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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Mended Wings: A Flicker's Tale is a young adult coming of age novel written by Timothy Imhoff. Flicker's life ended when she was sixteen. Young, athletic, popular and good in school, the pretty blond cheerleader, who was planning on college, never really survived the accident which left her with a traumatic brain injury. Granted, she amazed the doctors with the abilities and skills she was able to recover in the months spent in hospitals and care facilities afterwards. They had not expected her to be able to walk again, no less be a functioning member of society. But she would look at those old pictures of herself as a teen and feel like she was looking at someone else entirely. All in all, however, Flicker was rather proud of the gains she had made. She was the housekeeper at the Cranberry Inn, and her boss was incredibly supportive. And while living in the group home was not the perfect situation for someone who yearned to be on her own, she felt sure that one day she would be able to move out and into her own place.
Flicker had two friends -- they were high school boys who'd call her and get her to come out for drives with them. Being legal, she'd buy the beer, and they'd go sit by the lake and drink beers and fool around a bit. But the last night she went out with them, things changed. It quickly went from a bit of consensual fooling around to what was beginning to feel like rape until Jesse banged on the door. Jesse worked as the short order chef in the Harbor Diner, and he had recognized the frantic voice of one of his favorite customers coming out of that car. Flicker was glad to see him and his big yellow lab rescuing her, and she accepted Jesse's offer for coffee before he drove her home. His cabin was by the lake; it was cozy and filled with books. Flicker used to like reading before the accident. Now she'd forget what she was reading before she could turn the page. Jesse seemed to know a lot about education, and he loaned her a book. Maybe things could go back to what they were before the accident, at least, a little bit.
Timothy Imhoff's coming of age novel, Mended Wings: A Flicker's Tale, deals with the magic of possibilities as two seemingly broken individuals discover new hope and healing. Imhoff's background as a therapist and advocate for people with disabilities, including those with traumatic brain injuries, gives this story an authentic feel, as the reader is made familiar with the issues and challenges TBI victims face in their daily lives. I was thrilled to discover where Flicker worked, as I had become quite familiar with the Cranberry Inn from the author's previous book, Painted Wings: A Summer of Discovery, and was pleased to become reacquainted with Bill and his partner, Mark, and Bill's niece, Katie, and her partner, Annie. Jessie and Flicker's tales interweave beautifully as the two learn to trust and grow, and by helping each other, expand their own worlds. Mended Wings is a marvelous read, one that celebrates both the diversity and the interconnectedness of us all. It's most highly recommended.