A review by heykellyjensen
Taking Off, by Jenny Moss


This one's not a solid 3 star for me, but it was close enough.

I liked TAKING OFF quite a bit. Annie reminds me a lot of who I was at 18 and a senior in high school, right down to debating whether or not I wanted to go to college because I wanted to read and write poetry instead. It was a little eerie, even. Maybe what's sort of funnier is that I think a lot of what Annie's struggling with here is stuff I still think about a lot.

However, I've a few things that didn't quite work for me, including the fact that I don't believe there was enough of a relationship between Annie and Christa to make everything Annie comes to believe/discover/be inspired feel authentic. She and Christa met at a dinner party hosted by Annie's friend, but that was her only real connection to her. There was opportunity to expand this a little more in the front of the story, and had it been, this would have been a little more of a knock out for me. I wanted more of Annie's internal thoughts on why she connected so much to Christa near immediately. Annie really became enamored with her and her story. I wish she'd told me a little more why.

The other thing I didn't find completely compelling was Annie's relationship with her boyfriend and then with Tommy. It was sort of a strange thing that her father would bring a boy who was older than her on their trip to Florida and kind of let them have their time together. It's all innocent but it was sort of strange. It didn't feel like something Annie would let happen, the developing of a romance between them. I guess this comes down to wanting more out of Annie as a character. I think this is a rare instance I could have done with MORE of the romantic story line.

Annie's parental relationships a little odd. I'm fixated and fascinated by divorced parents, especially in ya lit, and this felt like a strangely calm relationship between her and her mother and her and her father, as well as with her parents between themselves. Even when mom becomes engaged again, there's little to it. I'm demanding, maybe, but I could have used a little more there.

My issues come down to tension and character. I wanted more of both. The story was there, and I found this slice of history to be completely engaging. When the shuttle launches, I held my breath because I knew what was coming and knew it was going to be devastating. The book worked because the historical event is a launch pad to a story, and it's here. I'd just have liked a little more.

But oh Annie. Man. I can't get over how similarly-minded I was to her at that age. It's always bizarre to read a book like that.

I may write an even longer review of this. Imagine!