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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Fear of Flying by Kate Allen is an absorbing coming of age drama. It's big on characterization and has enough inner conflict to have you completely involved as the story develops. When the main character, Liz, loses her last surviving relative, it throws her into a tailspin of aimlessness, serial dating, and drinking. She doesn't know who she is anymore, or did she ever? The one thing on her mind at the moment is to fly to Scotland to spread her Aunt Ella's ashes, drowning herself in alcohol while she's at it. She meets someone on her flight, and this is the first step in the rest of her life's journey. This connection makes a lasting impression on Liv, and a strong bond is forged. A bond that sustains her through events that come her way. But given the tragedies in her life, is it even fair or possible to invite someone else in? Liv has choices to make concerning her life and her happiness. She can hang on to the pain, or try to find a way to move on. Her life can change, but does she really want it to, and is she ready for it?
Allen is a solid storyteller, inviting you into Liv's troubled world on the first page. This author is skilled at building a plot with characters you can believe in, and problems that you can probably relate to. The dialogue is natural and realistic, pushing the emotional narrative forward, and the inner dialogue is good too. I like how Allen uses psychology and grief in the story, and how she has Liv handle life events and situations as they arise. It's funny how Liv has nicknames for the passengers in the opening scenes, like "Window Seat" and "Aisle Seat". I like that Liv (and the author) shuns cliches, uses a sense of humor now and then, and opts for a fresh, honest approach to the storyline, and to Liv's relationship with Collin. The email exchanges between Liv and Collin are a nice touch, and Logan...well, Logan is a real piece of work. Allen writes with her audience in mind and delivers an intriguing story that will linger in your thoughts long after the final page. If you're looking for a character-driven novel to lose yourself in, your search can end with Fear of Flying by Kate Allen.