Review: Blackbird Flies by Chynna T. Laird

Blackbird Flies by Chynna T. Laird

Release Date: April, 2011
Publisher: Astraea Press

Source: provided by author for review

Fifteen year-old Payton MacGregor is a musical prodigy. To him, though, his music is merely a way for him to escape from the chaos that surrounds him. All of his life, he’s had to care for his mother, who copes with her bipolar disorder with booze instead of turning to her own musical talents. He refuses to become a statistic. Then he’s thrown a curve ball.

His mother suddenly dies, leaving him to be cared for by his aging grandparents. As much as they love him, they decide to send him halfway across Canada to live with his father, Liam’s the man Payton always believed abandoned him and his mother. Payton isn’t making the relocation easy on anyone until he finds out he’s going to attend the prestigious School of the Arts for musically gifted youth. Any second thoughts he has about his new life are erased when he meets Lily Joplin. Their connection is instantaneous.

Lily is a talented singer, but her struggles with drugs and bipolar disorder hit too close to home for Payton’s comfort. And when her issues become all-consuming, he wonders if his music will be enough to carry him through.

Review: Fifteen year old Payton MacGregor finds himself on a train bound from Winnipeg to Edmonton with no idea how things are going to turn out. Since the death of his mother, he’d been living with his elderly grandparents. Out of the blue, they present him with a train ticket and an opportunity to meet with the man he thought had abandon him when he was a baby.

When he gets to Edmonton, he find out nothing is what he thinks. He finds he is most definitely his father’s son, that he has 2 small siblings and a stepmother who are very excited to see him and that his grandparents didn’t just send him here for an extended visit, but to live there permanently to attend a prestigious music school.

Although Payton’s reluctant, especially given all the change he’s encountered, he agrees to attend the school. Almost immediately, he meets Lily Jordan. She’s vivacious and incredibly talented, but Payton finds out quickly that she also suffers from bipolar, which also afflicted his mother.

While Lily heads on a downward spiral, Payton tells her he’s there for here and will be the shoulders that help her through the rough times. Unfortunately, Lily can’t fight her demons and no matter how hard it is, Payton tells her he can’t be the person she turns to if she’s going to continue the way she is.

The story started out slow and I wasn’t sure where this was going, but half way through it picked up steam. I was completely caught off guard at the end and was reaching for the Kleenex at what transpired with Daliah (Payton’s sister), Lily and Payton. It was heartbreaking, as you can tell Payton has been through so much.

A great read and one that will definitely have you drying your eyes.


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