post written by Esther Filbrun
Title: Flight School
Author: Jason McIntire
Major Themes: Homeschoolers, Family Living
Series: Sparrow Stories book 2
Synopsis: As a large homeschooled family grows up, will they be able to face and conquer the challenges life throws at them in a Godly way?
Right about the time Flight School launched, I remember looking through the reviews and thinking “I really want to read this book.” Having enjoyed the previous book in the series, The Sparrow Found a House, and a different title by another member of the family, The Reunion, I figured this would be good as well. I requested a review copy from the author not long after, and he graciously gave me one. Despite the fact that I didn’t like Sparrow as much on my second read-through as on my initial read of the book, I was delighted at the fact that I really enjoyed Flight School. Definitely bonus points there!
The Sparrow family has really grown over the last four-ish years. Not only in height and age, but also in diversity—each child is beginning to branch out into creating what they want in life, and while that phase is exciting it’s also a big adjustment for everyone. Chris decides he wants to get into filmmaking, Jessie is discovering more and more that she enjoys writing—and Katie? She’s got her own struggles, especially concerning how to react when she receives a lot of praise. Moe is developing his own set of skills (including raising parrots!), and Ben is trying to figure out whether he really wants to go into law or not. Throw in a few misunderstandings, dreams gone awry, trying to sort out what the Bible really means when it says things like “walk in the Spirit” and what it’s really like to be a Christian—not just talk like one—and you’ve got a very full summer with plenty of challenges for all.
Flight School is a very complex book in a lot of ways. It’s told from quite a few different points of view, and involves a very diverse set of characters (from several Amish-type characters to a very fearful Christian prepper—you’ll have to read the book to understand that one!). Simply from those two aspects, it not only makes it harder to sum the book up in a few words, but it also creates a book that feels quite complex and therefore could tend to be more appealing to some readers just because of that. I did find my reaction to the story interesting, though, in the fact that in some ways it felt almost too complex. There were so many strands that made up this book that it could have almost not tied together very well in the end. Thankfully, there was a satisfactory climax to the book, and the characters (and I!) learned quite a bit throughout the story, so in the end it was well worth reading. I’d highly recommend this book to anyone looking for good Christian fiction, and I think teenagers would enjoy it the most.
Note: There was one minor error near the beginning of the book, where the author described a Christian group as an offshoot of German Baptists when he meant Anabaptists. For most readers, this wouldn’t make a difference, but some might find that mention a little confusing. Also, I did receive a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for writing a review. I have shared my honest opinion.
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