A review by claudiaslibrarycard
Almost Flying by Jake Maia Arlow

adventurous challenging emotional hopeful lighthearted medium-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


Are you looking for a middle grades book about finding yourself, found family, handling major life changes, and discovering queer identity? This book does all of that perfectly in a way that honors the seriousness of each topic while also staying fun and uplifting. 

Our main character Dalia is twelve, her parents are recently divorced, she's lost her best friend, and she's obsessed with rollercoaster... videos. But she's never ridden a rollercoaster. When her dad springs some big news on her in a less than ideal way, Dalia sets off on a trip that she is dreading for the company but gleeful about because she will finally ride her first rollercoaster. Armed with a new friend, Dalia gets brave and tries new things all around- not just at theme parks. She explores her own identity with the deft help of some older teens who have walked the same path. 

This is a new favorite middle grades for me because it is just so fun and loveable. I especially love that the author emphasizes the family that we chose, and calls out bad behavior from adults that Dalia should be able to trust. Add this one to your list or get it for a young person in your life.