We'll Fly Away

By: Bryan Bliss
Location: FIC BLI
Genre: Realistic, contemporary, abuse

National Book Award Longlist Title * Booklist Editors’ Choice * CYBILS Young Adult Fiction Finalist * Nerdy Book Club Award for Best Young Adult Fiction * Paste Magazine Best Book * YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults

"Bryan Bliss has written an empathetic and stirring novel about what it means to fight for the outcasts, the forgotten, and even the hated, reminding us that we all have worth. That we are all valuable."—Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking

“A compelling and raw story.”Publishers Weekly

Luke and Toby have always had each other’s backs. But then one choice—or maybe it is a series of choices—sets them down an irrevocable path. We’ll Fly Away weaves together Luke and Toby’s senior year of high school with letters Luke writes to Toby later—from death row.

Best friends since childhood, Luke and Toby have dreamed of one thing: getting out of their dead-end town. Soon they finally will, riding the tails of Luke’s wrestling scholarship, never looking back. If they don’t drift apart first. If Toby’s abusive dad, or Luke’s unreliable mom, or anything else their complicated lives throw at them doesn’t get in the way.

Tense and emotional, this hard-hitting novel explores family abuse, sex, love, and friendship, and how far people will go to protect those they love.

"This book was interesting. It is the story of two friends in the senior year of high school. Alternating chapters unfold the story between letters written from death row and the events that led up to the incarceration. This is not a feel good book. But if you like true crime podcasts and shows, this is an interesting book to read. The only thing is I felt that it ended too abruptly.

This quote taken from the authors note pretty much sums up the book:

"Yes, it is a book about the death penalty. But it’s also a book about friendship. It’s about growing up hard, in a way that forces you to make choices you’d otherwise not make. It’s a book about wanting to escape. It’s about love and loyalty. It’s about people who care, even when you don’t. And maybe most importantly, it’s a book that invites readers to ask the question: do I believe a person can ever be beyond redemption? My hope is that, after reading We’ll Fly Away, the only answer can be: “no.”"


“Bliss dares his readers not only to see the depths of human complexity, but to care.”—BooklistOverall, this book touched me to the core. It left me lost and in tears. I loved and hated it. It was very well written. The characters are built perfectly and seem so real when you read it. I enjoyed the interspersed letters from Luke to Toby via death row. It was an interesting perspective to place into a young adult story. It fit well into the narrative. This story is beautiful in it's anguish. I recommend it to everyone, but keep in mind that it is a grim story with no happy ending to be had. Beautifully done. After this, I plan to read Bryan's other two books ASAP. Sarah


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