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A loose retelling of Cinderella, about a high-school graduate who--after getting grounded for the whole summer--joins a local Quidditch league and finds her footing, perfect for fans of Dumplin', Fangirl, and everyone who's read and adored Harry Potter. 17-year-old vegan feminist Ellen Lopez-Rourke has one muggy Houston summer left before college. She plans to spend every l A loose retelling of Cinderella, about a high-school graduate who--after getting grounded for the whole summer--joins a local Quidditch league and finds her footing, perfect for fans of Dumplin', Fangirl, and everyone who's read and adored Harry Potter. 17-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. Filled with heart and humor, Anna Meriano's YA debut is perfect for fans of Dumplin' and Hot Dog Girl.


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A loose retelling of Cinderella, about a high-school graduate who--after getting grounded for the whole summer--joins a local Quidditch league and finds her footing, perfect for fans of Dumplin', Fangirl, and everyone who's read and adored Harry Potter. 17-year-old vegan feminist Ellen Lopez-Rourke has one muggy Houston summer left before college. She plans to spend every l A loose retelling of Cinderella, about a high-school graduate who--after getting grounded for the whole summer--joins a local Quidditch league and finds her footing, perfect for fans of Dumplin', Fangirl, and everyone who's read and adored Harry Potter. 17-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. Filled with heart and humor, Anna Meriano's YA debut is perfect for fans of Dumplin' and Hot Dog Girl.

30 review for This is How We Fly

  1. 4 out of 5

    Claude's Bookzone

    1.5 Stars rounded up to 2 because Quidditch y'all. CW: (view spoiler)[homophobia (well challenged), misogyny (hide spoiler)] Well I am sorry to say this was not an enjoyable experience for me. It was written in first person which, for the record, I have enjoyed before. However, the writing was so simple that this is what it felt like: I thought about what I wanted to eat. I went to the fridge and opened the door. I looked through the shelves trying to find something I wanted to eat. I sighed when 1.5 Stars rounded up to 2 because Quidditch y'all. CW: (view spoiler)[homophobia (well challenged), misogyny (hide spoiler)] Well I am sorry to say this was not an enjoyable experience for me. It was written in first person which, for the record, I have enjoyed before. However, the writing was so simple that this is what it felt like: I thought about what I wanted to eat. I went to the fridge and opened the door. I looked through the shelves trying to find something I wanted to eat. I sighed when I saw none of it was vegan friendly. I closed the fridge door. I opened up the pantry door.... That was not a direct quote but gives you an idea of the style of writing. Also, nothing much happens. There is just a lot of thinking about what everyone else is thinking. Here is another example of what I mean but again this is not a direct quote: I wonder if I should be kissing him. I don't even like him. I wonder if he likes me. I hope he likes me. What will people think of me kissing a guy I don't even like? Will my Quidditch team be mad? I thought the author did an excellent job of portraying how big changes, like going to college, can make once solid friendships feel loose and fragile. Ellen and her friends were each trying to make sense of what their connection to each other would look like when they were in different colleges. So the only positives for me were the Quidditch competitions, the excellent rep, and the portrayal of friendships.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Isabel ✰

    i added this to my to-read almost a year ago and since then my weird quippy excited review of this book became one of the top reviews on the book and of my account, so i felt an odd obligation to actually check this book out when it pubbed i shouldn't have. a lot has happened since last february -- my tastes have changed and the world has changed and jk rowling has almost entirely ruined harry potter for me. what would have been a fun concept has been soured by no fault of meriano's. beyond that, i added this to my to-read almost a year ago and since then my weird quippy excited review of this book became one of the top reviews on the book and of my account, so i felt an odd obligation to actually check this book out when it pubbed i shouldn't have. a lot has happened since last february -- my tastes have changed and the world has changed and jk rowling has almost entirely ruined harry potter for me. what would have been a fun concept has been soured by no fault of meriano's. beyond that, the book features overly simplistic writing and plot and i lost interest very quickly.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    THIS IS HOW WE FLY is a fun, coming of age YA read that is focused on Ellen during the summer after graduating high school, as she finds quidditch as the lifeline she may need as she grapples through friendships and identity. This was a fun one I enjoyed!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Danika at The Lesbrary

    If you still have complicated nostalgic feelings for Harry Potter, but you also want to read a book that says "Fuck TERFs" (literally--that's a direct quote), This is How You Fly is for you. This is a story that's a little bit messy, which I loved. It deals with a lot. The dynamic between her and her family is complicated and feels realistic. Ellen is also a main character I don't see very much: she's a feminist teenager who is passionate about social justice. She is vegan and tries to call out p If you still have complicated nostalgic feelings for Harry Potter, but you also want to read a book that says "Fuck TERFs" (literally--that's a direct quote), This is How You Fly is for you. This is a story that's a little bit messy, which I loved. It deals with a lot. The dynamic between her and her family is complicated and feels realistic. Ellen is also a main character I don't see very much: she's a feminist teenager who is passionate about social justice. She is vegan and tries to call out people for casual sexism, racism, homophobia, ableism, etc, even if it's her friends or family. Usually those characters are dismissed as annoying or a joke, but I (unsurprisingly) felt very sympathetic for Ellen. Although this book doesn't have a sapphic main character, there are multiple sapphic side characters, including one that is a major subplot. I'm going back and forth on whether naming it is a spoiler, because clearly the book means it to be a surprise, but a) identity is not a spoiler and b) I definitely saw it coming several hundred pages in advance. Suffice to say that there is significant F/F content, though not with the main character. Ellen is also questioning her gender and continues to do so by the end of the book. As for Ellen, I appreciated that her romances are also messy and complicated. It shows that you can be attracted to people you don't necessarily like, and it allows Ellen to explore her feelings and attractions. I had a great time reading this book. Multiple times, I found myself staying up hours later than I meant to because I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend this for former or conflicted current Harry Potter fans who denounce JK Rowling's transphobia or for anyone who is or was a loud-mouthed teenage feminists (I mean that as a sincere compliment). My full review is at the Lesbrary.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tova

    Quidditch? Hell yeah.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sophia Dyer • bookishly.vintage

    Thank you Booksparks for the finished copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I want to start out by saying that I do not support JKR or anything relating to THAT universe, but in the start of this book that was also noted. So it is nice that the author herself does not support JKR and her "TERF" views. Actually, the amount of representation itself in this book was absolutely amazing, and the main character did a lot of self-questioning throughout. Mostly with her gender identificatio Thank you Booksparks for the finished copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I want to start out by saying that I do not support JKR or anything relating to THAT universe, but in the start of this book that was also noted. So it is nice that the author herself does not support JKR and her "TERF" views. Actually, the amount of representation itself in this book was absolutely amazing, and the main character did a lot of self-questioning throughout. Mostly with her gender identification, but she was also quick to call people out for political correctness and then explain to them why they are being wrong (and sometimes insensitive). My husband laughed at me when I told him how much I loved the representation in this book. I mean, not only with gender identity but also sexuality and racial identity too. The characters were well informed without this book reading like a research essay, and it tied in well since the actual (irl) quidditch game enforces inclusivity. The one part I relate to the most in this book is Ellens relationship with her stepmother. I mean, the author herself said she wishes everyone can relate to one part of the book, and that relationship is it for me. This story is a loose retelling of Cinderella (aka the evil stepmother), and the experience I went through is so similar to the one in the book it felt like my own story was being told! I mean, minus the ending where Connie apologizes and promises to do better (I just stopped talking to my stepmother). After that awful relationship and diversity, this is a coming-of-age story that includes sports, teenage angst, lots of drama, and good ole fashioned friendships. I am still lost on how the quidditch games are actually played, but I felt the same sense of exhaustion and accomplishment just reading about the matches, and I do think Ellen had some great character development from the start to the end. The summer after high school and before college is challenging for everyone, and I do think every teenager can kind some way to relate to this story. Overall, I did enjoy this book and it did end on a high note. I like how in-depth the explanation of the quidditch game was, and how this book discussed more than that as well. I think it was just really well rounded. It is also a good example of enjoying the HP universe without accepting the words and actions of JKR; because, as many have seen recently, it is hard to separate a writer from their work but there are still ways to enjoy such universe in ways that said author does not profit from. Despite this book revolving around something in the HP universe, this book is very inclusive and diverse, and in no way, shape, or form follows the awful views and beliefs of JKR. In a sense, this book is a safe place.

  7. 5 out of 5

    ♡ jules ♡

    ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ariel

    I wasn't impressed with this book. There were some nice moments and I could see some of the intent behind the story, but that was about it. And I could only see these things sometimes. I liked that I was going to be able to marry my love for Harry Potter with other contemporary themes, but in the end, it didn't really pan out. The idea behind this book was nice...But it didn't quite pan out. There were a lot of unfortunate things that happened to the main character, Ellen, but things never really I wasn't impressed with this book. There were some nice moments and I could see some of the intent behind the story, but that was about it. And I could only see these things sometimes. I liked that I was going to be able to marry my love for Harry Potter with other contemporary themes, but in the end, it didn't really pan out. The idea behind this book was nice...But it didn't quite pan out. There were a lot of unfortunate things that happened to the main character, Ellen, but things never really seem to look up. I can see where we can learn some lessons from the things Ellen is going through, but the lessons never really come round circle. A lot of this book left me with an unresolved feeling and wondering why the heck x, y, and z were mentioned if nothing was going to be done about them. I just think there were a lot of missed opportunities here. The whole "loose Cinderella re-telling" thing...Yeah. I don't really know why they included that in there. I can see some similarities, but when they say loose, they mean *loose*. I don't feel like having the knowledge that this was a retelling helped this book in any way. It just felt like something they threw out there. Also, there were only a few characters I really liked and Ellen wasn't one of them. I really hate it when I don't like the main character, but I was glad there were some side characters I liked reading about. Ellen was just a little too much for me. She was frustrating and kinda whiny (and I recognize she had some hard stuff going on, but...still) and just not a pleasant character. Overall, this is not one I'd recommend. It contained too many ideas that weren't resolved and too much angst that wasn't reconciled. I had really hoped for more. Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Blog | Instagram | Twitter

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sabrina

    I played muggle Quidditch for a bit at university (Chaser) and I've never seen it feature in a book omg?!I still remember when I showed up to my first taster session and was told to run laps around the pitch with the pipe in between my legs until it felt normal HAHAHA I played muggle Quidditch for a bit at university (Chaser) and I've never seen it feature in a book omg?!I still remember when I showed up to my first taster session and was told to run laps around the pitch with the pipe in between my legs until it felt normal HAHAHA

  10. 4 out of 5

    Luanne Ollivier

    My latest teen read is This is How We Fly by Anna Meriano. Young adult reads have changed a great deal over the years. While marketed as teen reads, there is much to be learned for all ages from this genre. That's definitely the case with This is How We Fly. This is the last summer before Ellen heads off to college. She and her two besties aren't headed to the same places, so she is looking forward to spending the summer with them. But, the best laid plans.... Instead, one friend wants to cut the My latest teen read is This is How We Fly by Anna Meriano. Young adult reads have changed a great deal over the years. While marketed as teen reads, there is much to be learned for all ages from this genre. That's definitely the case with This is How We Fly. This is the last summer before Ellen heads off to college. She and her two besties aren't headed to the same places, so she is looking forward to spending the summer with them. But, the best laid plans.... Instead, one friend wants to cut the ties now and Ellen herself is grounded - for the entire summer. Thanks to her stepmother Connie, Ellen will be doing a list of chores every day. And her dad backs Connie up. (A little bit of Cinderella there...) I loved Ellen and her passion for her own beliefs, whether it's feminism, veganism or climate control, she is determined to make the world a better place. Connie and Dad really irked me. Connie is well, mean, and her dialogue had me fuming. We get to know bestie Melissa much more than Xiumiao, but both are well drawn with their own issues instead of just being a foil for Ellen. When Melissa joins a Quidditch team (yup, you read that right - the Harry Potter game), Ellen gets reluctant permission to join as well. The team, the players and the game are a big focus of the plot. I thought it was a unique premise and a great vehicle to introduce so many topics, themes and situations. Friendship, gender identity, romantic relationships, sex, belonging, blended families, coming of age and acceptance can all be found in these pages. There are so many personalities introduced though the team and tournaments. I thought they were really well done and inclusive. I've of course read all the Potter books and had a pretty good mental image of a Quidditch match. But I had no idea of how this would be played in our reality. Meriano provides great descriptions. And the title of the book is from that question...." If it's Quidditch....how do you fly?" I thought the writing was great and I enjoyed This is How We Fly very much. I did think the 'resolution' at the end of the book was a bit quick, but it's the right ending.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Huber

    This Is How We Fly totally took me by surprise. It was pitched as "girl plays quidditch for the summer" and after everything JKR said this summer I was like hmmmm I dunno, but I'll give it a shot. I loved the beginning, I love familial issues in contemporary books, because you explore more sides of issues than just "girl likes boy" and there are also bisexual/lesbian characters in this, so I was happy to see the representation. I loved Anna Meriano's writing, it was so descriptive, but sometimes This Is How We Fly totally took me by surprise. It was pitched as "girl plays quidditch for the summer" and after everything JKR said this summer I was like hmmmm I dunno, but I'll give it a shot. I loved the beginning, I love familial issues in contemporary books, because you explore more sides of issues than just "girl likes boy" and there are also bisexual/lesbian characters in this, so I was happy to see the representation. I loved Anna Meriano's writing, it was so descriptive, but sometimes it lost me like, 'wait, where are we?' But other than the occasional confusing moment, I loved the verbiage and overall dialogue. I was having problems getting into it after about 30-60 percent but then someone mentioned it's a "loose cinderella retelling" and I instantly flew into it in a new light. I really enjoyed the exploration of gender politics, familial issues, and sports. Thankfully, the other parts that involve Quidditch like HP/the franchise don't really play into this book, it's just about the character who just so happens to play the sport.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kristi

    Quidditch and teen angst are the perfect catalysts for this fun and entertaining read. This is How We Fly (TiHWF) has a bit of a Cinderella feel to it but Ellen, the quirky yet mostly loveable protagonist isn’t going to any fancy ball. Instead, she’s off to join a Quidditch team that teaches her more about herself and who she wants to be in life than any ball a pumpkin carriage could cart her to. It’s the summer after senior year and the summer before college, Ellen is at odds with her friends, a Quidditch and teen angst are the perfect catalysts for this fun and entertaining read. This is How We Fly (TiHWF) has a bit of a Cinderella feel to it but Ellen, the quirky yet mostly loveable protagonist isn’t going to any fancy ball. Instead, she’s off to join a Quidditch team that teaches her more about herself and who she wants to be in life than any ball a pumpkin carriage could cart her to. It’s the summer after senior year and the summer before college, Ellen is at odds with her friends, at odds with her wicked step-mother- who, of course, loads Ellen down with a never-ending chore list - and when Ellen acts out and ends up grounded for the summer, she has one thing to get her out of the house: Quidditch! Ellen follows her friend to a Quidditch practice and what she finds there is a level of acceptance amongst the players that she hasn’t found anywhere else. I always say I love a good character driven story but TiHWF is both strongly character and plot driven. I have to say the Muggle Quidditch team gave me serious FOMO and oh man, how I wish there was a team by me! Aside from my Quidditch FOMO, Meriano addresses the issues that young women face in that in-between space between high school and college. That yawning abyss of being both a teen and an adult and the struggle to find the balance between who you want to be, who everyone expects you to be and who you actually are. While Ellen is certainly a flawed character, she is much like many teen girls and faces the same struggles with acceptance, immaturity – especially with relationships, and the restlessness of that last summer before adulthood takes over. I didn’t always like Ellen but I did understand her. This is a coming-of-age story that really gave me all the feels. Fighting for what you believe in and learning to be unashamedly proud of who you are is an important message that everyone needs to hear. My thanks to Penguin Teen and author Anna Meriano for providing me with a DRC of This is How We Fly!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Anya Bird

    I stumbled upon this book by accident but ended up really enjoying it! A YA book with a bit of feminism, activism, LGBT+ themes and a love of Harry Potter all combined - winner! It even addresses JKs transphobic and troublesome views. What more could you want from a light read?

  14. 4 out of 5

    Maia

    Quidditch looks really fun :D

  15. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Dang, a ya book about quidditch huh? This is seriously everything I never knew my life was missing.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Michael Araujo

    This review was originally posted on The Fandom. Anna Meriano scores multiple goals in This Is How We Fly, and even catches her own snitch while doing so. Ellen somehow manages to get herself grounded through the whole summer. No friends, no phone, no going out. The only thing that manages to give her some freedom, is Quidditch practice. A sport created for a series of fantasy books that in our world, doesn’t actually include flying. But with actually having to participate and work out, and having This review was originally posted on The Fandom. Anna Meriano scores multiple goals in This Is How We Fly, and even catches her own snitch while doing so. Ellen somehow manages to get herself grounded through the whole summer. No friends, no phone, no going out. The only thing that manages to give her some freedom, is Quidditch practice. A sport created for a series of fantasy books that in our world, doesn’t actually include flying. But with actually having to participate and work out, and having to deal with a family who doesn’t care for her, can Ellen actually survive the summer? Or will she crash into the ground before college even begins? This Is How We Fly offered me a view into a world that was once my safe space. It’s no secret what’s happening in the literature world with JKR, the creator of Quidditch. And I think it’s important to note that I do not support her, no matter how big of a hero she was once to me, and neither does the author. The book in fact talks about her view points. And while it is fair for everyone to have their own opinion, we must all remember that some opinions are extremely hurtful especially coming from someone with a large audience. With that being said, it’s time for Quidditch! In the beginning, I had a bit of a hard time trying to remember the large cast of characters that we’re introduced to. It’s not because the author does a bad job at it, because they were pretty self-explanatory, especially with their Quidditch positions. It’s just a personal problem that I need to work on. The main character, Ellen, obviously stands out as well as her best friends and family. But there was one character that stood out to me more than Ellen. Her step-mother Ellen was truly the wicked step-mother, and made me dislike her more than any other character I’ve read in a long time. I know her intentions were good and she only wanted the best for her family, but the lady was truly out for blood. Not literally, but I’m sure if given the chance there would be some. Aside from her, I thought the entire cast of characters was great. Everyone had their flaws that made us dislike some more than others. The story itself was one of my favorite parts. Ellen has to deal with her step-mother and what she feels like is her control over her own father. She has a summer left before she moves to college and she feels like she’s not being treated fairly. Through Quidditch she’s able to escape her family drama and find a new found love of sports. I’ve only ever seen Quidditch through videos but reading about it was a whole different experience. Even though Ellen finds drama within the Quidditch community, playing it was one of the best parts of the book. It felt so action packed that I found myself wanting more Quidditch and even hoping that we could get a sequel with more Quidditch scenes. I thought it was very well done, and that the author did an amazing job at making sure the reader knew exactly what was going on and how it worked. Especially since it’s a complicated sport. Aside from all that, I found Ellen’s story to be a true story about what it means to grow into an adult and leaving behind your younger years. We see the dangers that come with growing up as well as the good times that are promised. We see her interactions with wanting to fight for social justice and help her younger sister turn out into a good person. We see her want to feel the love from her father and friends. And we see her grow into a new person, one that believes anything is possible.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    This is How We Fly felt like the perfect book for me. A theatre kid protagonist! Harry potter! Queer rep, feminism AND a loose Cinderella retelling? I think that's why I was so let down. This book isn't bad, it's just very average. Ellen as a protagonist came off more whiney then relatable, none of the other characters felt super developed since we only got to see them through her eyes, and the plot's the kind of thing you see over and over again. I think this could have been really good if it we This is How We Fly felt like the perfect book for me. A theatre kid protagonist! Harry potter! Queer rep, feminism AND a loose Cinderella retelling? I think that's why I was so let down. This book isn't bad, it's just very average. Ellen as a protagonist came off more whiney then relatable, none of the other characters felt super developed since we only got to see them through her eyes, and the plot's the kind of thing you see over and over again. I think this could have been really good if it were a lot shorter, but there just wasn't enough here to fill the page count and a lot of it dragged.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    3.5 stars. Good YA fiction about a high school student just trying to survive the summer before senior year without her stepmom melting down at her and leaving again. Her best friend gets her into real-life quidditch.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    I might be hitting my limit with YA realistic fiction that's the crossroads of major decision-making. Unless the characters are intensely creative or personable, I get distracted easily-- putting the book down and picking it back up but not really invested in it. This one did not have a strong opening so the reading was lackluster throughout. And I recognize this is my exhaustion with the tropes in this genre category. It's strengths are the themes of togetherness in friendship and the unease wh I might be hitting my limit with YA realistic fiction that's the crossroads of major decision-making. Unless the characters are intensely creative or personable, I get distracted easily-- putting the book down and picking it back up but not really invested in it. This one did not have a strong opening so the reading was lackluster throughout. And I recognize this is my exhaustion with the tropes in this genre category. It's strengths are the themes of togetherness in friendship and the unease when friends branch out and leave someone else in a lurch, questioning what they really want to do or who they want to be. It's the crux of the story and includes a friend who must hide her sexual identity from her family by essentially living two lives in college and at home which provides a layer of depth. It's a not-for-me book, but will have plenty of readers.

  20. 5 out of 5

    BeyondTheVeilPod

    With everything going on in the Harry Potter world recently, this is exactly the book I needed! The Harry Potter fan community is the entire reason that I am still a fan, and this book feels like a love letter from a fan to the community. Ellen is a wonderful character that takes us through all the traditional coming-of-age struggles like worrying about college, fear of growing apart from close friends and navigating new friendships and relationships. What's wonderful about this book though is th With everything going on in the Harry Potter world recently, this is exactly the book I needed! The Harry Potter fan community is the entire reason that I am still a fan, and this book feels like a love letter from a fan to the community. Ellen is a wonderful character that takes us through all the traditional coming-of-age struggles like worrying about college, fear of growing apart from close friends and navigating new friendships and relationships. What's wonderful about this book though is that it doesn't stop there, Ellen also questions her gender, struggles with her cultural identity and family background, and has a lot of conflicts trying to be a vegan/feminist/environmentalist with parents who just want her to be "normal". I was honestly shocked in the best possible way by how inclusive and diverse this book is, in particular, this is the first time I've ever seen a character with Xe/Xyr pronouns in a book and it made me so happy to see something connected to Harry Potter be so inclusive of many different gender identities! Also. QUIDDITCH. I've wanted to play Muggle Quidditch for years and this book made me even sadder that there is no local team for me to join, I am not an athletic person and I do not like to try to be athletic but WOW Quidditch sounds like a really good time. I've learned a lot about it over the years and this book had such wonderful scenes depicting the gameplay that I felt like a part of it, I honestly can not recommend this book enough to anyone who has ever felt or wanted to feel supported by the Harry Potter community.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Adri

    CWs: Numerous references to the HP franchise and its author (and some direct mentions of the author's harmful ideologies), some implied homophobia, toxic parent-child dynamics, near instances of assault, some descriptions of physical injury, allusions to parental death and mourning First off, let me just be clear in saying that I will not be assigning this book a rating and I will not be speaking about or promoting this book on my various social media outlets. That is not to say it's not wort CWs: Numerous references to the HP franchise and its author (and some direct mentions of the author's harmful ideologies), some implied homophobia, toxic parent-child dynamics, near instances of assault, some descriptions of physical injury, allusions to parental death and mourning First off, let me just be clear in saying that I will not be assigning this book a rating and I will not be speaking about or promoting this book on my various social media outlets. That is not to say it's not worthwhile or that I personally had a bad reading experience with it. In fact, Anna Meriano is one of my favorite authors and I think she continues to do tremendous work. But because the basis of the story can be triggering and harmful to a great deal of people, especially in my own communities, I will not be putting people in a position to engage with it if they choose not to. If you are reading this, it's because you have sought this review out, not because I have put it in front of your face. With that said, I think This is How We Fly is a story that beautifully explores growing pains, especially for young adults, like Ellen, who are straddling that line between childhood and adulthood. Ellen is living out her last summer at home before going off to college, and tensions are definitely high in her household and with her friend group. Her friends are trying to gauge whether their connection is strong enough to go long distance, her parents seem all but eager to ship her out of the house, and Ellen is still very much questioning who she is and where she belongs. The family dynamics and cultural dynamics rang really true to me. As an outspoken vegan feminist, it seems like Ellen's natural role is to challenge her family's ingrained ideologies and make them uncomfortable. They don't like that she doesn't quietly and neatly fit into their little box—whether it's because they have to make her a separate dish for dinner or because she'll call them out on their latent homophobia in front of her younger step-sister. They clash often, and I think there's a good exploration of how people can love each other but still disagree with each other and disappoint each other in some ways. The journey Ellen's family has to take in this story is definitely one of healing, especially after the passing of Ellen's birth mother, which they have never fully processed together. Ellen also feels a disconnection to her heritage, as a white-passing biracial Latinx person, and I appreciated how that was touched on in the story. Whether it's her teammates giving her grief about her hyphenated last name, or how her eating preferences seem to clash and "negate" cultural tradition, Ellen has to navigate her own fraught relationship with both Latinidad and whiteness as the story progresses. There's also some great stuff in here about gender and Ellen questioning her own gender. That's, in part, why the sport of Quidditch really unlocks something within her, because it is one of the only gender-neutral, gender-inclusive sports out there that is not arbitrarily divided by gender or sex. So being part of that community really opens up Ellen's world and allows her to meet so many people with different experiences, backgrounds, and identities, and it gives her a safe place to explore those feelings and learn how to be okay with questioning things. The marketing for this book has also dubbed it as "a loose Cinderella re-telling," and I think that fits. You have the contentious relationship between step-mother and step-child, you have a character who's grounded all summer and doing chores from sun up to sun down, a missed connection with a cute guy, and there's some stuff about shoes at the end that I won't spoil. Although "loose" would be the right term, because it's certainly not a one-to-one, beat-for-beat retelling of the classic fairytale, I think there are certainly enough references for the reader to make that connection. No pun intended, I flew through this book. It was charming, it was funny, and I felt so deeply for Ellen and everything she was going through. That said, it's hard for me to see myself recommending this to people, not only because of the content influencing the premise of the story, but because it's also an emotionally challenging book that really puts Ellen through the wringer. She's on the outs with some of her best friends from high school, she's feeling alienated from her family, she's constantly being blamed for something by her parents, she's struggling to make heads or tails of this new sport and solidify her place on the team. It can be hard to stomach all of that at once, even though it's a very realistic experience. Even though the story is hopeful and working towards a happy ending, so to speak, it is definitely an uphill battle to get there. So if you're interested in this one, definitely keep that in mind. As I said before, I love Anna Meriano and I appreciate her work so much. While this book is not going to be for everyone, it's definitely perfect for people who have complicated emotions about certain wizarding franchises while still appreciating the fandom. While that's not my experience, personally, I think the primary focus of the story is Ellen's journey to finding confidence and community over everything else. At the end of the day, I enjoyed this one and I look forward to reading more of Meriano's work.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley, on exchange for an honest review. 4 ⭐️ Trigger warnings: homophobia, misogyny/sexism I was wary of this book. After what happened this summer, everything related to Harry Potter left a bad taste in my mouth and I worried this book would be the same. Thankfully it wasn’t. On the grounds of feminism, queer acceptance an BIPOC representation, this book is everything HP couldn’t even hope to achieve. And even the queerphobic and sexis I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley, on exchange for an honest review. 4 ⭐️ Trigger warnings: homophobia, misogyny/sexism I was wary of this book. After what happened this summer, everything related to Harry Potter left a bad taste in my mouth and I worried this book would be the same. Thankfully it wasn’t. On the grounds of feminism, queer acceptance an BIPOC representation, this book is everything HP couldn’t even hope to achieve. And even the queerphobic and sexist parts (I’ll get back to that in a minute) were handled well. But I’d lie if I said it didn’t give me hives. The miscommunication and the sheer amount of shit that got dumped on Ellen made my anxiety act up (which wasn’t great because this has already been quite the stressful week) so much that I had trouble reading. I know many parents aren’t great at being inclusive (mine alongside them), but I hate when characters who act like Connie don’t get their ass handed to them by the end of the book. Maybe it’s petty of me, but I prefer a clear end to “we still got problems so we’re just gonna kiss and make up and ignore the fact that you’re a sexist intolerant person who’d rather conform than fight”. Absolutely loved Ellen, though, and I’m 80% sure she’s on the ace spectrum so 😍 I did feel the gender orientation arc was not explored enough, though. I wish it had been just as important as the “romance” and friendship. Because fighting the gender binary doesn’t automatically means you’re not cis.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cori McCarthy

    First of all, I want to thank Penguin Teen for sending me this book through NetGalley for an early review! To be honest, I have never really read a lot of YA contemporary, but I for sure loved this book. Let's dive into the review! I absolutely loved the concept of this book! It is a slight Cinderella retelling about a girl who joins a Harry Potter inspired Quidditch team. Our protagonist, Ellen, is such a strong-willed person who will stand up and fight for what she believes in. During this last First of all, I want to thank Penguin Teen for sending me this book through NetGalley for an early review! To be honest, I have never really read a lot of YA contemporary, but I for sure loved this book. Let's dive into the review! I absolutely loved the concept of this book! It is a slight Cinderella retelling about a girl who joins a Harry Potter inspired Quidditch team. Our protagonist, Ellen, is such a strong-willed person who will stand up and fight for what she believes in. During this last summer before college starts, Ellen finds herself joining an all-gender, full-contact Quidditch team that gives her a chance to not only find herself, but find who she wants to be in life. Meriano also explores the topics of family dynamics and finding her own voice in this world. Every scene was just so full of detail that it made it hard to put the book down. The family part of this book was my favorite because it was so moving to see the development from the beginning of the book to the end. The book is definitely a book I am going to remember. I 100% recommend picking up this book when it comes out later this year, because it will definitely leave you feeling inspired. Final Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

  24. 5 out of 5

    Katie Prouty

    This is How We Fly follows 17-year-old, Ellen, during her last summer before starting her freshman year at college. Ellen finds herself grounded because homegirl is at the ultimate level of snarky teenage 'tude. Have no fear, BFF Melissa is a brilliant magical unicorn of a suck-up and convinces Ellen's evil (sometimes) stepmother and father to let her out of the house. Yup, Ellen's parents back down because they give them what they want...exercise (no, not the gym) in the form of quidditch. Elle This is How We Fly follows 17-year-old, Ellen, during her last summer before starting her freshman year at college. Ellen finds herself grounded because homegirl is at the ultimate level of snarky teenage 'tude. Have no fear, BFF Melissa is a brilliant magical unicorn of a suck-up and convinces Ellen's evil (sometimes) stepmother and father to let her out of the house. Yup, Ellen's parents back down because they give them what they want...exercise (no, not the gym) in the form of quidditch. Ellen and Melissa would describe them selves as quidditch-playing feminist dorks who read a lot of fanfic. Messy nerds who love drama. There's also Xiumiao, who is (ex?) BFF and MIA. Ready to move on from high school. I loved the Harry Potter nerd bonding and the snark made me LOL. This is How We Fly is a story of friendship, family, drama, ideological topics, and fighting for what you want. Thanks to Penguin Teen for an advanced copy!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tiffani Reads

    While I enjoyed this book I do not exactly understand how it is remotely a Cinderella retelling. In this book we follow Ellen who is vegan, a feminist, and an environmentalist. She is passionate about all three things to the point of confrontation with her step-mother constantly throughout the book. She does not have any evil stepsisters, nor is her father dead or has he left her with her step-mother. Throughout the story we see Ellen try and find herself during the summer between high school an While I enjoyed this book I do not exactly understand how it is remotely a Cinderella retelling. In this book we follow Ellen who is vegan, a feminist, and an environmentalist. She is passionate about all three things to the point of confrontation with her step-mother constantly throughout the book. She does not have any evil stepsisters, nor is her father dead or has he left her with her step-mother. Throughout the story we see Ellen try and find herself during the summer between high school and college. A period of time when friends change and people move away. She joins a Quidditch team with one of her high school friends to pass the time and ends up finding something she loves to do and people who she loves to be around. Her world changes though when she gets grounded and is forced to do her step-mothers bidding and cleaning chores. Overall, this book had some good discussions about feminism/environmentalism and how JKR has turned into a piece of trash. It also just shows a small slice of life and parts of what can be the real teenage experience. I know things around the Harry Potter world have become just a dumpster fire and I really tried to remove myself from that part of this book but because this book would still promote people to look into that world, I cannot recommend this book. I am not going to lower my rating because of this, I think that is unfair. This book is well written, discusses a lot of good topics, and has so very meaningful conversations in it. I just wish Ellen had joined literally any other sports team.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Beth Dettman

    I loved, loved, loved this book! I mean, quidditch!! So cool. If you haven't, you should google quidditch because it's very fun that it's been made into an actual sport. I did like the main character in the story, too. She really has a nice character arc as she learns about lots of different relationships and how to deal with change. I really appreciated the portrayal of the stepmother relationship. Ellen, the MC, has a pretty strained relationship with her stepmother, Connie. I experienced this I loved, loved, loved this book! I mean, quidditch!! So cool. If you haven't, you should google quidditch because it's very fun that it's been made into an actual sport. I did like the main character in the story, too. She really has a nice character arc as she learns about lots of different relationships and how to deal with change. I really appreciated the portrayal of the stepmother relationship. Ellen, the MC, has a pretty strained relationship with her stepmother, Connie. I experienced this relationship from the other side -- I am the stepmother. And, I'll tell you, being a stepmother is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I think the author did a really good job. I really appreciated what Connie says near the end, "I have to be the adult, and you get to be the kid. I'm sorry I forget that sometimes." I remember repeating that same mantra to myself several times. Anyway, great read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    mindful.librarian ☀️

    DNF on page 92 because I just can’t wrap my head around what Connie’s motivation could possibly be for making Ellen stay home all the time - Connie wants Ellen out of the house and away from her, but she makes her be around her all the time??? Also, it just seems super improbable that anyone would treat a recent HS grad like a 14 year old with grounding and such for no apparent reason (they don’t need her to babysit so why???) but who knows. And yes just call me the quitter queen because this is DNF on page 92 because I just can’t wrap my head around what Connie’s motivation could possibly be for making Ellen stay home all the time - Connie wants Ellen out of the house and away from her, but she makes her be around her all the time??? Also, it just seems super improbable that anyone would treat a recent HS grad like a 14 year old with grounding and such for no apparent reason (they don’t need her to babysit so why???) but who knows. And yes just call me the quitter queen because this is the third DNF for me today. That’s what I get for trying out all of my library books even when I’m not in the mood for them! I’m attempting to actually mark books DNF and why, so I don’t make the mistake of attempting to read them again, forgetting that I’ve already tried them!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus I love the authors Love Sugar Magic series, and my daughter who is a Hurry Potter fan would have loved this one. The Quidditch was fascinating, but it was the relationship with the stepmother that had me enthralled. Who throws away furniture? (Oh, right. Someone has to, because I get most of my furniture from their garbage!) A middle school Quidditch playing book would be a lot less angsty, and this did have some moments when it was uncomfortable to think about re E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus I love the authors Love Sugar Magic series, and my daughter who is a Hurry Potter fan would have loved this one. The Quidditch was fascinating, but it was the relationship with the stepmother that had me enthralled. Who throws away furniture? (Oh, right. Someone has to, because I get most of my furniture from their garbage!) A middle school Quidditch playing book would be a lot less angsty, and this did have some moments when it was uncomfortable to think about recommending this to a 12 year old. Still, should hit high school HP fans just right, and for New Adult literature was pretty tame.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jennie

    3.5 stars. After several years of J.K. Rowling just flaunting her flagrant bigotry in the face of the Harry Potter fandom and queer community, it was nice to read a story about fans for the fans that was very pro-trans, pro-inclusivity, and anti-bigotry. It was really fun diving into this world of Quidditch teams and delightful, nerdy kids. Always a slightly tough read for me personally when the parents in YA act more immaturely than the teenagers, but I will say that there is some resolution to 3.5 stars. After several years of J.K. Rowling just flaunting her flagrant bigotry in the face of the Harry Potter fandom and queer community, it was nice to read a story about fans for the fans that was very pro-trans, pro-inclusivity, and anti-bigotry. It was really fun diving into this world of Quidditch teams and delightful, nerdy kids. Always a slightly tough read for me personally when the parents in YA act more immaturely than the teenagers, but I will say that there is some resolution to that storyline so it's not terrible.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Collins

    This wasn't a perfect fit for me, but it was still a really great book! If you're looking for a book about complicated and messy teens - or, basically, a book about real teenagers - then definitely pick this up. There's a lot of diversity here, including gender, race, and sexuality. Ellen is totally confused and angry and just trying to find her way as she starts to find herself in Quidditch, and throughout the novel and a series of misunderstandings and confrontations, she grows up and grows in This wasn't a perfect fit for me, but it was still a really great book! If you're looking for a book about complicated and messy teens - or, basically, a book about real teenagers - then definitely pick this up. There's a lot of diversity here, including gender, race, and sexuality. Ellen is totally confused and angry and just trying to find her way as she starts to find herself in Quidditch, and throughout the novel and a series of misunderstandings and confrontations, she grows up and grows into herself.

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