Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 10 to 14
- Grade: 5 to 9
- Reading age: 10 to 14
A novel in free verse about a middle schooler who discovers he's not the only one grappling with the imperfections of the world.
In this powerful novel in free verse, Felix Landon Yarrow (F.L.Y., or “Fly”), a fourteen-year-old boy with cerebral palsy, is captivated by the noble, chivalrous ideals of knighthood. So when he fears that a school villain, Carter, poses a danger to his lady love, Daria, he knows rescuing her must be his quest. Using his wits and his own unique powers, he constructs an elaborate plot meant to culminate with him on his wheeled “trusty steed” triumphantly conquering his enemy and saving his “damsel in distress.” Alas, for this brave knight, as for most middle schoolers, plans often have a way of going awry.
Alison Hughes has crafted a moving and unflinching story of courage, connection and self-discovery. In the spare first-person narrative, Felix's witty, often sarcastic and self-aware voice matter-of-factly reveals how it feels to be the kid in the wheelchair. Felix is a fully realized, funny character who defies labels, and who learns and grows as the story unfolds. For reluctant and avid readers alike, this book is a potent vehicle for engaging young people with a unique perspective and for encouraging empathy. It's an excellent choice to showcase the power of poetry and, in particular, novels in verse. It provides character education lessons in respect, courage and kindness.
About the author
Alison Hughes is the author of eighteen books for children and young adults, including the YA novel Hit the Ground Running, which was a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Awards and a Junior Library Guild selection. Her books have also been nominated nine times for provincial children's choice awards, among other honors. She enjoys giving writing workshops and presentations at schools, libraries, conferences and festivals. She also works as a writing advisor and editor for the University of Alberta.