The Flywheel is a heart-warming and remarkable book, written by Erin Gough.
Seventeen year-old Delilah’s crazy life just got crazier when her father took off overseas and she’s been left to run the family cafe without him as well as survive high school. But after a misjudged crush on one of the cool girls at school turns Del into the school punchline, Del’s life became a whole lot worse. With everything going on in her life, she barely has time for her favourite distraction – spying on the beautiful Rosa, who dances flamenco at the tapas bar across the road.
Del has to ask herself some questions before she can figure out what exactly she must do. Is it okay to break the law to help a friend? How can a girl tell another girl she likes her without it ending in heartbreak and humiliation? And the most important one of all – is it ever truly possible to dance in public without falling over?
I really enjoyed reading The Flywheel. This book captured me from the very beginning and I felt so involved in the storyline and in the lives of the characters. I loved every moment of reading it and I found that the pacing was perfect. Sometimes in contemporaries, the pacing can be a little slow in parts and it can feel like not a lot is happening. However, this was not the case in this book. I was unable to put this book down and I always wanted to keep reading to find out what was going to happen.
The thing I loved the most about this book was the characters. Their voices were really natural and everything they did was very believable. Del was a really fun character to get to know. She is openly homosexual and she has a crush on a dancer who lives close-by named Rosa. It was really refreshing to read a book with a gay protagonist which isn’t about coming out, because I don’t think I’ve ever read a book like this one. I’ve read lots of books with side characters who are gay, but I think this one is the first where our protagonist is gay. I really liked this because it shows diversity.
Del was a really interesting character. Her father owned the cafe called The Flywheel in Sydney and Del’s mother is in Melbourne after her parents split up. When Del’s father decides to go on a trip and leave Del in Sydney to attend school and work in the shop a little, Del thinks everything will be fine. However, everything’s not fine. Del tried her best to handle the situations at hand and I really liked how mature she was about it for the most part. She was also really determined not to make her father come home to a disaster and kept on talking about her father wanting to make this trip for ages and she didn’t want to cut it short. I admired her perseverance and how she handled difficult situations. I also really liked Del because she was flawed – she wasn’t a great dancer and she often didn’t make the best choices and acted irrationally. These flaws made her really relatable and I was able to connect with her really easily.
Another character I loved getting to know was Del’s friend, Charlie. He was a really funny person to be around and I loved all the scenes between him and Del. Him and Del were both really different when it came to falling in love with people. Charlie would say he’s fallen in love with someone he has just met and he would also never like this person for more than a week. Del, on the other hand, had a crush on Rosa for ages. Their often contrasting personalities made it a really fun reading experience because they were both so different in so many ways, yet they were still such great friends. The friendship between these two characters was really lovely to see and one of my favourite parts was seeing how they both dealt with the court case in the later part of the book.
One of the other themes in this book is bullying. Del was bullied by lots of people at her school for being gay. It was quite confronting at times to see how these people, particularly the girls, treat her just because she differed from the ‘norm’. It was often frustrating to watch those people do that because they didn’t realise that it really doesn’t matter which gender you like or if you don’t like anyone, and you should have the right to be with whoever you want. It made me angry that these people didn’t understand that. In my life, I’ve never seen anyone being bullied about being gay. I have friends who are gay and I’ve never heard anything bad said about them. Maybe I’m just lucky to hang around with a nice group of people or maybe times are changing. But it definitely shocked me to see just how awful people could be to someone for not being heterosexual. I think this book was a real eye-opener for me to see how some people are treated, but at the same time, it made me realise how much I would support someone like Del, someone who has no right to be bullied. And there’s never any right for bullying.
This book was really uplifting in the end. I liked how a lot of the problems were solved, but a few of them were left open so the reader could interpret what was going to happen. I finished this book with a smile on my face and I was definitely happy with what happened. I felt like I grew so close to the characters while reading this book and it was slightly disappointing to end this book just because I loved reading it so much. This is definitely a book I’ll be reading again soon. I’d give The Flywheel by Erin Gough a score of 9 out of 10. I recommend this book for everyone looking to read a unique and enthralling YA contemporary!
Thank you to Hardie Grant Australia for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review!