Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “If These Wings Could Fly” as Want to Read:
If These Wings Could Fly
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

If These Wings Could Fly

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  723 ratings  ·  160 reviews
Perfect for fans of Laura Ruby, Laurie Halse Anderson, and Mindy McGinnis, Kyrie McCauley's stunning YA debut is a powerful story about the haunting specter of domestic violence and the rebellious forces of sisterhood and first love.

Tens of thousands of crows invading Auburn, Pennsylvania, is a problem for everyone in town except seventeen-year-old Leighton Barnes. For Lei
400 pages
Published March 3rd 2020 by HarperCollins/Tegen
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about If These Wings Could Fly, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about If These Wings Could Fly

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  723 ratings  ·  160 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of If These Wings Could Fly
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
I have to admit, I wasn't super sold on the writing style of this one at first, but once I got into the story and invested in the characters, I ended up really enjoying this. It's definitely a hard read at times, but I feel like it handled domestic abuse in a very respectful manner and if you think you can handle subject matter, this is one you should definitely consider checking out.

TW: domestic abuse
Jun 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

i put that extra half star for that one scene where they talk about into the spider-verse 😌✨
Sophie "Beware Of The Reader"
4,5 stars

I confess that what first drew me to the book is the gorgeous cover and once I read the blurb it had all the ingredients that I am looking for in a YA contemporary story and more.

This is a first work that certainly does not feel like a first!

Kyrie McCauley has written about a very sensitive topic with great insight and lots of care without ever being patronizing!

The story of Leighton is a story of parental and domestic abuse.
Kyrie McCauley in her author's note explained that she exp
Celia McMahon
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Normally, when writing reviews, I use an abundance of "amazing" and "fantastic", but this book deserves a better word. Maybe by the end of the review, I'll find it.

****Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for a chance to review this title ahead of its release date.

Gut-wrenching, magnificent...familiar. Just a few words to describe Kyrie McCauley's IF THESE WINGS COULD FLY. This book follows Leighton and her two younger sisters as they live through an abusive father and their complacent mot
Extending my deepest gratitude to Edelweiss and Katherine Tegen Books for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review. However, this does not affect any opinions or feedback stated concerning the book whatsoever.

TW: Obscenity, domestic violence and abuse, blood, racial slurs

3.75 rounded off to 4 hefty and cumbersome stars.

FRTC upon its official release.

Honestly, I had a hard time deciding what to rate this book. At some point, I enjoyed most of what happened, some parts of it got me
Renee Godding
"This house is unbroken the way a healed bone is: something was bent at an unnatural angle. Pushed too far until it snapped or shattered. But than it got better again... "

A stunning portrayal of domestic violence through the eyes of a teenager. Intens, hardhitting and immensly important.
Shaye Miller
May 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
**SOBS** When I got just a few chapters into this book, I couldn’t help but think WHY AM I NOT HEARING MORE ABOUT KYRIE MCCAULEY?! Well duh. It looks like this is her YA debut! I was really hoping to find a good YA novel to complete my week and this book was pretty much perfection for me. TRIGGER: Domestic violence. (But I deeply appreciate how the abuser is given a layered presence. While you may feel hatred toward the abuse, the story examines where it stems from. So powerful.)

The book spans f
Mar 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is powerful. I devoured this story. It had me feeling so many things all at once. There are so many things to love: the slight hint of magic, the beautiful writing, the empowering relationships. This debut is painfully honest about domestic violence and the ways people (don't) respond to it. There were so many strong, beautiful female characters is this book. I am struggling to find a word for how much I loved this book.

A big thank you to HCC Frenzy for blessing me with an advanced co
Mar 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Tw: domestic violence and abuse

It's Leighton's senior year and she is focused on school so she can get into a college far away, eager to escape her house. At the same time, she struggles with the guilt of leaving her two younger siblings behind.

I haven't lived through any of what Leighton has gone through, so I'm really not to person to judge how realistic it really is, but from what else I've read, this is probably one of the most realistic feeling domestic violence and abuse books I've read.
Liz Lawson
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I would give this book 100 stars if Goodreads would let me.

This book is beautiful, heartbreaking, necessary, and literally (and I do mean literally) gave me chills at certain points.

McCauley is a gorgeous writer, and she seamlessly weaves together a story about a family being eaten from the inside out by an angry and destructive father. The pacing is pitch perfect. Okay now I'm crying writing this review thinking about the story. {I also cried while finishing it like 2 hours ago. I'm just a mes
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am so grateful I had the chance to read an advance copy of IF THESE WINGS COULD FLY.

I devoured this wise, beautiful, and important book in about two days. There's so much to love here, from the gorgeous writing to the subtle magic to the sweet and empowering romance. The novel is painfully honest about the realities of domestic violence and the ways a community responds to it--or rather how they don't respond. Yet there's so much hope and courage and love here too.

And crows. Lots and lots of
Jun 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With the tough topic of domestic abuse combined with magical realism and a lot of symbolism, this is a captivating story. All the emotions that go along with living with an abuser are handled realistically - fear, anger, guilt, shame, and helplessness are part of seventeen year old Leighton's everyday life. Her power comes in her ability to compartmentalize, protect, and move forward while eventually finding a way to expose the truth using her intelligence and her writing talent as well as timel ...more
Mary Nguyen (fox & wit)
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The ending was a wee bit abrupt but overall a brilliant book.
(7.8/10) - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

If These Wings Could Fly follows Leighton, a senior in high school who is trying to figure out how to leave for college when this means leaving her two younger sisters in a house where their father's rage terrorizes them all.

Leighton is one hell of a character, and struck the perfect balance between being a teen while also having to grow up much faster than anyone else her age. From my understanding, this book is (partially) based on the author's own experience, and it shows in th
Dec 23, 2019 rated it liked it
I don't think this book is particular bad, I'm just not interested in it.

The magical realism part of it was my favourite - I really liked the crow aspect and the counting of that between parts of the book. It discusses a every important topic which I felt was done well.

The ending was a bit to abrupt for me, especially because it was the end but something else happened right before the end and I was like what??

If you like contemporaries, I think you'll love it. It's just not for me.
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
I received this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no ways changes my opinion and all the words below are my own. My review is based on an advanced copy of the book and may not fully reflect the finished copy.

This review is going to be a bit shorter and more scattered than usual because normally when I review a book I write down my thoughts/feelings every time I put it down. However, with this book, I read it in three chunks so there were very few notes other than “I LOVE IT".

One big
Dec 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, omg-i-know-them
This book... Not only is the writing beautiful and the story fast-paced and intriguing - this book is IMPORTANT.

McCauley handles the subject of domestic violence with care and does something that I've never really seen done with any other book involving the subject. She brings attention to the fact that apathy and complicity are sometimes one and the same in matters like this, but no one sees it that way because they often don't want to see anything at all.

This is an absolutely stunning debut,
Kristin Lambert
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A tense, emotional, beautiful read. The perfect combination of lyrical prose and suspenseful, page-turning plot. I felt like I was there with main character Leighton as she struggled to keep herself, her sisters and her mother safe, while balancing her guilt for attempting to find love and happiness and escape. The magical realism/surreal elements of the story took it all to another level of artistry, and I can’t wait to see what else this author writes in future.
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I felt this book in my soul.

Kyrie McCauley is officially an automatic preorder for me. The voice was sensational, and the topic was so well represented that I have a feeling I'll be buying this book several times over and giving it to friends and family.

Feb 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Firstly, I want to say thank you to harper360 for sending me a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am so grateful for this opportunity. 

I am going to make a bold statement. This may be the most important book you will read this year. Honestly, trust me on this one. I would like to add that there are trigger warnings for domestic violence, domestic violence that can be quite graphic at times. But if you can get past that in a way that will not affect you, then please plea
hayaat ♥
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars.

would 100% have been a new favourite of mine, if it wasn't for the ending. it's not open-ended, just feels kinda unfinished. definitely could have benefitted from a mini epilogue or smth.

otherwise, a really, REALLY good book. i felt every emotion Leighton felt -- the anxiety, powerlessness, and fear. especially the fear. the writing is exquisite -- miss Kyrie does not waste a single word, every single one hits exactly where it's supposed to. it's not so flowery to the point it feels l
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melissa Anderson
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book hurts. It is absolutely amazing, but it hurts. I read it in one sitting, I couldn't stop. I have never personally suffered domestic abuse, but have relatives and friends who have. I've witnessed it as an outsider and know how helpless Leighton's friends feel. Waking up to multiple missed calls because your phone was on silent. Knowing that you can talk until you're blue in the face but nothing will change their mind or perspectives until they are willing to admit they need help. Knowin ...more
Carolyn Coote
Published in April this year, this debut novel by Kyrie McCauley is a powerful story about the haunting aspect of domestic violence, the camaraderie of three sisters, of first love, and a town which chooses to look the other way. It also has an element of magical realism when thousands upon thousands of crows invade tight knit town of Auburn in Pennsylvania; the increase in their numbers paralleling the escalation of the violence in seventeen year old Leighton's Barnes' home. One of the crows, J ...more
May 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From the Author’s Note - “At its core, If These Wings Could Fly is a survival story. But instead of taking place on an island or lost in the wilderness and removed from human contact, this story takes place at the heart of it: in a small town, in a house that is shaped by domestic violence.”

A coming-of-age story with some mature themes (domestic violence, sexual innuendos) and swearing. I wouldn’t recommend for middle school but would for upper high school students. It was heartbreaking and hop
Caitlin Harbison
There is so much that can be said about this perfectly written YA book. Leighton is a strong female heroine constantly trying to protect her siblings and mother in her tumultuous home, darkened by domestic violence. She finds solace in Liam, a character I adored and presume many girls fantasize about and hope for in their first “real” relationship. He is endearing and supportive and the ying to Leighton’s yang. This book gives you the feels and I enjoyed every bit of it!!!
Yahaira Perkins
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The writing and thoughtfulness that went into writing this book is evident to the reader. The most beautiful thing about the writing is the use of figurative language to represent a realistic, multilayered view of what domestic violence feels and looks like. One of the many reasons I could not put this book down.
Hazel Crossman
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book, well it’s just phenomenal! The characters grabbed my attention from the start. It took a couple of days to get into because it is such a heavy topic but I soon realized that was the whole point of the book; how we avoid confronting or helping in terrible situations because we want to be proper and avoid awkwardness. I think this book is a must read and if you’re reading these reviews debating whether to read it or not, READ IT! I can foresee this book becoming apart of high school’s c ...more
Kaci Garrett (Reading Rivalry)
Probably the best book I've read so far this year.
Natalya Kahmann
May 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A fantastic book. So emotional and real. I felt like crying so many times. It is about the hard topic about abuse but if can read about that, read this.
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • A Breath Too Late
  • The Lucky Ones
  • The Lightness of Hands
  • Frozen Beauty
  • What I Carry
  • Be Not Far from Me
  • Three Things I Know Are True
  • The Easy Part of Impossible
  • One of Us Is Next (One of Us Is Lying, #2)
  • Supernova (Renegades, #3)
  • Unscripted
  • Rules for Being a Girl
  • This Is My Brain in Love
  • Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars, #1)
  • The Fountains of Silence
  • This Train Is Being Held
  • Full Throttle
  • Naturally Tan
See similar books…
Kyrie McCauley has always been a storyteller. She has also been a waitress, nanny, singer in a band, ACLU intern, rally organizer, Truman Scholar, and most recently, a mother and a writer. Kyrie holds an MS in Social Policy from the University of Pennsylvania. She lives near Philadelphia with her family and too many cats.

She is represented by Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary.

Articles featuring this book

Recent events have been especially tough on debut authors, with bookstores closed and book tours canceled. So we're rounding up a list of hit...
100 likes · 35 comments
“This is what I know of pride. I know that it keeps the secrets of cruel men. I know that it holds us in the shadows, because we are too proud to admit we need help. I know that pride values a men's reputation over a woman's life. It calls her selfish for speaking up, even when she speaks the truth. then. 0 likes
“This is what I know of pride. I know that it keeps the secrets of cruel men. I know that it holds us in the shadows, because we are too proud to admit we need help. I know that pride values a man's reputation over a woman's life. It calls her selfish for speaking up, even when she speaks the truth. Especially then.” 0 likes
More quotes…