We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
A Rapid Review
From the beloved New York Times bestselling author of The Language of Flowers comes her much-anticipated new novel about young love, hard choices, and hope against all odds.
Letty Espinosa never thought she would be a pregnant teenager. That only happened to other girls. But when it happened to her, she was unprepared to cope with it, relying instead on her mother for help and never even telling her boyfriend the truth. Years later, when Letty’s parents move back to Mexico, she needs to grow up quickly and become a responsible mother to her children who are now fifteen and six years old.
The author presented many of today’s social issues – pregnant teens, single motherhood, bullying, illegal immigration, undocumented children, and even climate change (via son Alex’s science project) – and wrapped them into an interesting, but not very believable, story. I thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful, descriptive writing, but not the characters themselves. A son like Alex is almost too good to be true for an irresponsible, neglectful mother like Letty. And the young daughter, Luna, was over-the-top annoying.
What I did find enjoyable was the symbolism of birds and feathers woven throughout the story, and Alex’s fascination with his grandfather’s collection of feathers reaching back 30 years.
I read this in audio and print. The narration was beautifully performed by Emma Bering and Robbie Daymond. With pleasant voices and smooth pacing, they moved the story along and kept me interested. This would be a good choice for those who are new to audio or usually choose print – the production is nicely done and the story is easy to follow. [Audio Sample on SoundCloud.]
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
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