Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

After immigrating to America, a Filipina girl navigates middle school and her identity while pursuing her love for music.


"Blackbird Fly" is a compelling and heartwarming novel written by Erin Entrada Kelly. The book delves into themes of friendship, identity, and the struggles of growing up as the main character, Apple Yengko, navigates the challenges of middle school. Set in a small town in Louisiana, the story takes readers on an emotional journey as Apple grapples with issues of self-acceptance and belonging.

Brief Synopsis

The novel is set in a small town in Louisiana and follows the story of Apple Yengko, a Filipino-American girl who faces challenges in navigating middle school. Apple is struggling to fit in due to her Filipino heritage, her love for the Beatles in a town that adores country music, and the bullying she experiences from her classmates. Despite these challenges, Apple finds solace in her friendship with her best friend, Alyssa, and her passion for music. The story explores Apple's journey of self-discovery and the importance of embracing one's identity.

Plot Overview and Setting

The plot unfolds in the rural town of Chapel Spring, Louisiana, where Apple Yengko, a young Filipino-American girl, grapples with the complexities of adolescence. Despite her talents and intelligence, Apple faces bullying and discrimination due to her ethnicity. Her love for music, particularly the Beatles, sets her apart in a community that embraces country music. Through her struggles, Apple learns to embrace her heritage and pursue her passion for music.

Main Characters

The novel features several key characters who play essential roles in shaping the story and influencing Apple's experiences.

Apple YengkoThe protagonist, a Filipino-American girl struggling with her identity and navigating the challenges of middle school.
AlyssaApple's best friend who provides support and companionship through the ups and downs of adolescence.
CabA kind-hearted boy who shares Apple's love for music and becomes an important friend.
MomApple's mother, who is protective and caring, providing guidance and support.
Mr. SantosApple's music teacher, who encourages her passion for music and helps her build confidence.

Story Points Over Chapters

The story unfolds through a series of poignant events that shape Apple's journey of self-discovery.

Chapters 1-4

Apple Yengko, the protagonist, faces discrimination and bullying from her classmates due to her Filipino heritage and her love for the Beatles. She seeks solace in her friendship with Alyssa and her passion for music.

Chapters 5-8

Apple encounters Cab, a boy who shares her love for music. Their friendship grows, and Apple begins to find comfort in her shared interests.

Chapters 9-12

Apple's experiences with racism and bullying intensify, leading her to question her identity and struggle with feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Chapters 13-16

With the support of her music teacher, Mr. Santos, Apple begins to gain confidence in her musical abilities. She also starts to explore her Filipino heritage and embrace it as a part of her identity.

Chapters 17-20

The bond between Apple, Alyssa, and Cab strengthens as they navigate the challenges of adolescence together. Apple begins to find a sense of belonging and acceptance.

Main Events

The novel is filled with significant events that shape Apple's journey and contribute to her growth and self-discovery.

  1. Apple's encounters with racism and bullying at school.
  2. Her friendship with Cab, a fellow music enthusiast, blossoms, providing her with a sense of camaraderie.
  3. Apple's growing confidence in her musical abilities with the support of her music teacher, Mr. Santos.
  4. The exploration of Apple's Filipino heritage and her journey towards self-acceptance and embracing her cultural identity.
  5. The strengthening of her friendship with Alyssa and Cab, offering her a sense of belonging and support.

Themes and Insights

"Blackbird Fly" delves into several thought-provoking themes and offers valuable insights for readers of all ages.

Identity and Belonging

The novel explores the challenges of navigating one's identity, especially in the face of discrimination and cultural differences. Apple's journey towards self-acceptance and embracing her Filipino heritage highlights the importance of belonging and finding one's place in the world.

Friendship and Support

The significance of friendship and support is a central theme in the novel. Apple finds solace and strength in her friendships with Alyssa and Cab, emphasizing the importance of companionship during challenging times.

Overcoming Adversity

The story addresses the resilience and determination required to overcome adversity, including racism and bullying. Apple's perseverance and growth serve as an inspiring example of facing challenges head-on.

Reader's Takeaway

Readers of "Blackbird Fly" are sure to be touched by the relatable struggles of the protagonist, Apple Yengko. The novel offers a poignant and heartwarming portrayal of the complexities of adolescence, the importance of friendship, and the journey towards self-acceptance. Through Apple's experiences, readers are reminded of the value of embracing one's identity and finding strength in the face of adversity.


"Blackbird Fly" is a captivating and emotionally resonant novel that skillfully addresses themes of identity, friendship, and resilience. Erin Entrada Kelly's storytelling effortlessly captures the challenges faced by the protagonist, Apple Yengko, as she navigates the complexities of adolescence. The book's exploration of cultural identity and the power of friendship provides readers with a compelling and heartwarming narrative that leaves a lasting impression.

Blackbird Fly FAQ

  1. What is the genre of Blackbird Fly?

    Blackbird Fly is a young adult fiction novel.

  2. Who is the author of Blackbird Fly?

    Erin Entrada Kelly is the author of Blackbird Fly.

  3. What is the main theme of Blackbird Fly?

    The main themes of Blackbird Fly include friendship, identity, and overcoming challenges.

  4. What is the setting of Blackbird Fly?

    Blackbird Fly is set in a small town in the United States.

  5. What age group is Blackbird Fly suitable for?

    Blackbird Fly is suitable for young adult readers, typically ages 12 and up.