Searching for Sky Paperback – 3 Jul 2014
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With a voice that washes over you like gently lapping waves on a pristine beach, Jillian Cantor takes you on a journey between two almost-perfect worlds . . . Sky is a triumph of resilience, her story a realization of the deep down kind of love we can all only hope for (Jennifer Brown, author of HATE LIST)
I teared up a number of times while reading Sky's story - her situation is so immediately engaging, her emotions so palpable (Leila Sales, author of THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE)
A thrilling and complex romance that will make readers see their own world in a whole new light. Fans of Gayle Forman, Lauren Oliver and Meg Rosoff will be utterly engrossed from the beginningSee all Product description
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Lately I've found myself reading and reviewing quite a few Dystopian books, so I was intrigued by a reverse dystopia, as this would be the first one that I've come across, so I wasn't really sure what to expect. After reading the book, I find myself with mixed feelings, and unsure how to review it!
This book is hard for me to review because I for one, didn't really like our protagonist much. Sky was kind of taking the whole "I want to run away to a desert island" thing too far, I get where she's coming from, she spent years there, suddenly she's in the real world, which as we all know can be kind of crappy, and she just wants to go back and go back to being her and River. When we're hit with a hard dose of "the world sucks", we all feel like Sky does, we want to either run away to a desert island, or curl up in familiar surroundings which would be the sitch for Sky as well as wanting things to go back to the way they where, but I feel like a dead horse was flogged a bit on this front by Sky.
I thought I'd be able to connect with Sky on that level, and I kind of did, I felt for her sometimes I really did. The majority of the time though, she really irritated me. I can't get behind a protagonist who whines that much, I really can't, not to mention how she acts like a total child pretty much all the time. I may have also thought "you know nothing Jon Snow" at her a couple of times, not gonna lie.
Now, while I didn't LIKE the character, I can fully recognize the fact that she was most likely portrayed quite realistically, if annoyingly, and there was some character development, it didn't save Sky for me, but it was there.
It was a shame for me that I didn't like the character as it took away from the enjoyment of the book. It started out so promising, but when it got to learning about the world/real world, that's when it went down hill quite rapidly.
Despite this, I kept reading because I wanted to see how it would end. The storyline was what intrigued me, the dislike for the character wasn't the best thing, but I could deal in order to see how it turned out. At this point, I chucked all of my hope for the book in to the plot, and shoved Sky to the side, ignoring her as best as one can when it's the main character.
Now, I'd have thought that if you where psychologists and you where faced with a patient who had been raised on an island and had no idea what ANYTHING was like oh say....toilets....doors and the like, you would help her adjust yes? Like maybe explain what things are...how they work....just saying. I mean maybe it's different for fictional psychologists? Idk.
Don't get me started on the whole "Oh you poisoned my husband? YOLO let's move to the commune and I'll stay with you for the LOLZ" affair. I was gonna give her the benefit of the doubt but I ended up deciding she was just stupid.
I'm having a problem with books lately. I can't decide if I'm becoming more cynical, smarter, reading too many of the same type of books or what, but I have more chance of winning the lottery than I do of finding a book lately that I can't predict what's going to happen. I had high hopes for this to be an exception, but to be honest, there was a huuuggeee lack of suspense that could have made the truth/ending waaaaaay more "OH MY GOD WHAAAAATTTTT" instead of "oh......eh".
I did get way creeped by Sky's relationship with River, I mean I was working with the fact there'd be no romance, especially when I started reading their relationship. I viewed it in the beginning as a siblings type relationship, they where raised together for cripes sake, and I thought we where going to have a nice little look at a relationship between siblings who aren't really siblings technically type thing. No. When their relationship turned romantic it was a major "EEEERKKKKK" *shudder* deal. It was just creepy. I spent the book getting sibling vibes and then BHAM *love is in the air*.
The pacing also hit a bit of a snag for the last quarter or so of the book, it slowed right down, while I'm the type of person who will just sit and read with no problems, even if the pace dies, other people may have a struggle to get through it. Other than that, the majority of the pace was fab and so was the flow!
Don't get me wrong, Searching For Sky has an astounding plot, and it will keep you reading, but a huge chunk of the enjoyment is taken away by the ending, and the dislike for the main character, which is a bit of a problem for the book, because there's no point if you're not going to enjoy it, if you can shove aside the bad then wayhey, no problem! But the plot was the best part of the book...except the ending....so yeah. You see my reviewing dilemma!
River sees a boat one day when he's catching fish for him and Sky, but they aren't certain what a boat even is. They soon find that the people on the boat arrive at the Island to take them home - even though Sky has no idea where that place even is - to a place called California. There, things are very different. Sky is separated from River and meets her grandmother who immediately tries to connect her to a new way of living by getting a team of experts to teach her everything someone of her teenage-age should know and do.
Being set in Sky's POV, nothing was limited at all by not being able to get inside her head and emotions. I instantly connected with her, through sympathy and compassion for her confusion and brand new eyes at California, a place she didn't even know existed. Things in the real world are painstakingly difficult to grasp and day after day, Sky - who's been told that her name isn't even her own - feels lost by association in her new life. All she knows is Island, and even though she tries and learns new things every day, she just wants to be reunited with River.
It was tragic what happened in Sky's life, and as she learns the startling new information about where she came from, who her Mother and River's Father; Helmut, really were, Sky can't help but try and grip the good memories tighter. All she knew was that with the help of her grandmother's neighbour; Ben, she needed to find River. She had to go back to Island.
Searching For Sky really made me feel for the characters, in a way that I could picture Sky vividly in this world that felt so dystopian to her. I felt so bad for River, and although selfish at times, I felt remorse for Sky's grandmother who so desperately just wanted for her to feel at home. After all, she had lost two people she loved and never thought she would see again.
Overall, Searching For Sky is a book filled with the qualities in a book I love; an impeccable plot, an ending to make you tear up, characters I empathized and a story that won't leave my mind.
Searching for Sky definitely made my favourites list for this year - an exceptional and impressive five-star novel.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Searching for Sky contains an intriguing ‘reverse dystopia’ concept, where a girl who has lived on an island her whole life is rescued and returned to civilization, and everything is new to her. While it was explored with beautiful writing and creativity, what I didn’t expect was how much it was going to punch me in the gut with feels.
Searching for Sky is undoubtedly the saddest book I’ve ever read. The psychological damage and trauma both Sky and River experienced upon removal from their home on the island was explored fully. This s*** is intense and no glossed over Jungle Book, and I had to put the book down at several points during the story because it was just so sad. It reminded me of taking animals out of their natural habitat and putting them in a cage or a zoo, which struck home just how difficult it would be.
When Sky and River are ‘saved’ and returned to civilization, the stark contrast between our modern world and the island was done extremely well. Sky doesn’t know anything aside from what’s on the island, so she refers to everything as wood, leaves, rabbit pelts or coconuts. She has no idea what everything else is and refers to the toilet as the Bathroom Tree and bandages as leaves. Getting off the island is only the beginning, as she needs to be taught the very basics of living in our modern world, such as using the toilet, washing her hands, and using utensils to eat. She could not read or understand the words people were saying, and it was like a child waking up as a teenager, and is assigned a therapist and a teacher who frustratingly don’t understand her circumstances at all. I mean, how do they expect her to read when she doesn’t even know what half the objects are around the house?!
And that’s only the beginning, because the whole back story as to why she was raised on an island with River and why her mum and his dad were together is completely gut wrenching, disturbing and tragic. While watching Sky adapting to the world with her grandmother and her new friend Ben was difficult enough, then we will see the disturbing fate of River as a son of a criminal and it is oh so terrible.
The beauty in Searching for Sky is that it explores some of our follies of human nature in depth. How people are judged by association. How they may only sympathise with your circumstances, but not really seek to understand them fully. How people’s fates may be entirely out of their control and be subject to the cruel ways of life. It is a thought provoking book that I would recommend to everyone, in the way that it makes us think.
Searching for Sky is one of the most unique books that I’ve read, but also one of the saddest. The exploration of an island girl and boy returning to civilization was done fantastically and realistically. The things that will happen in Searching for Sky are confronting, heavy and will completely rip your heart out, and will affect you in a profound way.
Sky and River have grown up on Island, a tropical paradise where every day had a series of chores and rituals and rules to shape it. Then one day, River spots a boat and the pair are 'rescued'.
With someone who claims to be her grandmother, Sky must learn how to live in modern California. And the grandmother refuses to let her see or even mention River.
The premise for this book is fantastic. It's kind of the reverse of those survival stories where people are lost in the wilderness and forced to survive. And the backstory about how Sky and River came to be on the island in the first place is pretty fascinating.
Yet for me, the book didn't work 100%. Sky's grandmother didn't ring true to me, and neither did any of the other people surrounding Sky and trying to help her. This is a girl whose whole life has been lived in seclusion, without any of the things those of us who live in the modern world take for granted. Yet when she is brought into society, no one bothers to tell her the names for the things she's seeing or what they are used for. She is allowed to go home with her grandmother without any kind of professional help with decoding the world she now finds herself in.
And what happens to River is a whole different story….
So while I really liked a lot of this book, I didn't believe it and that always leaves a sour taste in my mouth.