genre: young adult urban fantasy
No one really knows what is making it hard for Aza Ray to breathe - but ever since she could remember, life has been doctors and hospitals, trying to figure it out. Snarky and a bit of a loner, her best friend Jason is the one she confides in the she sees...something. Something in the sky - something like a ship. Jason, being the quirky guy he is, believes her. And on the day that there is just no more air left for Aza, she's gone. But not really GONE. She's taken back to where she came from, a land of clouds and sky, just above our own water and land: Magonia. And in Magonia, Aza is more capable than she ever could've imagined.
This book will take some serious suspending of disbelief. Not just because we get very little backstory on the plot of the last 2/3 of the book, but because some things just don't sit as well as in your average fantasy. However, if you are willing to do it, there is some crazy imaginative stuff here - bird creatures, singing powers and weather-making cloud whales. I'm telling you, it's some really out-there stuff. Aza is an intriguing and intelligent character and I particularly like her friend Jason, who is clearly on the autism spectrum - his issues are dealt with in a really respectful and believable way and I liked the switching between them as narrators. The thread of romance was nice enough and I enjoyed it enough to want to keep listening, I just wasn't as thrilled as I'd hoped I'd be.
One note: I listened to the audio version, which for the most part I really liked. However, Aza's voice is super gaspy. I get that it's because it's hard for her to breathe but sometimes it was SUPER annoying. But other times, it really seemed to fit the action in the story. Jason's voice was very well done.