Why We Fly by Kimberly Jones & Gilly Segal | Book Review

Why We Fly by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal was a book that was REALLY easy to sell me on reading. You see, when a book combines themes of sports and activism, I am absolutely on board to pick it up. And so, I was really excited to read Why We Fly and fall into the dual narratives of Chanel and Eleanor. As it turns out, this book didn’t quite hit as much as I had wanted it to.

Why We Fly opens summer before senior year. Eleanor or Lenie as she is referred to in the book is going through physical therapy after suffering two concussions while cheerleading. She is hoping to be cleared to come back to the team after being sidelined for a year. While in physical therapy she meets Three, the quarterback, in the parking lot and the two form a romantic relationship. Chanel, or Nelly, as she is referred to is spending her summer at an elite cheer camp. Nelly is driven and a natural leader. Lenie and Nelly are the best of friends.

That is, until Lenie is chosen to be cheer captain over Nelly. This starts a rift between Lenie and Nelly. The two continue to grow apart. At this time, a famous football player begins kneeling to protest racial injustice — the player isn’t Kapernick, but clearly modeled after him – right down to the initials. Lenie is struck by this.

And so, after a conversation about these actions the cheerleaders decide to take a knee at the next game during the anthem. This ends up having consequences for the team and specifically for one cheerleader that is not Lenie. Nelly, FYI, is doing her level best to achieve all the things. As well as to be selected for a prestigious program before college.

Overall, Why We Fly was not exactly what I had expected. It feels like there’s so much going on in this short book which is fine. I would have liked it more if this book was more tightly focused. Or if it had really leaned into certain events more. I felt like this book was very surface when I wanted depth. However, maybe that’s because I am evolving as a reader. I do think maybe Why We Fly would work well for a younger audience and subjectively it wasn’t for me and THAT IS FINE. I am not at all the intended audience.


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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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