May 21, 2014

Latest Read: Searching for Sky by Jillian Cantor

Searching for Sky by Jillian Cantor
Publication date: May 13, 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Received via Netgalley from publisher (Thanks!)
Summary: Sky and River have always lived on Island, the only world they’ve ever known. Until the day River spots a boat. Across Ocean, in a place called California, Sky is separated from River and forced to live with a grandmother she’s just met. Here the rules for survival are different. People rely on strange things like cars and cell phones. They keep secrets from one another. And without River, nothing makes sense. Sky yearns for her old life where she was strong and capable, not lost and confused. She must find River so they can return to Island, but the truth behind how they ended up there in the first place will come as the biggest shock of all. (Adapted goodreads.com)

The good
Two teenagers stranded on a deserted island since they were kids. Learning to survive away from civilization. Slowly realizing new feelings for each other. It's like the Blue Lagoon movies! (Did I totally just show my age here? I probably did.) Except, in Searching for Sky, Sky and River do get rescued and we get to see the aftermath as they struggle to assimilate into society. River vaguely remembers their life before but all Sky knows is living on the Island with her mother, River and River's father Helmut. When her mother and Helmut die, Sky and River continue on until they are rescued and returned to California, where they lived before. Sky goes with a grandmother she didn't know she had and River is off on his own without her. Most importantly of all, both of them miss the Island.

I thought the writing perfectly portrayed their state of mind (capitalizing and giving importance to words like Island, Ocean, Bathroom Tree) and just how strange the world must seem. Cell phones, Internet, cars. Heck, even toilets. These are things we're just used to having but to Sky and River, it's completely foreign. It was painful at times watching them figure out every day conversation or even asking questions like, what's the point of money. Painful but extremely interesting. I could understand why they preferred the simplicity of their lives back on the Island.

The book is told from Sky's point of view and between her and River, she was the one who never wanted to leave the Island in the first place. Her grandmother is trying to help Sky adjust and while she obviously means well, she clearly has no idea how to handle any of this and doesn't even try to understand why Sky misses the Island and River. And as much as that frustrated me, it was a realistic reaction. I mean, of course life here would better! I think of any us would assume the same thing. But the world is a complicated place and River is the person she's closest to in the world so I sympathized with Sky. Especially as we discover why she, River, and their parents ended up on the Island all those years ago. It was a twist I didn't see coming!

(Minor) reservations
The pacing felt a bit uneven at times. I was always engaged in the story but certain aspects felt a bit long or repetitive and then the ending rushed (it completely caught me off guard!).

Do I recommend?
I wasn't sure to expect from something labeled as "reverse" dystopia but Searching for Sky really surprised me by being this thoughtful and intriguing book.

Happy reading!

2 comments:

  1. OMG The Blue Lagoon... loved that (and the sequel) as a kid! Yep, showing my age too! This sounds really interesting. Like I'm not sure why but I'm really compelled to read it now. Especially knowing there's a twist at the end!

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  2. Honestly, Searching for Sky was such a surprising read - in a good way! I love how much I got swept up in this story, how deeply I felt for Sky and her adjustment to "our" world, and how cleverly this story was told.

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