A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Flying is the start of a new science fiction series by Carrie Jones, author of Need, about a small-town cheerleader whose mother is revealed to be an alien hunter. It combines action, comedy, and romance and is narrated in a breezy, accessible tone. There's plenty of action, but it's not particularly violent. (There's gunplay, and a villain falls from a roof.) There's a small amount of swearing ("d--k," "s--t," "hell," and "damn"), and the sexual content is limited to flirting and a couple of passionate embraces.
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What's the story?
At the start of FLYING, 17-year-old cheerleader Mana is used to being coddled by her friends and family, but everything changes for her on the night when the guy she's attracted to flips out and starts spitting neon-green acid. Worse, Mana returns home to find the place trashed and her mother missing. A mysterious government agent claims to be her frumpy mom's partner in alien hunting and tells Mana that he's searching for a piece of technology that might either save the world or destroy it. To navigate the trail of secrets surrounding her family, Mana must rely on her own developing instincts, her new ability to jump to incredible heights, and the support of her best friend, Lyle, a boy for whom she's beginning to have romantic feelings.
Is it any good?
Author Carrie Jones finds an accessibly breezy tone for her narration and concocts a sci-fi adventure that offers plenty of fun, even if its plot is not particularly groundbreaking. Mixing comedy and action is a delicate balance, and this combination of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Men in Black expertly straddles genres. Main character Mana develops her sense of self-reliance as she searches for her kidnapped mother, and her transition from coddled cheerleader to tough alien-hunter is fun to witness.
The romantic subplot is handled with aplomb, even if the clever banter seems a little forced at times. All in all, the series is off to a flying start.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why science fiction is so popular. What's so appealing about alien stories?
What do you think of how Flying combines elements of comedy and drama? Does it achieve a good, entertaining balance?
In Flying, Mana learns that her parents have secret lives. Why do parents hide some facts from their children? When is secret-keeping harmful?
- Author: Carrie Jones
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Adventures, High School, Space and Aliens
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Tor Teen
- Publication date: July 19, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 13 - 18
- Number of pages: 256
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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