Tag Archives: Sheena Wilkinson

Book Reviews Reading

Review: Taking Flight by Sheena Wilkinson

Last week, on a whim, I decided to check out my library’s ebook lending service. I’m so glad I did because I stumbled across an absolute gem of a book. Wait, make that two.

taking_flightThere are only a couple of hundred YA ebooks available, so I just browsed through them all, waiting for something to jump out at me. The first one that did was Grounded. Check out the cover.  Moody and dark, gorgeous orange tones, an unhappy-looking guy in a hoodie. What more could I want? When I clicked for more info, the first line said, “The sequel to Sheena Wilkinson’s multi award-winning Taking Flight.” I was interested enough to go back and look for the first one. When I found it, I realised why I’d missed it before. The top half of the cover is a silhouette of a horse. It screamed “horsey book” until I glanced at the bottom half. Mysterious guy in a hoodie. Yes please. Borrowed it and fought against a buggy ereader to read it. So glad I did. Got the sequel the next day.

What are they?

Taking Flight and Grounded by Sheena Wilkinson

First published 2010 (Taking Flight) and 2012 (Grounded)

Gritty, contemporary, young adult novels.

The Blurbs

Taking Flight: ‘Beyond the fence everything is dark, but in here is our own lit-up world. Just me and Flight. Our breath snakes into the night like the aftermath of a firework.’ The only riding fifteen-year-old Declan has ever done is joyriding. When he’s forced to stay with his snobby cousin ‘Princess’ Vicky on the other side of Belfast, he’s shocked to find himself falling in love with horses. Vicky would do anything to keep Declan out of her already perfect life and away from her precious showjumper, Flight, no matter who gets hurt… Moving from a harsh Belfast housing estate to the glamour of the showjumping ring, Taking Flight is a fast-paced story full of conflict, jealousy and courage.

Grounded: Declan loves Seaneen, but his ambition to work at a top showjumping yard is stronger than anything he’s ever felt before. So when Declan is offered his dream job in Germany, he should be thrilled. There’s nothing for him at home but dark history he’d rather forget. But he’s terrified: leaving Seaneen’s harder than he expected; troubled hood Cian won’t leave him alone, and when he finds a traumatised horse in a derelict barn, he knows he has to help her. No matter how scared he is. Grounded is a gripping story of courage, fear, despair and joy; the sequel to the award-winning author of Taking Flight.

Why should I read them?

Because life is shit sometimes.

The stories deal with what it’s like to live without hope of anything better. And what happens when a little bit of hope arrives.

They are gritty, down-to-earth stories. Well written without a lot of flowery description. The horse stuff is intertwined with the every day stuff to make for an intense, emotional read. The characters leak out of the page and into your soul. Declan and Vicky (and all the supporting characters) may have acted a little out-there sometimes, but their behaviour was always grounded in their reality, and their actions and reactions never felt off.

They aren’t exactly happy stories, but I’m a fan of any book that can suck me in and make me cry. And they’ve lingered with me. I don’t want to let these characters go yet.

They also gave me hope because sometimes I wonder if anyone will be interested in my little New Zealand stories. Well, I was sure interested in these Irish ones.

And the good news is Sheena has a new book, Still Falling, coming out in February 2015.