an honest review.
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  • Olivia (The Candid Cover)
    January 1, 1970
    DNF at 25%I found this book to be very slow to start. Also, the main character's desire to avoid mental illness is something that I found to be annoying. There is enough stigma surrounding mental illness and books should be aiming to provide readers a place to feel safe.
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  • Jolene
    January 1, 1970
    There were two main focuses of this book. One is Lily's fear that she will eventually show signs of having schizophrenia like her mother and other relatives in her family tree.  The second focus is the plight of a baby elephant, Swifty, whose mother rejected her.  Swifty and Lily's lives become intertwined when Lily decides to help Swifty.  There were some short, disturbing scenes of elephant abuse and readers are forced to learn the positive and negative sides of zoos and circuses.  I did like There were two main focuses of this book. One is Lily's fear that she will eventually show signs of having schizophrenia like her mother and other relatives in her family tree.  The second focus is the plight of a baby elephant, Swifty, whose mother rejected her.  Swifty and Lily's lives become intertwined when Lily decides to help Swifty.  There were some short, disturbing scenes of elephant abuse and readers are forced to learn the positive and negative sides of zoos and circuses.  I did like Lily's character growth through out the book.  She went from a self-absorbed teen focused on her future to a teen risking her future to help out a helpless baby elephant.
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  • Susan Underbrink
    January 1, 1970
    A big thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin Teen for the ARC. I am voluntarily reviewing this book. First time reading this author. This starts a little slow but wow what a great read! What a year jerked but we'll worth the fissues. This is a story about change, growing up, friends and an unknown future. I give this a 4.5.
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  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    This is a wonderful book. It should be said, for the sake of transparency, that I like elephants more than people so When Elephants Fly was immediately a must-read for me. The author does a fantastic job of tracing the evolution of the lead character T. Lily's feelings about the various forms of possible homes for captive elephants and elephants themselves. Anything other than wild is an imperfect solution, so it was nice to see the author engage in that conversation. Swifty, the Asian elephant This is a wonderful book. It should be said, for the sake of transparency, that I like elephants more than people so When Elephants Fly was immediately a must-read for me. The author does a fantastic job of tracing the evolution of the lead character T. Lily's feelings about the various forms of possible homes for captive elephants and elephants themselves. Anything other than wild is an imperfect solution, so it was nice to see the author engage in that conversation. Swifty, the Asian elephant calf in question, is caught in a fight between a zoo and a circus, and the author deftly illustrates the reality of life behind the scenes at these venues. I cannot speak with any level of expertise to what this book does for the other main plot line about coping with mental health issues, but I can say that her portrayal of Swifty is as complex and beautiful as the elephants I've met in the real world. T. Lily's journey was as emotional as Swifty's and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, even when certain aspects became predictable. There was a time when I was concerned the emergence of a romance plot would derail the focus on Swifty, but ultimately I was happy because it did not. To me, this book is about understanding and living with yourself and life's uncertainties in combination with the relationship between T. Lily and Swifty and the dire need to treat the world's stunning elephants better. I felt it was important that Swifty remain at the forefront, which she did. The ambiguous ending was perfect for the story being told.I must admit though, that I was surprised to reach the resources section at the end and see the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust not listed. Early in the book there is a description of a character from near Nairobi National Park working for the fictional 'Harry Shaw Wildlife Trust' where she met an elephant named Mbegu. Since Sheldrick's nursery is located at Nairobi National Park and has a mini matriarch named Mbegu (a male in the novel) who recently graduated from the Nairobi Nursery to a reintegration unit, I thought the obvious parallel would mean the Trust was included in the back of the book, but it was not. Either way, if you've read this book you should mentally add them to your list of wonderful elephant-helping organizations. There's another place I also thought would have been mentioned, but to name it here might constitute a plot spoiler so I will leave it with DSWT.[This review is based on an ARC received at BookCon]
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  • Christine Garcia
    January 1, 1970
    4.5/5To start, I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.There are a few potential triggers for anyone tirelessly working through mental health challenges: abuse, suicide, schizophrenia.This book hooked me from the beginning and I soon found myself unable to complete any real-life tasks to continue reading Lily’s story. Lily comes from a genetic line predisposed to schizophrenia. After almost losing her own life due to her mother succumbing to her own delusions, Lily g 4.5/5To start, I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.There are a few potential triggers for anyone tirelessly working through mental health challenges: abuse, suicide, schizophrenia.This book hooked me from the beginning and I soon found myself unable to complete any real-life tasks to continue reading Lily’s story. Lily comes from a genetic line predisposed to schizophrenia. After almost losing her own life due to her mother succumbing to her own delusions, Lily grows up hoping to beat the odds of something she cannot see coming. She has a long-term plan of no stress (or fun of any kind) in order to come out, hopefully, free of the same mental illness that’s been plaguing the woman in her family for several generations.However, Lily begins volunteering, and eventually writing small stories for the local newspaper in her town. Her story on the local zoo preparing for a new elephant calf, soon named Swifty, leads her on an unexpected journey after Swifty’s mother tries to kill her shortly after birth.Lily is quite the character. She’s slightly infuriating. She’s slightly too calm and laid back. She’s slightly avoiding truly living life. Yet, I couldn’t stop thinking about how fearful I would be if I were her knowing that there was a strong possibility I would find myself drowning in a sea of mental illness that I couldn’t avoid. While I do not struggle from schizophrenia nor personally know anyone who does, my heart ached to see the way this illness can suck the life of anyone it goes after. To hope for a life you are pretty sure will not play out as you’d hope would probably make me just as cautious and anxious as Lily was for most of this story.Her best friend, Sawyer, was a wonderful character, although this idea he was ridiculously rich wasn’t something I bought into for the majority of the story. Sawyer also harbors secrets of his own and it becomes clear in understanding the superbly adorable to the friendship Lily and Sawyer have created over their own internal struggles through the years.This story also had another hot topic in it for me: elephants. I’ve read several stories about elephants in the past that discuss their depth of emotion and how they typically act in the wild. Sometimes those ideas are hard to listen to and this story does touch on several instances of animal abuse which were hard to stomach through for myself. Still, the elephant’s stories are just as important here and only added to the tugging on my heart.I enjoyed almost everything about this story: the mental health representation which I do not think we see nearly enough in YA (or any other genre), the elephants, the friendship, but most importantly the decision between living your life or letting your life control you. Is it better to take risks that might not let you live as yourself as long as you’d like? Or is it better to play it safe and hope to peacefully ride out the waves without creating any yourself?There were only a few pieces of the story I did not enjoy as much: Lily just up and leaving out of the blue for a story, her selfishness during some of Sawyer’s personal problems arising, and her initial carelessness at how her life affected other people’s (such as Swifty). Lastly, the odd way the story ended wasn’t necessarily bad, but it kept taking odd turns I wasn’t expecting and with people I wasn’t expecting. Also, without saying what it is, the final piece of Lily’s puzzle at the end really tore me apart for a few days after finishing. I non-stop thought about mental health and how I choose to live my life, even without the battles Lily faces.I’d highly recommend this story to just about everyone: it isn’t a perfect, happy story, but it is something that should be thought and talked about more often.#netgalley#whenelephantsfly
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  • Tori
    January 1, 1970
    Chp 1-24 We are slowly learning about Lily and what she has to deal with and how her life has been laid out. I am worried about her and hope by the end of the book she is still trying to be brave. Chp. 25- 30When Lilly starts to stress out is when the voices come the most and try to calm her down, she explains that it is her voice, but it was a younger version of her. I wish I was braver like Esmerelda, must be nice to be only scared of one thing. Even if the thing is a pretty big thing that cou Chp 1-24 We are slowly learning about Lily and what she has to deal with and how her life has been laid out. I am worried about her and hope by the end of the book she is still trying to be brave. Chp. 25- 30When Lilly starts to stress out is when the voices come the most and try to calm her down, she explains that it is her voice, but it was a younger version of her. I wish I was braver like Esmerelda, must be nice to be only scared of one thing. Even if the thing is a pretty big thing that could be bad for everyone. Otis and Lillys love for Peter pan is the best, because that is how the comfort each other with all the stuff that they have to go through to save Swifty. Since they got to the circus Swift Jones has barely been eating and the doctor said that she will die soon without the nutrition, which is what starts the journey for Otis and Lily to save her. Chp 33• Howard does what he wants even if it is not a good idea• I thought Howard cared, but it turns out that he cares more about money and having a perfect show than taking care of the animals.• GAHHHHHHHH WTF HOWARD• Like I said he is harming the animals to make them do what he wants them to do. • Really invested in seeing how the brothers became so distant Chp 34 & 35• Addie knew about the abuse which doesn’t surprise me because she didn’t really try and help Swifty. She was more for the carnival taking her she didn’t have to worry about her getting back to being with her mom. It was stressful to get mom and daughter back together so what was easier? • Otis & Lilly better end up togetherChp 37 - 40• Lilly and Otis Steal Swifty and are hiding out trying to figure out how to help her, so Lily writes an article and sends it to her publisher so they would hopefully publish it. Eventually Otis finds out about her mother trying to kill her and how she can end up having schizophrenia. He does not take it well. Luckily he comes to his senses and realizes that he has to help Lily no matter how upset he felt. They end up filming a video for the news, because the story was shifting to her and not the elephant. It works and slowly people start to realize this is about getting Swifty the help that she needs. Chp 41- 47 Swifty is slowly starting to decline and they have to call in for help. Sawyer finally realizes that he has been the one who was being a bad friend and that Lily was right all along. He says that he will help them in finding a truck, because they are afraid that Otis parents already put out a APB and will track down the truck. Lily and Swfity end up getting a lot more support over a few days thankfully to Lily’s friends and family, and everyone who was willing to participate in helping. They end up going to an Elephant Sanctuary and end up being turned down, because the land is owned by the government and they don’t want to loose their donors. In the end, the Walker family decided to sign over Swifty and let her be free. I cried and laughed and felt all the emotions with this book. I am so in love and cannot wait for more people to read this! It has such a good insight on mental health and how hard it is to move on with some things. She pertrays Lily so well on how much strength she actually had even with all the scares she has in her life.
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  • Jen M
    January 1, 1970
    As a person with an education background in psychology, I had some misgivings about the subject matter of this novel going into it. Lily's schizophrenic mother tried to kill her when she was a young girl. Lily struggles to deal with that trauma and also the looming threat of developing the disorder herself, given the genetic component. Schizophrenia is a such a highly stigmatized illness, and a novel with a schizophrenic character committing such a dramatic act of violence at the center of the s As a person with an education background in psychology, I had some misgivings about the subject matter of this novel going into it. Lily's schizophrenic mother tried to kill her when she was a young girl. Lily struggles to deal with that trauma and also the looming threat of developing the disorder herself, given the genetic component. Schizophrenia is a such a highly stigmatized illness, and a novel with a schizophrenic character committing such a dramatic act of violence at the center of the story is concerning. While delusions in thought can cause a person with schizophrenia to become violent, most people living with this disorder are not violent and are at far greater risk of harming themselves than they are anyone else. So while Lily's story is certainly not out of the realm of possibility in the real world, these are important things to keep in mind when reading a story like this. That being said, I do think that Fischer made efforts to treat the subject matter with sensitivity. She has used Lily's concerns about developing the disorder as a means to relay information to the reader; Lily has researched this topic tirelessly as a means of maintaining a sense of control over her life and mental health, and is aware, for example, of the risk of suicide for patients dealing with this disorder. Lily is a very sympathetic protagonist who is acutely aware of her risk of developing this disorder; she also gives the reader a window into what it feels like to be unfairly dismissed based on their mental health status.Certain characters look down on Lily based on the mere possibility that she may have inherited her mother's illness; should this possibility prove to be true, the contempt would be that much worse. Any and all of Lily's opinions can be dismissed based on the speculated status of her mental health. For an insecure and yet passionate young woman just emerging into adulthood, this is excruciating. Photo by Casey Allen on Pexels.comAnd then there's Swifty. I got so emotionally invested in this baby elephant; Lily's connection with Swifty is palpable, and my heart broke for both of them as Swifty struggled after being rejected by her mother. Many of the passages about Swifty are very well written, but some of them showcase the novel's main weakness, in my opinion. It's very clear that Fischer wanted this novel to educate, and that's admirable.However, with a 400 page book dealing with intricate subjects such as mental health, adolescence, parenting, and animal rights, the information may not always be weaved seamlessly into the story. Certain passages felt forced and awkward. It sometimes felt like the author's own research was pasted into the story without regard to the overall flow of the novel; it had the effect of pulling the reader momentarily out of the story. Overall, this was a strong novel. It was well-paced with a well-developed and sympathetic protagonist. The story was interesting and multi-faceted. It brought us a character who, despite her overwhelming anxiety about her mental health, is more than her mental health status. Lily has people who love her deeply and a cause she's willing to fight for. 
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  • Katie
    January 1, 1970
    *I received an ARC of the novel by the publisher through Netgalley but all opinions are 100% my own*Possibly some spoilers in this review, but I tried very hard to keep them minimal and unimportant. I loved pretty much every minute of this book and I’m going to break up everything into sections so you can get a clear picture of this beautiful narrative that Nancy Richardson Fischer has written. SETTING Oregon- mostly the zoo and then a circus in Florida and the transition worked very well. I als *I received an ARC of the novel by the publisher through Netgalley but all opinions are 100% my own*Possibly some spoilers in this review, but I tried very hard to keep them minimal and unimportant. I loved pretty much every minute of this book and I’m going to break up everything into sections so you can get a clear picture of this beautiful narrative that Nancy Richardson Fischer has written. SETTING Oregon- mostly the zoo and then a circus in Florida and the transition worked very well. I also loved getting to know what the Decker household looked like before Violet was removed from it. (I’m trying to be as spoiler-free as possible, but I don’t think I can accurately describe why I love this book without spoiling some of it.) PLOT The novel begins centered around T. Lily Decker but it grows to be something much larger than that. It grows into a larger narrative about mental illness (specifically schizophrenia) and wildlife preservation. (I know they seem unconnected, but Fischer works her magic, and connects them seemlessly. Sawyer and Otis both get little subplots of their own which were interesting and helped to create a whole cast of characters with so much depth. I also feel that from what I know of mental illness, that Fischer did her homework. Nothing about the mental illness described in the novel feels over-the-top or dramatized for the sake of the novel. It feels so real and that is the ultimate goal of the author. CHARACTERS T. Lily Decker- She’s amazing and I love her. Throughout the novel she overcomes so much and her parallel relationship with Swift Jones is simultaneously heartbreaking and beautiful all at the same time. Her personality grows throughout the novel and you can start to hear her sass and persistence through the narration and I loved that about her and the book. Calvin- I struggled with her father, whether he was doing the right thing for Lily because (in the eyes of Lily, our narrator) he was not. But, I couldn’t outright hate him. I believe he loves Lily and was trying to find his way, albeit it may have not been the right path. Sawyer- His subplot allowed for another parallel to Lily and he was a complex characters who did more than further the goals of the protagonist. Otis- Oh Otis, our beautiful, elephant riding love interest. He was another complex character who fit right into the narrative with the pushing and pulling with Lily to create moral and then romantic tension. Howard- Overall terrible person from what we get to see of him. I thought he might be alright but honestly, I couldn’t stand him. Even though to a point I pity him. Overall, I loved this book and I think everyone who has any sort of opinion on mental health or wildlife preservation or even just likes Peter Pan references will enjoy this book.
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  • Katrina Ayala
    January 1, 1970
    When Elephants Flyby Nancy Richardson FischerPublished By; Harlequin TeenPublished on September 4th 20185/5 StarselephantsflyI've been sitting here staring at my laptop for far too long, trying to find the words to properly convey to you just how incredible this story is. I had no idea what I was in for when I picked up When Elephants Fly. I had no idea just how invested in this story I would become. And I most certainly had no idea that I would spend my entire day, holed up in my bedroom, pouri When Elephants Flyby Nancy Richardson FischerPublished By; Harlequin TeenPublished on September 4th 20185/5 StarselephantsflyI've been sitting here staring at my laptop for far too long, trying to find the words to properly convey to you just how incredible this story is. I had no idea what I was in for when I picked up When Elephants Fly. I had no idea just how invested in this story I would become. And I most certainly had no idea that I would spend my entire day, holed up in my bedroom, pouring my emotions all over this book.What would you do if your schizophrenic mother tried to murder you when you were just seven years old? How would you live your life, knowing that you were in emanate danger of becoming just as mentally unstable as your mother?T. Lily Decker has a 12-year plan; a carefully thought out set of rules to keep her sanity intact for as long as possible. Don't do drugs, avoid caffeine, no boyfriends, and absolutely no boyfriends or chance of love. When Lily goes out to cover a story for the newspaper she interns for, she has no idea her life is about to change. Lily witnesses a mamma elephant attempt to kill her three week old calf, Swifty. Swifty is in danger of dying from grief and Lily isn't sure she can abandon the story. But doing so means she's risking her 12-year plan and triggering schizophrenia.I am still truly astounded at the quality of writing, impeccable story telling and brilliance of When Elephants Fly. While I have never dealt with this particular mental illness, I have battled my own. Anxiety, depression, PTSD and borderline agoraphobia all come with their own special set of obstacles. No matter what a person's illness may be (physical or mental) no two people will experience it the same. That being said, Fischer has breached a topic here that needs to be discussed, written and read about more often, especially for young adults. This is truly important for our young readers (and our older ones). I discussed in a previous tweet about how important it is for people with disabilities to be seen. I believe to be even more true for those with invisible illnesses. Aside from the mental illnesses I battle, there is also a laundry list full of other things I've been diagnosed with; things that are not seen by looking at me most days. Every time I read a book that goes behind the scenes of a disability, I feel like it's another win for those of us that live that life. This feels like victory and for that I am eternally grateful for authors such as Fischer and the publishers that believe in them.On that note, I want to thank Harlequin Teen for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. xxLena May
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  • Heidi
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, what a great story! I love how the author explores schizophrenia and how one girl, Lily, deals with this mental disorder. It’s a disorder that I don’t think about too often, as I don’t know someone who has it, but it’s one that exists. Though Lily may not deal with her potential schizophrenia as others might have, the author includes some examples of how others have handled their disorder. There were both positive stories and ones that ended in a sad way. It was heartbreaking to learn about Wow, what a great story! I love how the author explores schizophrenia and how one girl, Lily, deals with this mental disorder. It’s a disorder that I don’t think about too often, as I don’t know someone who has it, but it’s one that exists. Though Lily may not deal with her potential schizophrenia as others might have, the author includes some examples of how others have handled their disorder. There were both positive stories and ones that ended in a sad way. It was heartbreaking to learn about Lily’s mother attempt to kill her daughter and how her father treated Lily. It can’t be easy to learn the woman you love has schizophrenia, tried to kill your daughter, and now you’re afraid your daughter has the disorder, too. I really felt for Lily’s situation.Tying in the elephant piece to the story was also touching. Swifty, experiencing a similar situation as Lily, was something I found so poetic. It was so easy to feel for this newborn elephant and what she goes through, especially when entering a new and perhaps unsafe environment. I also found the author’s openness on both the lovely aspects of a baby elephant and the gross parts of taking care of a newborn calf. There were scenes that made me gag (i.e. baby elephant diarrhea), but there were realistic, which I appreciated. On the upside, there were scenes that were sweet and endearing with little Swifty.Needless to say, I really liked how well the reader gets to know Lily and her situation. I found the pacing to be steady and even exciting at times. It was a book that I always enjoyed opening up to continue reading.My only issue with the book was the ending. There didn’t seem to be a resolution and it left the reader questioning what ends up happening. I wanted to know more about Swifty’s situation, Lily’s friendship with Sawyer, Lily’s relationship with her father, and Lily’s future. Perhaps this was intentional and maybe the reader can assume certain things, but I typically like more wrapped-up endings. However, this is personal preference and I know others will probably feel differently, therefore, I will not mark the book down for this personal preference.Overall, this was a joy to read, and I will definitely be looking out for more books from Nancy Richardson Fischer! I would absolutely recommend this young adult read to those who like to read about a young girl dealing with the potential of being diagnosed with schizophrenia, and the little elephant that helped her.This book was given for free, courtesy by NetGalley and Harlequin Teen.https://bookloverblogs.com/2018/08/31...
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    I'm literally lost for words. When Elephants Fly by Nancy Richardson Fischer was truly a page-turner, that left me smiling and crying and everything in between. I know my review won't do this book justice, but if I could, I'd give this book six out of five, eleven out of ten.With such a unique plotline, When Elephants Fly covers so many topics honestly and beautifully. It tackles so many serious issues that not only cover the treatment of animals, but mental illness and family as well.Lily is un I'm literally lost for words. When Elephants Fly by Nancy Richardson Fischer was truly a page-turner, that left me smiling and crying and everything in between. I know my review won't do this book justice, but if I could, I'd give this book six out of five, eleven out of ten.With such a unique plotline, When Elephants Fly covers so many topics honestly and beautifully. It tackles so many serious issues that not only cover the treatment of animals, but mental illness and family as well.Lily is unlike any character I've met. She's smart, determined, and fearful for her life. Having almost been killed at the age of seven by her schizophrenic mother, Lily is worried that she'll end up just like her. She does everything in her power to avoid triggering the illness, even when she realizes that the odds are stacked against her.But after witnessing an elephant calf, Swifty, almost being killed by her own mother, Lily finds herself deeply connected to the calf. Her mission to save Swifty soon takes her on a road trip that results in her sacrificing all she has and leads her on a journey of self-discovery to finding what matters most to her.This was my first time reading a book that tackles schizophrenia, and Fischer didn't shy away from the cold hard truth. All of Lily's fears and thoughts are revealed as she spirals into the inevitable condition. It was so raw and clear, and watching the illness manifest in Lily felt so real. While she recognizes that no two mental illnesses are the same, Fischer is able to write a story about mental health in a respectful and truthful way.I loved the book so much for its originality, but also for its ability to draw readers in. Each character was so well thought out, with their own backstories and subplots so perfectly interwoven in the novel. Fischer's writing and portrayal of the characters truly tug on readers' hearts from the get-go. And the character development is beautiful. In the span of 400 pages, Lily transforms from a fearful teenager afraid to experience life into a force to be reckoned with. From the very start, you're cheering her on as she goes on her journey to find out what matters most to her.I'd buy a stack of these and make all my friends read it. Because Swifty and Tiger just deserve that much love <3Thank you Harlequin Teen and Netgalley for providing such a wonderful ARC. I am truly grateful for the opportunity. :)
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  • Hayley
    January 1, 1970
    This was a young adult book, however the content of this book was very serious and touched on intense topics that most young adult books don't touch. This wasn't your typical girl gets crush on boy has falling out with her friends and family type of book. This one touches on mental illness and dealing with death and hard decisions. It was very unexpected however it was a nice change. And the way that the author managed to change between the darkness of mental illness to the lightness of naming a This was a young adult book, however the content of this book was very serious and touched on intense topics that most young adult books don't touch. This wasn't your typical girl gets crush on boy has falling out with her friends and family type of book. This one touches on mental illness and dealing with death and hard decisions. It was very unexpected however it was a nice change. And the way that the author managed to change between the darkness of mental illness to the lightness of naming a baby elephant was so flawless I'm not sure how she pulled it off. This book is all about our main character living her life constantly worrying that she is going to develop schizophrenia like her mother did. When she was young her mother got this disease and tried to kill her, luckily she survived. However because of this she lives in constant fear that the disease will come for her as well. This drives her to find out what happens when she hears about a young elephant almost killed by its mother and the lengths she goes to try to help it. She kidnaps the young elephant from the abuse it suffers at the local fair and takes it on a journey across the country to an animal sanctuary all while the police, her family, and the fair are looking for her and questioning her sanity. Is she suffering from schizophrenia like her mother was? I loved this book, the way the author took a very serious subject but didn't make it dry, and still managed to give it a young adult feel to the story was amazing. I really liked the realism in this story. However I think the thing that I loved the most was that there weren't to many characters it was mostly Lily, her friend Otis, and the elephant Swifty. The characters that were in this story however were very likable and really made you root for them even through their major flaws. Very good read. It was nice to see a YA book not focused on love and relationships but rather hard issues, like abuse, mental illness and friendship. Great read and I'm very glad I got the chance to check it out.
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  • Aryn
    January 1, 1970
    This book sticks with you. I like to think of myself as someone who doesn’t cry easily at books or movies, but I would strongly suggest reading the end with tissues nearby. But don’t let that scare you off from reading the book. While I wouldn’t classify it as a happy story, it isn’t an a story written with the intent to break your heart. The opening seemed a bit tired to me, so I was initially skeptical. The plot device of an individual who is worried about their mental health and has developed This book sticks with you. I like to think of myself as someone who doesn’t cry easily at books or movies, but I would strongly suggest reading the end with tissues nearby. But don’t let that scare you off from reading the book. While I wouldn’t classify it as a happy story, it isn’t an a story written with the intent to break your heart. The opening seemed a bit tired to me, so I was initially skeptical. The plot device of an individual who is worried about their mental health and has developed strict rules to cope that limit their engagement with the rest of the world gets quite a bit of play. The catalyst event, where the mother elephant’s rejection of her calf gets out in the most damaging way possible, felt a bit like the moment of a made-for-tv movie where you yell at the lead character “don’t do that! That’s the worst choice you could make!” but was forgivable as the story really started to get rolling. As was the use of a teen country singer turned pop superstar with legions of adoring fans, in a not-at-all subtle reference to the real world - it felt a bit forced and clumsy, but was used for the plot effectively. There’s a lot going on in this story, and I don’t know if it is able to really access all the potential it holds. The issues it does chose to focus on, Lily’s personal struggle with her future and mental health, her relationships with her parents and best friend, and the depth of her connection with Swifty, the rejected elephant calf. The part of the book that resonated most for me was the second half - and for reasons that I can’t discuss without ruining the book for other readers. Parts of the plot may be predictable, but Fischer creates memorable scenes around the predictability. My favorite non-spoiler laden one? A baby elephant playing tag with a caretaker. Final verdict: The first section may feel slow, but stick with it. Read with tissues, and hand to anyone in your life who likes an emotional YA coming of age novel. *I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley.
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  • Jennifer J
    January 1, 1970
    A heartwarming coming-of-age tale about mental illness, tolerance, and the beautiful bonds that can form between animal and human. WHEN ELEPHANTS FLY at its heart is about the importance of fighting for what you believe in, living in the moment, and never giving up hope. Lily Decker has spent most of her life fearing the day she becomes her schizophrenic mother. The same schizophrenic mother who attempted to kill her by throwing her off an apartment building when she was 11-years-old.Because sch A heartwarming coming-of-age tale about mental illness, tolerance, and the beautiful bonds that can form between animal and human. WHEN ELEPHANTS FLY at its heart is about the importance of fighting for what you believe in, living in the moment, and never giving up hope. Lily Decker has spent most of her life fearing the day she becomes her schizophrenic mother. The same schizophrenic mother who attempted to kill her by throwing her off an apartment building when she was 11-years-old.Because schizophrenia is largely genetic and is deeply ingrained in her family's lineage, Lily lives her life by a specific code of conduct. It's what she refers to as "the 12-year Plan". The code consists of living her life by logic rather than emotion and adhering to clean living to avoid the well-known contributing factors of schizophrenia -- stress, a lack of sleep, hormonal changes, physical, emotional or sexual abuse, alcohol, and drugs. She runs three miles everyday, meditates, and avoids parties and high-stress situations. There's just one problem with Lily's "12-year Plan". It's BORING.Lily is nothing, if not apathetic. That is, until an internship at the local newspaper brings her to the zoo, where she watches an elephant attempt to kill her three-week-old calf, Swifty. Lily cannot bear to turn her back on the story or the baby calf, but she knows she'll have to abandon her safe plans in order to help. After learning Swifty is dying from grief, Lily is faced with a life-changing decision that could break not only her sanity, but also her heart. Life may not be a fairy tale, but there are many different forms of happily-ever-after.I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!*A big thanks to both Netgalley and the publisher for granting me the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book. The thoughts expressed in this review are my own personal opinions and have been written in my own words.
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  • Jennia
    January 1, 1970
    This book is a beautiful and evocative story dealing with the long-term effects of mental illness, animal rights, being true to yourself, and the universal need to be loved for who we are. The main character, T. Lily, starts off as a teenage girl who would be average if it weren’t for her past. Her daily life is fairly mundane, with her best friend, Sawyer, serving as the only true bright spot. During her time as an intern at an area paper, she becomes acquainted with a newly born baby elephant, This book is a beautiful and evocative story dealing with the long-term effects of mental illness, animal rights, being true to yourself, and the universal need to be loved for who we are. The main character, T. Lily, starts off as a teenage girl who would be average if it weren’t for her past. Her daily life is fairly mundane, with her best friend, Sawyer, serving as the only true bright spot. During her time as an intern at an area paper, she becomes acquainted with a newly born baby elephant, Swift Jones (nicknamed Swifty). As described in the synopsis above, Swifty is rejected by her mother (in a direct parallel to Lily’s past with her own mother) and is forced to leave the zoo and relocated at a circus. For those who may be sensitive to stories of animal or child abuse, both are discussed without relying heavily upon excess details. Both matters are handled sensitively, the topics written in a way to educate the reader, not for their shock value. I found myself naturally drawn into the lives of the characters and I did not experience some of the disconnect that can occur when characters are too one dimensional. The conversations and interactions came across as organic and authentic. Likewise, the descriptions of first Oregon and then Florida were true to life without relying upon common stereotypes and ideas about the landscapes that have almost become cliché from overuse. Overall, this is a book that I would broadly recommend, because I think it would be appealing to anyone interested in contemporary fiction and looking for something that isn’t a quick and shallow read. I received an advance copy of this title from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    This is a beautifully written story about a young girl name T. Lillian Decker (Lily) who is on the verge of major life changes. Lily has spent her life worried about reaching the age she may start to see the signs of paranoid schizophrenia, something most of the women in her family have suffered from. She lives with her father and spends time with her best friend (who is facing his own difficult life choices), living a careful and controlled life, until a chance visit to the zoo and the birth of This is a beautifully written story about a young girl name T. Lillian Decker (Lily) who is on the verge of major life changes. Lily has spent her life worried about reaching the age she may start to see the signs of paranoid schizophrenia, something most of the women in her family have suffered from. She lives with her father and spends time with her best friend (who is facing his own difficult life choices), living a careful and controlled life, until a chance visit to the zoo and the birth of a baby elephant changes all of that. When Swift Jones is born, Lily is there for her internship and writes a story about it. Because of the public interest, she returns and finds herself in a eerily similar situation to the one she once faced when her own mother tried to kill her. Lily writes another article which become the catalyst for change in her life as the article draws attention to a side of animal behavior that isn't always discussed. Through the course of this novel Lily is forced to make choices and decided if she can in fact trust herself as she worries about being overcome by her past. She meets a cast of interesting characters and as she travels with Swifty to a new home, she realizes that not all things are as they seem. This novel really touched my heart because of the way the author introduced such a strong protagonist who was facing so many challenges that are all mirrored in Swift Jones and the survival of this young elephant. Thank you netgalley for this chance to read such a interesting story in exchange for my honest opinion.
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  • Kathleen
    January 1, 1970
    When Elephants Fly is a great story of determination in facing fears even when you feel you can't do it. It's about the power of friendship and the difference one person can make. This book was so enjoyable to read. I finished it quickly to see if the baby elephant survived and how everything else turned out. It tackles serious issues such as the plight of elephants whether in the wild, in zoos or circuses; mental illness, in particular schizophrenia, and the threat of hereditary genetic problem When Elephants Fly is a great story of determination in facing fears even when you feel you can't do it. It's about the power of friendship and the difference one person can make. This book was so enjoyable to read. I finished it quickly to see if the baby elephant survived and how everything else turned out. It tackles serious issues such as the plight of elephants whether in the wild, in zoos or circuses; mental illness, in particular schizophrenia, and the threat of hereditary genetic problems; and the rifts common in families due to sexual orientation. The issues are weighty but the story is often light and fun.I especially enjoyed the author's use of quotes from Peter Pan and The Little Prince. They were a great tie in to the mental health issues. The author revealed more details as the story unfolded until you understood why Lily felt how she did about the people in her life and why she was so vigilant regarding her mental health.There are some specific references to sex which along with Lily's treatment by her mother make this a book for mature readers. I would recommend it for anyone who likes a good story. Note: The edition I read is an uncorrected proof in paperback. I received this book in a goodreads giveaway.
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  • Philip Gustafson
    January 1, 1970
    Wonderful read!When I was given the ARC of when elephants fly to give objective feedback, I was initially struck with how much I related to the main character. How much she made me reflect over myself, my own childhood and some of my personal attributes while at the same time being very different from me. I think that there is something in her that we could all relate to in one way or another and this felt like an important thing about this novel. In addition to being a good story I think this i Wonderful read!When I was given the ARC of when elephants fly to give objective feedback, I was initially struck with how much I related to the main character. How much she made me reflect over myself, my own childhood and some of my personal attributes while at the same time being very different from me. I think that there is something in her that we could all relate to in one way or another and this felt like an important thing about this novel. In addition to being a good story I think this is a novel that can be good for you on a personal level, with lessons you can take with you and apply to your own life. The novel and especially Lily, the main character, inspired me to create an original song which is probably the best grade I could give something, because what inspires me like that is among the most important things to me.On top of that, When Elephants Fly is a wonderful story, Nancy paints a detailed picture that lets you be devoured by it and feel like you are there in the novel's environment and like you have a relationship to it's characters and to forget about the outside world for a while.
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