Full Flight by Ashley Schumacher

"My whole world is quiet in the spaces between her words. Even the sound of the crickets and cicadas fades away. There is only Anna. There is only us."

FULL FLIGHT

Everyone else in the tiny town of Enfield, Texas calls fall football season, but for the forty-three members of the Fighting Enfield Marching Band, it’s contest season. And for new saxophonist Anna James, it’s her first chance to prove herself as the great musician she’s trying hard to be.

When she’s assigned a duet with mellophone player Weston Ryan, the boy her small-minded town thinks of as nothing but trouble, she’s equal parts thrilled and intimidated. But as he helps her with the duet, and she sees the smile he seems to save just for her, she can’t help but feel like she’s helping him with something too.

After her strict parents find out she’s been secretly seeing him and keep them apart, together they learn what it truly means to fight for something they love. With the marching contest nearing, and the two falling hard for one another, the unthinkable happens, and Anna is left grappling for a way forward without Weston.

What I thought

I haven't read Schumacher's debut Amelia Unabridged, but had heard wonderful things about Ashley and her incredible writing talents, which led me to her latest novel, Full Flight.

The first thing I noticed about this book was the beautiful cover, designed by Art Director Kerri Resnick. What lays beyond the cover is a breathtaking story of two high school band members named Anna James and Weston Ryan, who the reader will feel an instant connection to through the power of Schumacher's beautifully poetic and captivating prose.

Ashley writes with pure emotion, pouring her heart and soul into the story and her main characters right from the get go. Strong themes of relationships, love, loss, and grief form the foundations of this one, but there are also many uplifting moments that will carry readers through to the end.

The alternating perspectives where we readers hear things from both Anna and Weston's points of view added depth, and I loved that we got the chance to experience what was going on internally for each of the protagonists as they developed throughout the book, and their love for one another became more realistic and palpable.

An example of Ashley's magnetic and moving prose that resonated with me, one of the many parts of the book I highlighted:

"When I am old, with gray hair and aching joints, I want to remember the way the pavement cracks felt beneath my shoes when I walked next to the tall boy, the one with blond hair that grows alarmingly fast, blue eyes that really see me, and a smile that was wicked fast when I said I was a writer. I want to remember how I shivered when he whispered in my ear."

Overall, this was a gorgeous, layered, and impactful young adult novel. What a memorable story, and what a talented writer Schumacher is. I look forward to what the future holds for her. My thanks to Wednesday Books, St Martin's Press, and the author for my advanced reader's copy in exchange for this review.

Courtesy of GoodReads

Ashley Schumacher is a YA author with a degree in creative writing from the University of North Texas. She lives in a small town with her antisocial but lovable husband and more books than is strictly necessary. When she’s not reading or writing, you can find her belting Disney or Broadway songs, protecting her snacks from her greedy golden retriever, hand embroidering, or playing Mario Kart. She lives in Dallas, Texas.

Full Flight is available in hardcover format from Indigo or in e-book format from Kobo. Check GoodReads for additional retailers.

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