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I Belong

Review: Searching for Sky by Jillian Cantor

Searching for SkyTitleSearching for Sky

AuthorJillian Cantor

Genre: YA Contemporary


Publication Date: May 13, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 288 Pages

ISBN-101619633515 (Bloomsbury)

ISBN-13978-1619633513 (Bloomsbury)

Reviewed by: Kaitlin


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.

Quick & Dirty: Though in the end I enjoyed Searching for Sky, certain problems kept me from loving it.

Opening SentenceOn the afternoon of my sixteenth birthday, River spears a fish.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

In this novel Sky is yanked from a peaceful life with River on their own, personal island to the real world. Suddenly Sky doesn’t need to catch her food, she can get purified water from supermarkets, and she has been reunited with her grandmother. But she is far from happy. She yearns for the simple life on Island before entering a world where her past is unearthed messily, reporters crowd her, and she has been separated from River- but as the book progresses, she begins to see that nothing can ever be the same.

The character and love interest, River, wasn’t my favorite, especially because my feelings for him were so scrambled. One day he abandons her, the next he has an excuse so everything is ok? I just wasn’t a fan of how easily he was forgiven, among other things. He also seemed a too innocent, which ended up fine because he lost it during the course of the plotline, for the most part. However, Sky was a character I enjoyed and loved. You are totally immersed into her feelings and perspective, which is mainly focused on: Island. Island is her home, and it has always been her home. Getting home is her goal the whole way through, and she doesn’t stray from it. This leaves little room for development but it is still there. The other boy, Ben, I don’t know his purpose. Is he a love interest or a good friend? By the end I still have my doubts about which he has become, so I never concluded my thoughts about that… Nevertheless I do like his steady, warm presence through when Sky needs him. He is always there for her.

Island, when I was reading, always seemed mysterious and beautiful, swathed in the tropical magic that inspires people to go to Hawaii. It was described so simply, yet so richly. The style of writing in this one was easy to read as it flowed very simply (as I said above) but held much meaning in every sentence. Every time she talked of the ocean and the sand and the palm trees, I had a setting swoon. It made me want a vacation.

As the book continues, Sky learns of her heritage and who the man she lived on the island with, the stand-in father, really was. It unfolds too on and off for me to really be invested in this part of the novel. I started the book under the pretense that something huge and monumental would be discovered, and it was, but I was too confused by it when it was revealed. Supposedly this man’s past isn’t nice, but on the island he was, and Sky has to distinguish the two. I kept expecting something had happened between not-so-nice past and somewhat-strict-father-figure. But in the end, nothing like that happens and I was left with arguing feelings about him, comparing the mean and nice sides to see which would rule.

I actually really enjoyed this novel, and though not much action was present, I was able to keep reading. The reason it got three stars lies in the problem stated above and the fact that this huge twist happens at the end that didn’t affect me. With such a plot twist, if I was truly invested, I would have been shocked or angry or sad. I felt more of a muted acceptance with not much emotion. Probably, it was because I wasn’t such a fan of the character. In goodreads reviews, many mentioned crying nonstop, but I certainly wasn’t. Anyway, another reason it was knocked down a star was the rushed ending with a blurry resolution. I enjoyed the book and expected clarity and closure. Instead I was slightly confused and puzzled through the scenes as I reread the last few pages. However, despite these problems I truly liked the novel Searching for Sky and would recommend it to those who are fans of contemporaries and tropical settings!

Notable Scene:

He catches his balance, and I notice he’s holding a thin white stick between his teeth now, grabbing onto it with his other hand, and then he jabs it into my arm, through the flesh of the poncho.

I feel like I’ve been stung by the biggest and worst insect I have ever felt, but I am still trying to run. “Where the hell does she think she’s going?” I hear Sergeant Sawyer say.

And then the entire world goes black.


FTC Advisory: Bloomsbury USA Childrens provided me with a copy of Searching for Sky.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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2 Responses to “Review: Searching for Sky by Jillian Cantor

  1. kimberlybuggieNo Gravatar

    Great review! I liked this book a lot, and felt sad at the ending, but I totally understand your point. Sometimes, you just aren’t as invested as you should be. Also, I agree with you saying about the blurry resolution. I’m not sure it bothered me, but I can understand why it wasn’t satisfying.
    I like the unique concept and it was a pretty fast read. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. KaitlinNo Gravatar
    Author Comment

    Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the review. (: It’s great you had the same thoughts as me!

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