G. Bianco, 2019
Like many people out there, I enjoy the occasional sports-themed rom-com or YA novel. However, This Is How We Fly by Anna Meriano highlights a different kind of athletic activity: Quidditch. This young adult book, set to be released December 15th, is a great feel-good contemporary about growing up and finding a place to belong.
Seventeen-year-old vegan feminist Ellen Lopez-Rourke has one muggy Houston summer left before college. She plans to spend every last moment with her two best friends before they go off to the opposite ends of Texas for school. But when Ellen is grounded for the entire summer by her (sometimes) evil stepmother, all her plans are thrown out the window. Determined to do something with her time, Ellen (with the help of BFF Melissa) convinces her parents to let her join the local muggle Quidditch team. An all-gender, full-contact game, Quidditch isn't quite what Ellen expects. There's no flying, no magic, just a bunch of scrappy players holding PVC pipe between their legs and throwing dodgeballs. Suddenly Ellen is thrown into the very different world of sports: her life is all practices, training, and running with a group of Harry Potter fans. Even as Melissa pulls away to pursue new relationships and their other BFF Xiumiao seems more interested in moving on from high school (and from Ellen), Ellen is steadily finding a place among her teammates. Maybe Quidditch is where she belongs. But with her home life and friend troubles quickly spinning out of control--Ellen must fight for the future that she wants, now she's playing for keeps.
I really enjoyed the concept of this book! Being a fan of Harry Potter, I knew what Quidditch was and that people actually played it in real-life, but I didn’t really know any of the logistics of it. Meriano does a fabulous job of showcasing this wonderfully wacky sport and how it has developed into a worldwide phenomenon. Additionally, to see Ellen use Quidditch as a way to express herself and find a sense of belonging was wonderful to see.
Meriano leaves references at the end of the book to real-life sources to find actual Quidditch leagues around the world which really helped showcase this diverse athletic community! There was also some great LGBTQ+ and BIPOC representation in this story which further highlighted the diversity and inclusivity of the Quidditch Community!
While I liked the plot, I did find Ellen to be a bit over dramatic at times and found it a bit hard to connect with her. I might just be getting too far removed from my own teen years to relate to her, but Ellen seemed almost too angsty at times. This book also tackles a lot of progressive issues like feminism, gender identity, gender roles, veganism, and societal standards. While I appreciated the way these issues were highlighted, it was almost overwhelming at times and I found there to be too many mentions of too many different issues.
Overall, I think this is a great YA book and I hope to see Quidditch highlighted in more stories in the future! If you're looking for a quick read that will satisfy your craving for neediness and a little bit of competition then this book is a fabulous choice!
*I received an ARC from Penguin Teen in exchange for my honest opinion.
Hi! My name is Elisa and my bookshelf is quite literally overflowing! Join me in my journey of reading as many books as humanly possible!