May 1, 2013

Latest Read: Flowers In the Sky

Here are the basics ...
Flowers in the Sky by Lynn Joseph
Publication date: March 5, 2013
Publisher: Harper Teen
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Borrowed from the library

Summary: Fifteen-year-old Nina Perez must leave her lush home in the Dominican Republic, when she's sent by her mother to seek out a better life with her brother in New York. As Nina searches for some glimpse of familiarity amid the jarring world of Washington Heights, she must uncover her own strength. She finds a way to grow, just like the orchids that blossom on her fire escape. And when she is confronted by ugly secrets about her brother's business, she comes to understand the realities of life in this new place. But then she meets him-that green-eyed boy- who she can't erase from her thoughts, the one who just might help her learn to see beauty in spite of tragedy. (Adapted goodreads.com)
My thoughts…
The good: Nina Perez' story is one that felt familiar to me in many, many ways. I was born here but my parents and the majority of my family emigrated from the Philippines to live in the US. But I've heard stories about our country. The heat, the islands, their lifestyle in which maids and drivers are completely normal to have but most of all, how they all wanted to come to the US for the opportunities. I don't think it quite lived up to the fantasy they had built up in their minds (my one cousin didn't want to come here at all but her parents insisted) but in the end, they're all happy here and grateful. It just took some adjusting. As I read about Nina Perez's own struggles to figure out her place, a lot of the same feelings expressed to me by my family mirrored Nina's. It made the book feel both real and authentic in its portrayal.

But the book doesn't just explore adjusting to a new country. The theme of family and the things (more like sacrifices) we make for our family is extremely important to Nina and her brother. Both of whom crumble under the pressure put on them by their mother and led them to make some really bad mistakes. Or in some cases, pressure can have the opposite effect and force you to stand up for yourself.

(Minor) reservations: I wish the book had been longer. The relationships in this book are so important - familial and romantic - but I felt like the family side of things didn't get enough resolution. I also liked the romance but it did happen rather quickly and I think more time should've been put into developing it.

Do I recommend?: It's a very simple, straightforward story but one that I found moving. (It also made me wish I was on a island somewhere!). If you're in the mood for a quick read, I'd recommend this.

Happy reading!

4 comments:

  1. I hadnt seen ANYTHING on this since I heard it was being released! Glad you enjoyed it! I was hoping someone I trust would review it :-D so thanks! ;)

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  2. I have a feeling that I'd find myself able to identify incredibly well with the characters in this story. It's not only because of the displacement, but also because of the dedication to family! I really haven't heard too much about this book, but I'm happy that you ended up really enjoying it (even if it was too short).

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  3. The concept for this book is so intriguing. As you say, it’s simple, but it feels like there’s a lot of room for character growth within the framework, which is what I’m really attracted to in most of my books. My library has this, I think, so I will be sure to check it out!

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  4. Love the concept of this book. I don't think I'd have any way of relating to Nina's story, but it sounds like one I'd love.

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