Title: On Little Wings
Author: Regina Sirois
Publisher: Self Published
Pages: 361 Paperback
Source: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review
My Rating: 5/5 stars
This is a story of the countless ways we get love wrong. And why, despite every disappointment, we keep fighting to get it right.
Jennifer must do the impossible – bring her mother home. When a family is torn apart by death, two sisters take violently divergent paths and the story of their family appears to end terribly and abruptly. Two decades later Jennifer never dreams that the photo she finds stuck between the pages of a neglected book will tear open a gaping wound to her mother’s secret past. Abandoning her comfortable life with her parents and best friend in the wheat fields of Nebraska, Jennifer’s quest for a hidden aunt leads her to the untamed coast of Maine where she struggles to understand why her mother lied to her for sixteen years.
Across the grey, rocky cove she meets Nathan Moore, the young, reluctant genius surrounded by women who need him to be brother, father, friend, provider, protector and now, first love. The stories, varied, hilarious, and heartbreaking, unfold to paint a striking mural of the shattered past. As Jennifer seeks to piece together her mother’s story, she inadvertently writes one for herself.
You guys, I love this book so hard core! It knocked me right off my feet with its unique voice, real emotions, genuine relationships between characters, and a ton more! In many ways it reminded me of a Sarah Dessen novel combined with the raw emotions seen in Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal, and then finally mixed with all the family drama that is included in Squalor, New Mexico by Lisette Brody. So yes this book reminded me of all three of these BUT it also stuck out in its own way. Regina managed to take every single thing I loved about Sarah, Lorraine, and Lisette’s books and then added more to it.
Jennifer’s life changes drastically when she finds a photo of a girl (taken several years earlier) that looks just like her. Digging further and further into the mystery surrounding the photo, Jennifer soon finds herself at her estranged Aunt Sarah’s house, in a small beach town, states away (despite the many attempts from her mom to keep her home). The journey that Jennifer embarks on means major changes for not only her, but her mom, her Aunt Sarah, and few others as well. I love that this book is primarily about how Jennifer grows as a person, but we are also able to see a HUGE change in many of the secondary characters.
Jennifer’s character was so easy for me to relate to! She may be an only child and a whole lot quieter and more timid than I can ever imagine being but she was an old soul much like myself. She seemed like a real teenager with real teenager-ish thoughts running through her head yet she made relatively level-headed decisions like someone so wise beyond her years. She was just such a great mix of shy, vulnerable, determined, and sweet. All the experiences that Jennifer goes through do not take away from these already great characteristics; instead they make her stronger, braver, and even wiser.
The story was going beautifully from the beginning, but it was really when Jennifer went to visit her aunt that it truly started for me. Meeting Aunt Sarah and her neighbor Nathan as well as some of the town’s people just added so much to the story. Aunt Sarah is exactly the type of person you would want for an aunt. She is a great friend when you need it and a motherly figure when you may not think you need it but actually do. She so clearly loves Jennifer and her mom, Claire, regardless of how painful the years of distance have been. The connection between Jennifer and her aunt proved to be a strong one, even if it was their first time meeting. Also, the relationship between Sarah and Claire is complicated at best. We get to learn all about their falling out and let me just say, it had me rooting for the both of them. You were able to see how much hurt they caused each other but also how much they missed one another, I just couldn’t wait for them to reconcile.
Nathan, Sarah’s neighbor, student, and Jennifer’s primary love interest in the story was so complex yet so great. He is really freaking smart, like genius status, so that kind of makes him socially awkward. He is cute, quiet, and so observant of everyone and everything around him. He may not say a whole lot but when he does, it makes it that much more important. Through their (Nathan, Sarah, and Jennifer) nightly reading sessions, we were able to see more of who Nathan really was. Even though things may seem relatively easy for him, he actually has way more responsibility than any teen should. Taking care of his younger sisters takes a lot of his time and energy and as much as he would like to dedicate some of that time towards Jennifer, it is just hard. Their relationship did not form into much more than a very close friendship but there was definitely something simmering beneath the surface. Throughout a lot of the story, they are both going through so much, and have yet to learn quite a few things that I really found their situation believable. Sometimes you can meet a super fabulous person, it just may not be the perfect timing. I love that the story was not all rainbows and unicorns, yet it left room to believe in a happy future for the two.
The town of which Jennifer is visiting could be a character in and of itself. I could so vividly picture whatever it was that Jennifer was seeing. From the houses to the smell of salt water in the air and even the boaters heading out to fish, it seemed so real and tangible. The quirky towns people like Little and The Jacks caused for some great laughs through this story as well. Regina’s writing was so wonderfully descriptive even when it came to the smaller details.
This story is full of all things beautiful. The characters shined so bright in this story, the relationships between them all seemed so genuine, I LOVED Regina’s attention to detail throughout the whole story, and more than anything, I love the paths the characters go down through this book. There are so many positive things I can say about this book but instead I’ll leave you with, On Little Wings surprised the heck out of me and I just know you guys will love it too!