Author: Wendy Mills
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
My Rating: ☆☆☆☆
In this heart-wrenching story of love and loss, a teen grapples with a medical question that could change everything.
Erin Bailey's life changes forever the day her mom is diagnosed with breast cancer. It's always been just Erin and Mom, so living without her is not an option. Life takes another turn when the cancer is linked to a rare genetic mutation, and Erin must choose whether or not to have her own DNA tested. Her only escape outlets are a new friend she met in an online support group and flying lessons, where looking to the horizon calms her deepest fears. But when a flash decision has Erin flying away to find her friend, she embarks on a journey to new love and a better understanding of the true meaning of beauty.
This thought-provoking story brings readers to the emotional brink and back again as they experience Erin's fear, her frustration, and ultimately . . . her freedom.
Character Interview: Erin Bailey
1. What’s your favorite academic subject in school and why?
I’ve always been pretty good at school, but if my physics book got sucked into a black hole, you wouldn’t see me crying. My favorite subject would be English, because I’ve always loved books. Mostly the old ones, like Jane Eyre and Anne of Green Gables, I guess because there’s none of the normal teenage BS in them. Lately, I’ve been thinking I might like to write. I got into this advanced writing class this year, and at first it scared me, because I had NO idea what I would write about, or why anyone would want to hear what I have to say, but now that I’m doing it…it makes me feel kind of powerful.
2. What’s the best thing about growing up with just a mom?
My dad died when I was six, so it’s not like I remember a whole lot about having two parents. But growing up with just a mom... In some ways it’s bad because she doesn’t have anybody else, so she's really focused on me. She's kind of serious; well, she’s had a lot of really bad things happen to her. I mean, my dad died, and Memaw, and I can’t even imagine. I mean, I really can’t imagine. But I know I talk to her way more than Trina talks to her mom, and we’ve always been pretty honest with each other. I suppose I don’t have a whole lot to hide from her, and thinking about it, that’s pretty sad, isn't it? I mean, I’m sixteen years old. I should have a LIFE.
3. Did you ever feel bad about not having siblings or where you okay with being an only child?
Trina’s been like my sister as long as I can remember, so I really never missed one. I guess if I didn’t have her, it would be nice to have a sister, but sisters seem to fight a lot. Trina and I almost never fight, so I think I’m good. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to have a brother. I mean, what in the world would Mom and I do with a boy? Take him for manis and pedis with us? Yeah, no, I think we’re better off with just the two of us.
4. If you could fly anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I’ve never flown anywhere commercially, because Mom hates flying, even though my dad was like this National Champion aviator. Come to think of it, I’m not entirely sure Mom’s even been out of Georgia?? I don’t know. But if I could go anywhere, I think I’d like to go to England and see a castle. Or the pyramids. Just…anywhere.
5. What’s your favorite part about flying?
I haven’t flown since I was six, and that was in a small plane with my dad. He used to take me up and we would do loop-de-loops and it kind of scares me thinking about it now, but I loved it when I was a kid. It was just him and me and all that sky. But now? It would take an act of Congress to get Mom to agree to me going back up in a small plane. Back then, though...it was awesome. I hadn’t really thought about it in a long time, but I was pretty fearless at six.
6. What are some of your favorite knick-knacks?
On my dresser right now:
A picture of my dad standing by his plane, his hair blowing crazy in the wind and a big, goofy smile on his face. I’m not in the picture, but the windows are kind of shadowed, and I like to think there’s a six-year-old Erin waiting in the plane for him to take her up.
A ratty, torn Valentine Trina made me when we were both seven. You can tell a little kid made it—she’s got us swinging side by side— but even then Trina was way more artsy than most kids. She’s got us both shaded with like fifteen different colors each. She’s mostly yellows and oranges, and I’m dark blues and greens.
A cross-stitch in a frame. The picture is a green frog rubbing his butt saying, "Does a frog bump his butt?" It was Memaw's present to me her last Christmas.
Tick-tock, a little stuffed panda from Zoo Atlanta my mom bought me when I was a kid. I used to sleep with it all the time, but now it just kind of watches me from my dresser. Okay, yes, sometimes when I’m having a real bad night, I still sleep with him.
7. What’s your favorite thing about your mom?
I’m not going to try to say she doesn’t get on my nerves sometimes. Let me think. Well, she makes me these pancakes that are supposed to look like hearts. Once when I was six or seven I told her I loved them and she keeps making them for me, even though she hates to cook and they never look like hearts. More like syrupy Rorschach blobs. She loves corny 80's movies, and really, most of them are pretty bad (I mean, really? What’s with the hair, Molly?). But I’ll make microwave popcorn and we'll sit and watch and laugh until our faces hurt. And… she comes into my room when she thinks I’m asleep and sits on the bed and sort of hums while she brushes my hair off my face. I’ve always wondered what she is thinking about when she does that.
About Wendy Mills
Wendy Mills was born in Virginia and spent several years in North Carolina, but now lives with her family on the tropical island of Bokeelia, off the south-west coast of Florida where she spends her time writing and dodging hurricanes. She has published adult mysteries with Poisoned Pen Press, and Positively Beautiful is her first young adult novel. Visit her online at www.wendymillsbooks.com or on Twitter @WendyMillsBooks
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