Full Flight by Ashley Schumacher

*Spoiler free*

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 was looking forward to this book the second that I finished Amelia Unabridged. That became one of my favorite books, and Ashley became one of my favorite authors. I was ready to read anything that she wrote next. When all I knew was that it was about band kids and loneliness, I was eager to read it that very second. And then I found out it’s about first love, and how special it is even when it’s gone.

I cried through the last 50ish pages of this book. Like, full on tears down the cheeks, crying. I tear up sometimes, and I’ve started finding books that make me full on cry, but it’s rare. This book made cry so much I feel I’m dehydrated. It is that good.

Like Amelia Unabridged, Full Flight is edged in magic. It’s subtle, but it’s there. It’s one of my favorite parts of Ashley’s writing. It breathes something special into everything about the story. It makes the characters seem a little brighter, the emotions a little bit more intense, and everything about it seems to sink deeper into the soul.

Speaking of the writing, there were lines in this book that just pierced right through me. It is a book of two people, people who are little rough around the edges, a little weird, finding each other. And realizing that the world looks better when it is a little weird. I fell in love with those parts of Weston and Anna, I fell in love with both of them so much.

I love both Anna and Weston, I love them a whole lot. Both of them are lonely, even when they’re surrounded with people, and they are able to find solace in each other. They fit together. I loved seeing them come together, to join their worlds together, and figure each other out.

This book builds. It builds and it builds and you know what is coming, but it’s continuing to build and when it finally breaks it’s something that completely breaks open. It’s a sad book, but it’s not a book that reveals in the sadness, it’s a book that tries to understand it, to see what is inside it, to see what comes out of it. And not all those things are bad. They hurt like hell, but that doesn’t mean that it’s always a sharp, fresh sting. This book deals with both happiness, with sweetness and adorableness and hilarious band jokes, but it also deals with hurt and loss and pain, and the way it does so is just magnificent.

I also learned that I need to respect band kids more. What they do is INTENSE, and their jokes are hilarious.

The way that Ashley writes is just superb. The way she injects such emotion into everything, she makes me want to cry just thinking about this book.

There’s so much love in this book. It’s messy and hard sometimes, and it freaking hurts too, but it is full of love. AND THE COVER I WANT TO CRY OVER THE COVER. It such a good book. I love it so much.

Full Flight comes out February 22, 2021! You can add it on Goodreads and pre-order a copy in the meantime!

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