Flyaway by Helen Landalf
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a quick and easy read targeting children of parents with addiction problems and lacking a stable home environment. Stevie has been living with her mother in precarious situations for many years. Her mother does what she pleases and Stevie is left to fend for herself which neither find a problem with this setup. Inevitably, one day her mother doesn't come home and Stevie's aunt shows up to take her to her own home. Stevie and Aunt Mindy struggle and clash as they redefine their relationship. Stevie is also always hoping her mother will return. Regardless that she is a crappy mother, she is her mother.
To add depth to the story, the author has included metaphors in juxtaposition of Stevie's life. Stevie finds an injured bird and helps another troubled youth transport it to a bird preserve where Stevie volunteers to help so she can keep an eye on the injured bird and its progress. She learns a lot about caretaking and giving the birds enough space to spread their wings and experiment in a safe environment until they heal. Sometimes the birds can't be saved. Their injuries are too extensive.
It's a sweet story with the realities of a population of children that are transient yet a parent is often present if not responsible or missing for days or weeks on end. I liked it quite a bit.