Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Release Date: February 3, 2015
Goodreads / Amazon
If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.
Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.
This is exactly what Young Adult Contemporary should be like. Well-written, powerful and modern voice, intriguing and wonderfully emotional. The story pulled me in right away and the story unraveled through my unwillingness to put it down. I love when a book just grabs you and won't let go.
There are so many concepts explored in this story that make it so powerful. The war and its effects being the most important one. Others are life in a small town, social standings and finances that teens are forced to face when money is tight. There are many messages to be learned from this novel.
Sky's narrating voice has been one of my favorite female voices this year. Josh's voice however, I didn't feel the emotional pull I should have and his small chapters were quite unremarkable. I also wish there had been more moments when Josh's issues came up, when Sky was actually there for him instead of the other way around. As much as I loved the story I felt it was a bit too Sky-centric.
The dialogue between them, the careless joking around and their interactions were my favorite part though. The "How's the Sky today?" line has been stuck in my 'happy moments' memory since I read this. Skylar's friends were wonderfully drafted and felt incredibly real. So many bits and moments have stayed with me that I almost gave this one five stars. The resolution was the one that had me a bit skeptical. Nevertheless, this is a wonderful read that will stay with me and definitely one that stands out in 2015.