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The Paradox of Vertical Flight

Review

The Paradox of Vertical Flight

For their 18th birthday, most teens get a car. Not Jack. For his 18th birthday --- surprise! --- he gets a son. Jack isn’t prepared for fatherhood, but when faced with signing his son over to his new, adopted parents, he balks. Jack decides he needs some time to think, so he slips out the hospital window with the baby. In THE PARADOX OF VERTICAL FLIGHT, Ostrovski weaves a philosophical quest like none other, full of memorable characters, chats with dead philosophers and a trip to Grandma’s house.

"Through THE PARADOX OF VERTICAL FLIGHT, Emil Ostrovski redefines the idea of 'the quest'...Along the way, he explores fatherhood, friendship and philosophy and begins to question the world in a way that only a teenager can."

While dodging the police and his ex-girlfriend, Jack must try and make sense of the situation he’s gotten himself into. He knows he can’t give his son, whom he’s named Socrates, the life he deserves, but still wants to shape the newborn’s character in some way. Jack is also dealing with the fact that seconds before he’d discovered he was a father, he was going to try and almost kill himself. Not really kill himself, but almost kill himself. Jack, it would seem, has a lot on his mind. He’s sure about one thing, though, it doesn’t matter how they gets there --- taxi, car or yacht --- he and Socrates are going to visit his Grandma.

Through THE PARADOX OF VERTICAL FLIGHT, Emil Ostrovski redefines the idea of "the quest." What begins as a way to impact his son, turns into an intense personal journey for Jack. Along the way, he explores fatherhood, friendship and philosophy and begins to question the world in a way that only a teenager can. The dialogue was weighted at times, hysterical at others but always realistic, putting readers into each situation the characters encountered (whether it be a police chase, a pancake breakfast or drinking tequila on a stolen yacht with a stolen baby). 

Jack has a unique relationship with each character Ostrovski creates. From his best friend Tommy, to his ex-girlfriend Jess, to the homeless man who guards the world's biggest pebble, Jack’s internal monologue and ability to connect keep readers entertained throughout the story. The outcome of his quest is an original storyline and provocative cast of characters, who explore what happens when the complexities of life and responsibilities of parenthood collide inside the head of a teenage boy searching for answers.

Reviewed by Kate Sidlowski on July 24, 2013

The Paradox of Vertical Flight
by Emil Ostrovski

  • Publication Date: September 24, 2013
  • Genres: Young Adult 14+
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books
  • ISBN-10: 0062238523
  • ISBN-13: 9780062238528