Monday, June 16, 2014

Book Review: Fly Away by Kristin Hannah

Pages: 400
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: April 23, 2014
Source: Publisher for review
Series: Firefly Lane (#1)
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Tully Hart has always been larger than life, a woman fueled by big dreams and driven by memories of a painful past. She thinks she can overcome anything until her best friend, Kate Ryan, dies. Tully tries to fulfill her deathbed promise to Kate--to be there for Kate’s children--but Tully knows nothing about family or motherhood or taking care of people. Sixteen-year-old Marah Ryan is devastated by her mother’s death. Her father, Johnny, strives to hold the family together, but even with his best efforts, Marah becomes unreachable in her grief. Nothing and no one seems to matter to her . . . until she falls in love with a young man who makes her smile again and leads her into his dangerous, shadowy world. Dorothy Hart--the woman who once called herself Cloud--is at the center of Tully’s tragic past. She repeatedly abandoned her daughter, Tully, as a child, but now she comes back, drawn to her daughter’s side at a time when Tully is most alone. At long last, Dorothy must face her darkest fear: Only by revealing the ugly secrets of her past can she hope to become the mother her daughter needs."
Kate and Tully were best friends until Kate died of cancer.  In Fly Away, we revisit our favorite characters from Firefly Lane to see what they have been up to since Kate's untimely death.  Tully hasn't ever really recovered from her best friend's death.  She has lost her popular TV talk show and is now addicted to prescription pills and alcohol.  Marah, Kate's daughter, is struggling as well and desperately needs some guidance, but isn't finding it from her father, who whisks them off to Hawaii after Kate's death and them uproots his whole family to California when they return.  He just can't face what happened, which isn't healthy for his children.  As the months go by, Marah finds herself in a deep state of depression in California and starts falling down a slippery slope.  Cloud, Tully's unpredictable and former addict mother, enters back into Tully's world as well, which increases the drama twofold; however, we learn why Cloud is the way she is, which will answer questions readers had in Firefly Lane. Kristin Hannah's Fly Away is a heartbreaking read.  It was one bad thing after another, but I just had to know how things were going to end up for Tully and Marah.

I loved Firefly Lane when I read it years ago and was interested to see where the characters ended up.  But it was just so darn sad to find out that most of them just couldn't get past Kate's death.  Tully is a mess. Marah is on her way to becoming a hot mess and Johnny, Kate's husband, isn't dealing with his grief, which makes it that much harder for the kids. I was curious about Cloud, Tully's crazy mother, and was interested in her sub-plot, but ultimately, I wanted to know what was going to happen to Marah. 

Fly Away is mostly told through flashbacks and readers slowly piece together the events after Kate's death.  It varies perspectives from time to time as well, so readers get a full picture.  Using this technique can be helpful, but in Fly Away it got old because it felt repetitive at times.

Fly Away was painful, but due to Hannah's compulsively readable writing style, I found myself flipping the pages despite the pain they put me through. It was like watching a bad accident. I knew I didn't really want to watch it unfold and that I should avert my gaze, but I just couldn't do it. I did almost put the book down when more and more bad things kept happening, but being the eternal optimist, I was hoping for that elusive happy ending.

One of my favorite aspects of Fly Away was Kate and Tully's relationship.  Even though Kate is gone, she does make a reappearance from time to time guiding Tully when she finds herself in another mess. I love their friendship, which is why I continued with Fly Away even though it broke my heart into a million pieces.

Fans of Firefly Lane may want to pick up this book to revisit favorite characters, but just like Firefly Lane, be prepared for heartbreaking tale that requires many tissues.


  1. I'm over painful reads for the summer but I know what you mean. KH is quite good at the balance.

    1. Yeah, it was just one bad thing after another, but thankfully Hannah's writing style is very readable and addicting in a sense. Thanks for visiting, Juju!

  2. I never did read Firefly Lane. The only Kristin Hannah book I've read is Home Front which I liked.

    I don't know if I would like Fly Away. It sounds a little too depressing. Then again, I am reading the Game of Thrones books where it seems like all the good guys die...

    1. Firefly Lane is really good, but yes, this follow-up is so depressing. Haha. My husband loves the GoT books….I don't think I could handle all of my favorite characters dying! Thanks for visiting, Christina!

  3. Hmmmm. This sounds like a really heavy read given the variety of people dealing with their grief, so it's one I'd definitely have to be in the right mood for. I'm glad that despite your heart breaking though, you were still able to enjoy the writing style and it kept you flipping pages to the very end. I feel like I need some comfort chocolate just after reading your review! *runs to kitchen*

    1. OMG. Yes. I was emotional eating throughout this entire novel….definitely a heavy read and one I didn't expect. Thanks for visiting, Jenny!


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