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The Paradox of Vertical Flight

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  654 ratings  ·  182 reviews
What happens when you put a suicidal eighteen-year-old philosophy student, his ex-girlfriend, his best friend, and his newborn baby in a truck and send them to Grandma's house? This debut novel by Emil Ostrovski will appeal to fans of John Green, Chris Crutcher, and Jay Asher.

On the morning of his eighteenth birthday, philosophy student and high school senior Jack Polovsky
Hardcover, 260 pages
Published September 24th 2013 by Greenwillow Books (first published January 1st 2013)
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3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  654 ratings  ·  182 reviews

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Sep 16, 2012 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: my-novels
Dear Reader,

Two things struck me with alarming force at the end of tenth grade, when all the sophomores were called in for consultations with their respective guidance counselors.

1. Mitt Paloma (fake name) had a better class rank than me.

2. Mitt Paloma would, in all likelihood, go on to a better college, and generally have a better life than me.

You have to understand something about my relationship with Mitt Paloma. I hated Mitt the way a priest hates a kid who baptizes his pet rock Gloria in th
Yi Ly
Oct 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4 años después lo volví a leer y lo volví a amar. <3


¡He disfrutado tanto este libro! Creo que llegó a mí en el momento ideal, justo cuando necesitaba una historia así y es que está contada desde una perspectiva más que interesante. En más de una ocasión me he reído a carcajadas con el libro, sin dudas se ha vuelto uno de mis favoritos <3

Macarena Yannelli
Quiero un nuevo género para este libro: "Literatura filosófica juvenil".
Este libro fue increíble de principio a fin. Ojala que todos le den una oportunidad para que comprendan la mente de nosotros los que estudiamos o hacemos filosofía (?)
Uno de mis favoritos sin duda y espero releerlo pronto <3
Reseña completa en Gracias a los Libros
Wulfran David
Dec 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No sé qué decir de este libro, la verdad. Es bueno. Me gustó mucho. Me reí con ganas. No voy mucho con la filosofía de los antiguos. Es decir, me gusta pensar, pienso bastante a diario acerca de muchas cosas, reflexiono, medito, y creo que por eso sentí un cierto parecido al protagonista en la manera de ser del personaje. Es interesante. Habla de muchos temas. Es la clase de lectura que me llama la atención. Que no es felicidad en todas partes. Que es más meditación y reflexión que cualquier otr ...more
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
It took me over a week to read this less-than-300-page book. That is not a good sign.

This is not a good book. It's self-congratulatory navel-gazing pretensiousness on paper.

It's drivel. It tries way too hard to be Deep and Meaningful and to Say Something Important. It succeeds at none of these things. Zero. Zip. Nada.

And it's dry. Boring. Overwrought. Overwritten.

Review to come on my blog and BookLikes!
Cristina  Ramírez
Feb 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 (o quizás un poquito más) ¡Me ha encantado! Este libro es una maravillosa mezcla de personajes temerarios, un road trip en ciernes, conversaciones filosóficas y una pizca de locura. Recomendadísimo :)
Jun 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
*Also posted at Oops! I Read A Book Again*

Thank you to Amy of Lady Reader's Blog Tour and Booki of HarperCollins for the review copy! This in no way affected my views of the novel.

I've been pining for this novel ever since its publication date because of all the raves it got. I thought I'd never get to read it then here comes Amy's tour. I practically begged to be included in the tour and everything was worth it. Oh my, this book just swept me off my feet. And I'm going to list all the reasons w
Quionna (theblacklitqueen)
Sometimes, your professional sweepstaker mother would win a book and then give it to you because it isn't her type of book or she just has a huge TBR. And then you take the book because, well, it's a free book and place it on your shelf, forgetting about it for months.

8 months later, you suddenly fall into a major reading sort of slump. You're tired of dystopian, paranormal and even fantasy, so you take a peak at your contemporary shelf and realize wow... I read all of these already. But then yo
review goes live on the blog 9/16.

When I first heard about The Paradox of Vertical Flight I was intrigued: an 18-year old & his 21-year old ex just became parents, the baby is named Socrates, and they take off for Grandma's house. That's certainly unlike anything I had ever read before! I allowed curiosity to get the better of me and was horribly let down.

Jack and Jess were a summer fling. Once her college friends came back into the picture, Jack was cast off to the side and it wasn't until
Cassie Gutman (happybooklovers)
The review is also up on my blog -

I don't know what I was expecting out of this. I loved the cover when I first saw it and thought, "Yeah, I have to read that!" Guys, this book was seriously awesome. It's hard to earn top marks from me, and this one nearly did it.

On page 2, the author referenced Kafka and "Metamorphosis," so I was already in love and super impressed that that made it into this YA novel. Then, as if it couldn't get more awesome on the scale of p
Kasey Giard
Dec 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved so many things about this book it would be hard to narrow it down to just one. The philosophy references and discussions were great. The banter between the characters was incredible. I'm a huge sucker for witty back-and-forth dialogue, and Ostrovski delivers it in scene after scene.

I also loved that this story tells the familiar tale of unexpected pregnancy aftermath from a largely unexplored voice: that of the baby's father. His connection with the baby (whom he names Socrates) and his
Adam Silvera

Emil Ostrovski's smart and funny debut novel begins with a recipe for disaster for narrator Jack, and will likely to appeal to fans of Sherman Alexie and Andrew Smith.

Jack wakes up on his 18th birthday to suicidal thoughts and a call from his ex-girlfriend telling him she's about to give birth to their son. Jess has planned to give the baby up for adoption, but when Jack holds the son he once suggested Jess abort, he realizes he doesn't want to say goodbye
Sep 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Teen angst, deep philosophy, and baby-having... this book isn't exactly light reading! The narrator is struggling with the meaning of life in general and his own life in particular, when his ex-girlfriend turns out to be having his baby. Suddenly, there's a whole new life in the mix, one that sends the narrator off on a series of zany and somewhat unbelievable adventures of fumbling self-discovery.

The humor is sharp, witty, and believably teen. The philosophy is likewise believable and intense.
Nov 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Where to start? First off I would like to say what a sweet story about a father just wanting to say bye to his son he didn't know he actually wanted. He still doesn't want to let him go. He wanted to be able to spend time with him and give him stories even though he wouldn't remember them. He wanted to do right by his son and give him a good life even if he wasn't the one who was able to. This story makes so many good points about the universe and how the world works. I love reading Jack talking ...more
Jun 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
De algún modo, volví a terminar el libro en el transporte público jajaja, les explico, éste es uno de esos libros que llevaremos siempre cerca de nuestros corazones, por qué?, a pues es muy simple, primero que nada, sigue la línea de todos los libros de este sello editorial, que es una historia fuerte, no del todo feliz, ni del todo triste, que deja un mensaje.
Sócrates será un elemento importante en nuestra manera de ver el mundo, y Jack (yosik) será un elemento importante para cuestionarlo, sin
Elita G alejo
May 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gratamente me ha impresionado este libro y agradezco la recomendación de Yi para leerlo. Toca temas profundos y muy poco compartidos como miedos y frustraciones y de una manera tan ligera que ni te das cuenta como te llevaron a esa direccion tus pensamientos. Habla sobre el crecer y más sobre aceptar ese hecho. Me encanto y se me hace muy especial, sobre todo porque será el libro viajero que compartire con mis amigos. Creo que dejara huella en cada uno de nosotros.
Luis Suarez
Jun 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maravilloso libro tocando el tema filosófico con mucho humor, una de las mejores formas de entender las cosas complicadas. Además toca el tema de la paternidad en adolescentes, tópico bastante complejo en ser humano, como la importancia de la vida y la responsabilidad que conlleva una descendencia. Un libro bastante recomendable.
juan carlos
Jan 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Por favor deben leer este libro yaaaaaa.

Nunca un libro me había dejado con tantas emociones encontradas. Aprendí filosofía, aprendí metáforas, aprendí el significado de la palabra despedida, el significado de la vida, de la muerte y de la toma de decisiones. Un libro con una voz narrativa fresca, que nunca van a olvidar.
Sarah {Literary Meanderings}

♥ Find my reviews here: Literary Meanderings

- - -

3.5 stars

The Paradox of Vertical Flight is the story of 18-year-old Jack—a suicidal philosophy student—and his journey to find meaning.

It all begins when Jack is about to down a bottle of pills. While contemplating whether to take the entire bottle or just enough to almost kill himself, his phone rings. It's his ex-girlfriend, Jess—she is at the hospital, about to have his son.

Jack, upon going the the hospital and learning Jess plans to give the b
Apr 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc-galley

My saying anything about this feels almost useless because I am not even sure about where to begin or how to. It’s the blurb that got me: suicidal kid, best friend, ex-girl friend and a baby... the makings of a joke? Not quite as it’s surprisingly deep, with the lead asking these questions, considering certain possibilities, and some other impossibilities. Yet, it’s in listening to him ask questions then struggle to lay out the answer for his kid that I was frustrated and fascinated… as I
Jan 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Check out Scott Reads It for reviews, giveaways & more!
Few novels can manage to be both hilarious and philosophical, but The Paradox Of Vertical Flight accomplishes this feat with grace. Ostrovski manages to make readers ponder their existence, while simultaneously making them laugh uncontrollably. This is a soaring debut that I loved and I found myself falling in love with Jack, Socrates and Jess. The Paradox Of Vertical Flight is a strange adventure that will leave an impact on readers, t
Lesley Marie
Nov 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Ten-Second Review: A book full of philosophy, ponderings, originality, and an exciting, hilarious, crazy road trip with a kidnapped baby.

More-Than-Ten-Second Review:

Oh, this book. The Paradox of Vertical Flight is a story told from a father to a son about his crazy first days. It’s a hilarious and crazy story filled to the brim with ponderings, philosophy, and warming to the heart things things. It made me laugh and smile and wonder, and ultimately, The Paradox of Vertical Flight made me feel as
Oct 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No debe daros miedo el hecho de que el nombre de Sócrates aparezca en la portada, ni debe daros miedo que uno de los personajes se llame Sócrates, al leer este libro no nos vamos a introducir de lleno en la historia de la filosofía, aunque también es una manera divertida de conocer cosas de la filosofía que podrían parecernos aburridas, pero que realmente no lo son.

Jack cumple años, y las felicitaciones por Facebook y demás factores influyentes, hacen que piense que tragarse un bote de pastilla
Joséphine (Word Revel)
There is something terrifying yet absolutely comforting about coming across a character that seems to be of equal mind to mine. Or maybe it's the author's thoughts that might as well have been pulled out of my very own mind. Not that I could have written this tale but the voice! That voice was like echoes of my own. Not to say either that I would ever think of kidnapping a baby (even if it were my own) to travel cross-country, so that my grandmother might meet this baby. I think this premise did ...more
Ashley Choo
Jan 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
When I turned the last page, I had a very strange thought, "I kind of want to dissect this author's brain, I think it would be delicious.", and "If could marry a book..."
Both are kind of worrying, but OH MAN, did I love this book. It was crazy, funny, I fell in love with the brilliant characters, (my favourite character was Tommy) and I really, really want to read more about Philosophy and Greek legends and take a spontaneous roadtrip once I get my driver's license.
This was a fantastic book. I
The Paradox of Vertical Flight started off strong, but quickly lost steam. I loved the premise: an 18-year-old high school senior becomes a father the same day he is contemplating "almost" killing himself. Instead, he rushes to the hospital where he is overcome by the urge to keep his baby--one he didn't know about a few hours earlier.

Driven by that impulse, Jack escapes the hospital with the baby, and ropes his best friend and ex-girlfriend (the mother) on a wild road trip.

Why I didn't like t
Dec 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audible, kindle-book, 2016
A three-day-old baby and his eighteen year old father debating unanswerable questions, and the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.
What a wonderful listening experience! (MacLeod Andrews narrator)
Funny. (I smiled and laughed out loud through the whole book ... my cheeks hurt.)
Just an amazing book. Well done Emil!
Ruben (BooksVlogs) Arauz
❤ Sin duda alguna éste será uno de mis libros favoritos del año, porqué encontré un valor sentimental en el, algo más allá de lo que podemos expresar con palabras, una filosofía de la vida relativamente cautivadora, aprendí filosofía de una manera increíble <3 . La calificación no se debe a que es mejor libro del o mi favorito, sin embargo un libro que te enseña es un libro que no olvidas. <3
Yahira Potterica
Jan 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: si te gustan los libros de aventuras y que hacen pensar
Recommended to Yahira by: por varios bloggeros
una historia que merece ser leída con varios toques filosóficos que he entendido mejor que en todas las clases de filosofía que he dado. Y aunque el final no me terminó de convencer el resto de la historia sin duda han estado a la altura.

Reseña completa: http://un-gran-mundo-imperfecto.blogs...
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The Paradox of Vertical Flight is my debut novel. It will be released in English in 2013, and in Spanish and German at a later date.
“But—but in falling, we fly, don’t we? We fly vertically. That’s the paradox of vertical flight. Falling is the only way we can fly.” 23 likes
“Insanity is a disease, and it is highly contagious.” 8 likes
More quotes…