Review by: Riley

“How’s the Sky today?”

I found this book around the time I finished The Glass Castle, a year or so after I read We Were Liars and around the time of Swear On This Life. I found it where I find many unsuspecting books: at my local library. It was on the eye level self, and had the obscure kind of title that I had been pursuing at the time. I was on a dysfunctional family kick, but prior, excluding Dear John and other military Nicholas Sparks movie, my exposure to military influenced literature, media or entertainment had been somewhat limited. However, I don’t think that if I had been more experienced in the genre I would have been prepared for the punch this book delivered.

9781250080073Skylar, art school bound, lives in Clear View, California. It’s a town that not many people leave from. It’s the summer after graduation and she’s counting down the days until she can leave. She collages, something that I found incredibly quirky and endearing. Josh left Clear View the only other way other than college: the Marines. But he isn’t gone long before he loses his leg. When he comes back, getting his shift back at the Paradise Motel with Skylar, nothing is the same. Both stuck in different places, Skylar and Josh find out that they weren’t the same people they were when Josh left.

Told in mostly Skylar’s point-of-view with snapshots from Josh, this book left me speechless. The feeling of being stuck, the feeling of having your feet disconnected from your head, is so beautifully expressed that I wanted to go back and reread the book again for the first time. I have never lived in Nowhere, California. I’ve never been in a mobile home, desperate for my mom to snap out of it. I’ve never been in the Marines or lost a leg. But this book made me feel like I have, like I have been dizzy with the weight of sacrifice, and when literature can do that, you know it’s a keeper. This book, these characters, haven’t left me yet. I’m not sure they will.

This book, these characters, haven’t left me yet. I’m not sure they will.”

I recommend this book to people who are stuck between a rock and a hard place, to anyone who feels weight on their chest or shoulders. For fans of The Glass Castle or family dramas, for fans of Dear John and other military stories. For people who want to feel things by what they read. This book is for you.