BOOK REVIEWS

Flexible Wings Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2019-01-17 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 61 user ratings
ISBN:0996035710
LANGUAGE:English

"Flexible . . . Fearless . . . Focused.
Young Summer Stevenson learns the value of these words as she struggles to cope with the latest move imposed upon her by parents with careers in the military. This time the destination is Valencia, California, but little does Summer know her experience in Valencia will be completely different.
The rest of the Stevenson family, Mom, Dad, Summer’s little sister Emiko and Summer’s Grandmother Baachan, all seem to take change in stride, but Summer is yearning for what she thinks is a normal life with all the trappings: roots, friends she can keep, good local ice cream and a spot on the swim team. Author Veda Stamps opens the book with Summer struggling with the public perception of her parents serving their country as heroes, whereas the eleven year old Summer is quick to declare them derelict of duty – making time for her – especially when her Mother has to deploy unexpectedly. Grown children who have experienced the life of an “Army Brat” will be able to empathize with Summer.
Things are further complicated for Summer when she has difficulty making friends when the family first arrives. However, Summer’s parents are not completely insensitive, and they fulfill Summer’s wish of joining the local swim team where she has a chance to blossom. The details, training and action of swim competition are all captured here and make for exciting reading.
In addition to the Stevensons, the reader meets a cast of characters including locals and neighbors, along with the coaches and other members of the Stingrays swim team. None of them are throw-away or filler characters, as Stamps weaves her message artfully through each of Summer’s encounters. At one point, Summer has a nighttime swim session with Coach Julie wherein Summer learns that she has something in common with the coach, and that others are struggling with their own hurts as well. It is a beautifully written scene that brings Summer into focus. From there, the reader vicariously experiences the joy of Summer’s growing success.
Be prepared to laugh while reading Flexible Wings. Veda Stamps has a solid lock on pre-teen antics, jibes and angst and whereas Summer’s younger sister Emiko had this reader chuckling a few times, it is the feisty Baachan who steals the show. The hummingbird as a symbol is powerful, although one is left wondering about the further adventures of Disco the cat.
Flexible Wings is highly recommended for Middle Grade readers, and will also be enjoyed by adults who may be reading along with them. The book is filled with wholesome and meaningful lessons in “how to be.” Would that everyone should keep in mind Baachan’s wise words to “be still- the Universe has a way of correcting bad behavior and people.”
I received my review copy from the author. Receiving the complimentary copy did not influence this review.
WSRIII
" said.

"There were two things that piqued me about Flexible Wings by Veda Stamps. The first was the picture of the hummingbird on the cover. The second was the multi-racial background of the central character which seemed to promise a rich psychological experience, over and above what most children's books offer. It was gratifying to find that Summer, the protagonist, was just as fascinated by hummingbirds as me, and as wonderfully a complex character as I expected.
Not that this complexity will deter young readers from identifying with Summer. In fact, they will find it easy to relate to Summer and her life. A multi-racial child of military parents (African-American, Japanese and "other stuff"), she experiences frustration at having to move constantly, deals with mean kids and those who want to touch her hair, tries to excel as part of her swim team, and has very real relationships with her family. Any child, from any background will surely find something here that reflects the realities in their own life. I, as an adult, found myself connecting some aspects of Summer's life with my own childhood.

The writing is funny, empathetic, and light. I especially appreciate the grace with which the author is able to deal with complex issues like racial identity, PTSD, bullying etc, in a way that can be a conversation starter between children and their parents, without it making the narrative heavy or too serious for a children's book. There is just enough maturity in the writing and the characters for it to be a great reading experience.

FTC disclaimer: I received a e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for this honest review.
" said.

" Wonderful story about a young girl struggling to fit in after her military parents move from place to place. Will resonate with many young adults who feel out of place or unwelcome. " said.

" "Flexible Wings” is a heartwarming look at the lives of kids with parents in the military. The author does an excellent job of depicting eleven-year-old Summer’s frustration of once again having to move, having to make all new friends, trying to fit in—and deal with a parent’s deployment. The story is very well written, and an enjoyable read. It is a great book for kids, as well as adults, that struggle with finding their own inner strength. I highly recommend this book. " said.

" A simply-written book about a young girl and her family. Her parents have been deployed many times to the Middle East and the family has moved all over the world. She is at the age where these moves are beginning to disrupt her friendships and schooling. She joins a swimming team which does help her meet girls her own age. Lack depth, but the story does tell about how it is to have parents in the military. " said.

" Veda Stamps has such an effortless writing style, it was a pure pleasure to read this book! She draws wonderful characters that are both intriguing and realistic. I loved the evolution of the main character, Summer, throughout the story. The story itself is a sweet, coming-of-age tale. It's perfectly age appropriate for middle school students. I think they'll enjoy it and learn a few things along the way. I recommend it. " said.

"Summer is a 11 year old who because her parents are serving in the military keeps moving. Her latest move brings her to a new town and brings her new hope. Her father is no longer serving and her mother only has 6 months left in service.
Summer finds it hard to make new friends but is excited to learn her parents sign her up to a swim team, but as it turns out shes not a good swimmer.
I had moments of crying, even in public (thanks for that) and laughing. I really enjoyed the writing style and the story stayed with me even after I was done. I need some more of Summer she is one character that you are more then willing to fall in love with.
" said.

"FLEXIBLE WINGS by Veda Stamps is told from the alternately hopeful and angst-ridden point of view of Summer, a biracial pre-teen who struggles with her transient "military brat" lifestyle. After moving from Berkeley to Valencia, California, Summer joins the local swim team in search of personal fulfillment and a sense of belonging. Just as she begins to settle into her new reality, Summer faces challenges that test her ability to handle adversity with grace and maturity.

Stamps delivers a beautifully truthful and engaging coming-of-age story. The cast of characters includes a good-hearted, relatable heroine, an adoring (and adorable) little sister, an insightful and sassy bachaan (aka grandma) and parents who, sometimes, treat their daughter more like a soldier than a confused, scared young girl.

An entertaining and satisfying read for both young readers and adults.

*Note: The voice actor, Natalie Hoyt, who narrated the audiobook was wonderful!
" said.

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