Reviews

Almost Flying by Jake Maia Arlow

roselaina's review

Go to review page

4.0

 This was so flipping cute. Also, I want to go on all the roller coasters now. 

stenaros's review

Go to review page

3.0

Feelings about rollercoasters are great for expressing feelings about a father's sudden relationship, feelings about friendship, and feelings about crushes.

However, I feel like the main character was transported from the 1980s to a contemporary setting. Surely Long Island would have had enough gay people that she would have a vocabulary to pull from.

Read for Librarian Book Group

barbaragorgon's review

Go to review page

4.0

As an adult, you really have to suspend a LOT of disbelief for this premise to work. The parents of two 13-year-olds let them go on a road trip piloted by two college freshmen they don't know? Let's just call it unlikely. However, if you're able to get past that, the story beneath is pretty sweet and fits right into the current swath of LGBTQ+ middle grade. I read the author's forthcoming YA book, [b:How to Excavate a Heart|55348105|How to Excavate a Heart|Jake Maia Arlow|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1643840270l/55348105._SY75_.jpg|86316194], earlier this year, and the author's unique voice is present in both even as it's tailored to each audience. I also liked this book as someone who has been to nearly all the parks mentioned; the research was real on this one.

emily_mh's review

Go to review page

emotional funny hopeful lighthearted slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.5

There were four things I liked about this book, and one major thing I didn’t like. Let’s start with the positive stuff: 
  1. The rollercoasters! I thought it was so interesting to learn about them, like the specific terminology. I also enjoyed looking up the POV rides that Dalia & Co. went on.
  2. Dalia’s narrative voice. It was funny and made me feel all the emotions that she was.
  3. The queerness! I loved watching Dalia’s self-discovery journey and the shyness, caution, and innocence of Dalia and Rani’s connection. The older queer kids helping the younger ones and showing them what queer joy and found family looked like made my heart so warm, as did the beauty of Alexa and Sara’s relationship.
  4. Seeing Dalia and Alexa becoming sisters, although I think this conflict could have been paced better.

Which brings me onto my major issue with this book, which is that I didn’t actually enjoy reading it that much. I found myself feeling bored at times and just wanted to be done with it. I think this comes down to the pacing generally: the road trip didn’t provide enough plot to keep me hooked and the story felt it kind of bloated, like it shouldn’t have been over 300 pages.
 

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

haven_reads's review

Go to review page

emotional medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.25

wheelygoodreads's review

Go to review page

5.0

Okay, this book was SO F*CKING CUTE! I don't often read middle grade books, but this one caught my eye and I'm so glad I read it! It made me smile so much and my heart feels so full!

bcat0124's review

Go to review page

emotional funny hopeful informative lighthearted reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

emmaward55's review

Go to review page

Finished this right before my shift at work so I don’t have much time, but omg what an AMAZING book!!! Full review coming soon 🥰

***

I absolutely adored this book!!! From the characterization of our main squad to the pure joy and love embedded in the entirety of the novel, there are so many things to enjoy. 

As a lesbian with parents who divorced and remarried (both to spouses with older kids), I really related to everything Dalia was going through. The theme of an evolving and expanding family is masterfully handled and captures the real feelings of being a child with no control over major changes happening in your life. As a reader we're always on Dalia's side and there was never a moment where I felt like she was being too childish or unfair to her family. 

Relationships are key to this book and for once the sapphic romance was my second favourite bond in the book! Everything that Dalia and Alexa go through made me love them both immensely. Them developing a sisterly relationship and encouraging each other to stand up to their respective parents was so rewarding. Additionally, Dalia's bond with every member of the road trip crew is unique and fascinating in their own ways. It would have been so easy for Arlow to just focus on the romantic relationship, or the sisterly relationship, but the friendships with Dhruv and Sara were equally satisfying. 

TL;DR I legit can't think of any faults for this book. The pacing was great, the details about the parks and coasters were interesting, and I wanted to adopt or befriend all the characters (except the parents lmao). Arlow is a fantastic writer and I'll be looking out for more titles from them in the future!

This book would be ideal for young sapphic girls, kids experiencing their first love, children of divorce / remarried parents, or anyone who wants an all-queer roller coaster road trip!

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

tattedlibrarian's review

Go to review page

5.0

Great middle grade novel! It deals with LGBTQ+ life in a meaningful way. Fun and fast read.

hayleeperry's review

Go to review page

4.0

Alexa felt really unrealistic as a character, but I guess the end explained why she acted the way she did??? Dalia and Rani were super cute though!!