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On Little Wings by Regina Sirois
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On Little Wings

by Regina Sirois

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964181,513 (3.92)3

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Claire and her sister Sarah have not seen each other in 20 years. Claire left home at 17, so angry with Sarah that when he own daughter, Jennifer, came along, she was told that her mother was an only child. This is what has happened before the book begins.

Jennifer is telling the story. On Little Wings opens with her discovery, through a found photograph, that her mother had a sister.

In time, Jennifer goes from her home in Nebraska, to the town in Maine where her mother grew up, so she can meet and visit with her newly discovered aunt. The bulk of the book takes place over a few weeks in the summer, while visiting in Maine.

A little odd for a teen novel, that ultimately, the story is about Sarah and Claire, more than it is about Jennifer. Jennifer is telling the story, so far more words are devoted to her story, but real meat of the book is in the story of the sisters, how and why Claire left home, how Sarah managed alone, and the emotional last few chapters of the book.

In between, we get the obligatory first love story. Personally, I found that the weakest aspect of the novel. Nathan didn't seem to have sufficient appeal to attract Jennifer as strongly as he did. But then, I'm an adult man, clearly out the intended audience range, so what do I know about a 16 year old girl's first love?

The title was perfect - it's meaning becoming apparent when we first meet the aging movie star early in the book, and far more apparent at the conclusion.

The cover art, while beautifully designed, is wrong for the novel. If the girl on the cover is Jennifer, as I would assume, the white dress is completely wrong.

(One minor quibble: In the beginning of the book, Sirois devotes about four or five pages to describing how Jennifer's best friend in Nebraska, Cleo, was the ugliest girl ever as a child, but over the years became the prettiest girl in town. But Cleo is a third tier character, barely mentioned after Jennifer goes to Maine, and her ugliness or beauty was completely irrelevant in every way to the novel. Seems like her editor should have suggested taking that bit out.) ( )
  fingerpost | Sep 10, 2016 |
2012,read in 2012 ( )
  limerts | Jun 6, 2012 |
For chick lit, this was a little jewel! Set in a small seaside community in Maine (hooked me right there!), a teen girl goes to find the family and the secret from which her mother fled long ago. Staying with her Aunt Sarah, Jennifer gradually learns about her extended family, their friends and neighbors, all of whom seem to have a piece of the puzzle for her to put together. The author’s characters were interesting, the old coots in town, the elderly neighbor, on whom everything seemed to turn, the dysfunctional family nearby, everyone with a different last name. As Jennifer joins in her aunt’s routine for a nightly game of short “readings” with a neighbor, the reader is treated to snippets from many famous writers. “There are no rules. We each pick a line or passage out of something we read that day – be it cereal box or Shakespeare – and recite it to each other.”

The setting was beautifully written, the story sweet. The prose was fresh and sunny, like enjoying an apple on the beach.

’My feet shuffled carefully until my toes, peeking out from my sandals, kissed the cold, moving water. … I threw a self-conscious glance over my shoulder and, reassured in my absolute solitude, I whispered to the water, “I’m Jennifer.” I closed my eyes to hear her answer. The gentle hissing of the pushing water pervaded the air. A bird called from the forest, but other than my voice and the short conversations singing through the trees, the ocean hummed her lullaby by herself. The sounds felt so tangible that I kept my eyes closed for a long time, letting the sunlight make shimmering patterns on the inside of my eyelids. … ”You never get used to her.” Sarah commented in awe. “She flattens our houses, sinks our ships, wears out our men, and still, we wake up just to look at her.”’

A surprising little jewel, I say. 3.7 stars ( )
1 vote countrylife | May 4, 2012 |
To begin with make sure your calendar is clear before you open this book – that’s how great it is. Jennifer is charged with a horrible task for a teenager – finding out secrets kept far too long. She finds a photo of an Aunt she didn’t know about. When asking the parents who it was her mom said she didn’t know at the same time her dad said “your Aunt.” Teenagers don’t forgive lies – I know, I was one once upon a time.
Armed with her best friend, Cleo, Jennifer begins a search for Sarah someone her mother dislikes intensely which, of course, makes Sarah all the more findable. And find her they do in a small town in Maine called Smithport. She is happy to hear from Jennifer and invites her up for the summer. Will mom let her go? Yes but unhappily.
In Maine she gets to know her Aunt Sarah and others: there is a boy named Nathan, an extremely gifted student and his family geniuses all. Little Fairborn,a caustic old grump who has Jennifer’s best interests in mind even though some don’t agree.
Little had a plan. Maybe. If Jennifer has the guts to pull it off. You’ll have to read this extraordinary story to see and, after you’ve met all the players; you may want to read it again. Just in case you missed something the first time around. What a wonderful visit to Maine, Nebraska and ports between! ( )
  macygma | Feb 19, 2012 |
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The DNA of mice and humans is 98% identical.
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“Have you ever seen the ocean?”
“Yes,” I answered . . . “We went to San Diego when I was ten.?
Sarah wrinkled her nose in distaste. “I mean our ocean. The Northern Atlantic.” The way she said it one would think that all other oceans were second class citizens in the kingdom of Poseidon.
I felt the Past push against the car window, its hands thrust to the thin glass, waiting to clasp me the moment I exited. I would meet ghosts here. Not the kind that haunt and wail, but the ones that make you remember. The very air seemed to be a memory. I could never explain it, but I felt it in the tiny bumps of raised flesh on my arms.
“It is so beautiful,” I said at last. The words Truth is Beauty, and Beauty Truth leaped into my mind.
"You never get used to her.” Sarah commented in awe. “She flattens our houses, sinks our ships, wears out our men, and still, we wake up just to look at her.”
Because sometimes you gotta look under the bed to see that there’s no monster.
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Sixteen-year-old Jennifer travels to Smithport, Maine, to learn about the family her mother has kept a secret.

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