Full Flight by Ashley Schumacher
Published February 15th 2022 by Thomas Nelson
Date read: February 2, 2022
Buy it on Bookshop.org | Amazon
The Plot (from Goodreads):
Everyone else in the tiny town of Enfield, Texas calls fall football season, but for the forty-three members of the Fighting Enfield Marching Band, it’s contest season. And for new saxophonist Anna James, it’s her first chance to prove herself as the great musician she’s trying hard to be.
When she’s assigned a duet with mellophone player Weston Ryan, the boy her small-minded town thinks of as nothing but trouble, she’s equal parts thrilled and intimidated. But as he helps her with the duet, and she sees the smile he seems to save just for her, she can’t help but feel like she’s helping him with something too.
After her strict parents find out she’s been secretly seeing him and keep them apart, together they learn what it truly means to fight for something they love. With the marching contest nearing, and the two falling hard for one another, the unthinkable happens, and Anna is left grappling for a way forward without Weston.
I absolutely adored Amelia Unabridged, so I was extremely excited to see Ashley’s new book show up on NetGalley. I didn’t listen right away, because I knew I’d need a box of tissues and that I should listen to it in the privacy of my apartment, if it was going to be anything like her previous book.
Unfortunately, I waited too long and the book was accidentally spoiled for me, so I knew exactly what happened and when. It definitely took away a lot of the shock value that seemed to make this book what it was for other readers.
The story was enjoyable overall, but I think it would have had a bigger impact had it not been spoiled.
I wasn’t expecting this book to get quite so religious. Purity talk is something that needs to show up in content warnings. While talking to a friend, I compared Full Flight to Never Saw You Coming. They both had the same amount of religious/purity talk, but in Never Saw You Coming the MC was able to address how purity culture had damaged her and she was able to overcome it. In Full Flight, the religious trauma was mentioned and then kind of brushed under the rug. I don’t think the religious angle added anything to the story. If Anna had addressed it and had some character growth about realizing that sex is normal and healthy, it probably wouldn’t have stood out so much to me.
I wouldn’t recommend this to any teen with religious trauma or raised in purity culture. The messages are likely to harm more than help.
Anna has a contentious relationship with her little sister. My favorite scene of the whole book was when her sister helped initiate a conversation between Weston and Anna’s disapproving parents, so that they could see that Weston wasn’t like the rumors. I would have loved to see more between Anna and her sister–especially for them to repair their relationship and get closer.
My last thought is spoiler-related, so if you’ve read Full Flight and want to read this paragraph, head to the blog. I would have liked to see more of the “after”: how Anna dealt with and moved on from Weston’s death. Since religion played such a big part in the sex scenes, I was surprised it wasn’t applied to tragedy as well. Weston died at about 85% of the way into the audiobook, so there was a LOT of buildup and not many scenes after the climax.
I’m glad I had an audio copy, since I was able to bump it up to 3x and fly through. Thank you to the narrators for clear diction! I enjoyed the audio production and would give it five stars.
This feels like a lot of criticism compared to my normal reviews. I love Ashley’s style of writing, so I will definitely be back for more from her.
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