Setting Free the Kites

Setting Free the KitesSetting Free the Kites by Alex George
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons on February 21st 2017
Pages: 326
ISBN: 0399162100
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“People go their whole lives without knowing what real friendship looks like, how it feels. But you do.”

Robert Carter is not looking forward to another school year as he begins the 8th grade. He has been bullied by Hollis and knows that this year will not be any different. He has enjoyed his summer off and knows that Hollis will be waiting for him in order to bully him once again. Robert never discloses that he is being bullied to adults in his life. He suffers in silence until, one day, he is literally rescued by Nathan as Hollis has his head in a toilet. Nathan is the new kid at school who enters the bathroom stall to help Robert. Thus, begins their friendship.

The year is 1976 and Robert is the son of an amusement park owner in a coastal town in Maine. He has an older brother with a debilitating illness. His parents are naturally protective and Robert goes through life with caution. Nathan is the son of a fisherman and his wife who spends hours in her study typing on a typewriter. His father is a happy go lucky man who likes to fly kites. Where Robert is cautious, Nathan is carefree, reckless and breaks the rules.

Tragedy strikes for both families and the boys weather the storm together in their own way. This is a coming of age tale set in the 70’s about friendship, loss, tragedy, family, hope, and life. How friendship can change and grow just as a person can change and grow. Children face loss and come to the realization that their parents do not always have the answers and in fact have faults themselves. The parents are pretty much dealing with their own issues and grief to often pay closer attention to their children.

I really enjoyed the story of these two boys who met under not so pleasant circumstances. Nathan and Robert forged a close friendship that changes and grows as they go through adolescence. Years later the reader sees one of these young men, grown and looking back on his friendship with the other.

I thought this book was extremely well written. This is an emotional roller coaster coming of age tale that pulls at the heartstrings. The friendships we make when we are young can have lasting effects and influence on our lives. There is no sweeter friendship than the friendship of youth. Going through so many changes with another person forges a deep and lasting bond. Anyone who has ever had a best friend growing up with relate to these boy’s bond.

Nostalgic, poignant, sad, and hopeful. This book will make you chuckle, smile and cry.