Author: Lucy Christopher
Release Date: 1st April 2010 (Australia)
My Rating: 3/5
One cold, winter morning, while Isla and her father are out waiting for the yearly migration of swans, Isla's father has a heart-attack and goes into hospital. While Isla is at the hospital waiting for news about his condition, she meets Harry, a boy her age who she is surprised to find out has Leukaemia. Harry is the first boy to understand her love of wild swans and is genuinely interested in hearing about them. From his hospital window they watch a wild swan on the lake outside as she tries, and fails, to fly. There is something different about her, truly different, almost magical. As both Harry and her father's health deteriorates, Isla is sure that if she can help the swan, maybe she can help her father and Harry at the same time, and so she embarks upon a breathtakingly magical (not the hocus-pocus kind of magic) journey of her own.
This is beautifully written and I love how Isla throws herself into her school project to help distract her from the reality of whether her father will live, but also in an attempt to make him feel better, and how her sullen grandfather also joins in on the project as a welcome distraction to his own troubles. Even through we are never told how old Isla is (this did somewhat annoy me), sometimes I feel she could only be 9 years old, other times 13 or 14, I feel that her reactions are age appropriate for her state of mind and the events affecting her; the angry outbursts at her brother, running away in the middle of the night and not being able to face the reality of what could happen to her family.
This is the touching story about family, friendship, hope, a young girl, a sick boy and a damaged wild swan. Ages 10+