This touching story is told through the eyes of Chuck, Lori and “Mom”. The family lives in a very small town in Ohio. When they were little, Lori and Chuck’s dad died, and they moved to their grandparents’ farm with their mom and their three younger brothers and sisters. Lori and Chuck were best friends when they were younger, but as they have gotten older they have grown apart. Lori is a year younger than Chuck, but she is popular and involved in all kinds of social clubs. Being cool is very important to her. Chuck is overweight and an outcast. Kids make fun of him and his sister doesn’t do anything to help the situation. Lori and Chuck’s mom is a motivational speaker. Her job causes her to travel a lot, which makes Lori resentful. Lori and Chuck are invited along on their mom’s next motivational speaking tour, so that they can see more of the world and learn about their mom’s job. Will Lori and Chuck be able to get back their old friendship? Can they be inspired to be a family again? Just what is it their mom does as a motivational speaker? Reading this realistic fictional book will make you think about your own life and the choices you are making! Plus, you will want to know what happens to Lori, Chuck, and their mom.
I especially liked how the various takeoffs and landings throughout the story helped Lori, Chuck, and their mom to grow and reflect on their lives. The story has some sadness, but throughout it we are reminded that, although life has its ups and downs, it is important to appreciate each other, our differences, and to stand united with our family. We can’t lose sight of what it important.
Has anyone else read Takeoffs and Landings? Or have you read another book by Margaret Peterson Haddix? We’d love to hear your thoughts!