The book: In the young-adult novel Flight Season (Wednesday Books) Vivi Flannigan is crippled with grief after the loss of her father, which causes her to nearly flunk out of her first year at a prestigious college. As an attempt to save her grades, she takes a hospital internship for the summer and meets TJ Carvalho, a career-minded nursing student who is focused on finding a professional path outside of his overbearing family’s restaurant. Although TJ wants nothing to do with Vivi, the two are assigned as glorified babysitters to a difficult teenaged patient Ángel Solís, an undocumented immigrant who is suffering from a life-threatening heart disease. Through their time with Ángel, they learn important lessons about friendship and love.

The author: Marie Marquardt ’94 is a professor at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and has been an advocate for Latin American immigrants in the South for two decades. She is also the author of young adult novels The Radius of Us and Dream Thing True.

Opening lines: “Lately I’ve developed a fascination with birds. It started in December, when a lovely little songbird perched above me in the branch of an enormous oak tree and refused to shut up. … Birders give every bird’s song a phrase, which is supposed to mirror the rhythm and tone of their sound. One of my favorite common birds, the barred owl, sings out in a low tenor, Who cooks for you? But he American robin doesn’t ask questions. Instead it incessantly commands: Cheerily, cheer up, cheer up, cheerily, cheer up! Which is an especially frustrating thing to hear when you’re sitting at an outdoor funeral in the blinding light of a Florida winter, trying to pay attention to the eulogy.”

Reviews: “Flight Season broke my heart and put it back together again. This is a story about love in all its many forms — romantic love, familial love, and the unconditional love that comes when you find a true friend; a friend for whom you will do anything, especially when it means saving their life.” ― Melissa de la Cruz, New York Times best-selling author