{Review/Giveaway} SEARCHING FOR SKY by Jillian Cantor

The First Loves Blog Tour is hosted by Bloomsbury and features YA authors: 
Jillian Cantor, Mandy Hubbard, Lindsey Leavitt, Emery Lord, and Kristin Rae.
Blog Tour Schedule

Addicted Readers  Q&A 5/6
Anna Reads  Q&A 5/7
Fic Fare  Q&A 5/8
Andi's ABCs  Q&A 5/9
GReads  Q&A 5/12
Bookish  Q&A 5/13
Yadultreview  Q&A 5/14
Gone Pecan  Q&A 5/15
A Backwards Story  Q&A 5/16
Dear Teen Me: Emery    5/19
Dear Teen Me: Lindsey 5/20
Dear Teen Me: Kristin    5/21
Dear Teen Me: Jillian      5/22
Dear Teen Me: Mandy  5/23
UK: Fiction Fascination   (Fool Me Twice) 5/26
UK: Book Passion for Life (Wish You Were Italian) 5/27
UK: is Bloggers[heart]Books (Searching for Sky) 5/28
AUS: Behind the Pages   (Searching for Sky) 5/28
AUS: Fictional Thoughts (Wish You Were Italian) 5/29
AUS: She Known As Jess (Fool Me Twice) 5/30

Did you see my awesome tour stop this past Friday featuring an interview with all five touring Bloomsbury First Loves Authors on their Best First Date Ever?
Check it out!!!

In addition to the following interview, 
I'm also giving away a book of your choice! 

You can choose from:

SEARCHING FOR SKY by Jillian Cantor
FOOL ME TWICE by Mandy Hubbard
THE CHAPEL WARS by Lindsey Leavitt

And that's not all! I've already reviewed 


O P E N I N G   H O O K:

    ON THE AFTERNOON OF MY SIXTEENTH birthday, River spears a fish. "Happy birthday," he says, and he's grinning as he holds the fish out in front of me. It is large, the length of River's wide, outstretched arms, and I'm both surprised and impressed by his catch. He is, too, I can tell, because he's still grinning as he places the fish on Cleaning Rock and begins to scale it with a sharp stone.
(Page 1,  US ARC Edition)

I'm not really sure how to describe SEARCHING FOR SKY. It's not like anything else I can recall reading. It's also unlike any of the other Bloomsbury First Loves title, in a ballpark of its own. I was so focused on the characters and the way they were forced to move through life, and I just couldn't put this down once I started reading. Originally, it was the only book of the five titles I noticed on my own and specifically requested. It was tagged as being a "reverse dystopian." It's not. It's very contemporary, and the situation is...well, I'll spoil it if I give you too many answers. But here's a brief summary:

Sky has always lived on Island. It's her home. She grew up with River alongside her mother and River's dad Helmut, just the four of them. But now her mother and Helmut are dead, and it's just the two of them. Until the day River sees a boat. Until the boat takes Sky and River away to California, a land Sky's mother once described as full of skeletons who "walk around without their skin, their hearts, their souls." (pg. 5, US ARC edition) Sky is terrified and doesn't want to leave Island. River is convinced that without help, they too will die. When they reach California, the two are separated. Sky goes to live with the "grandmother woman" and struggles to adapt to both a new reality and the reason she was on Island in the first place.

In some ways, the writing style reminds me of ROOM by Emma Donoghue, only not as emotionally draining. (Though it's still a draining book in its own way). For example, Sky says things like, "The grandmother woman opens Door, and there she is, standing in Pink Bedroom, looking almost as strange and unfamiliar as she did yesterday as she handed me clothes in Military Hospital." (pg. , US ARC edition) The dialect is distinct and stands out based on Sky's limited view of life. There's so much she doesn't know how to do, from use a toilet to a fork to the concept of money. It's a struggle for her to survive. All she wants to do is return to Island, where life was simple. Watching Sky struggle through daily life and suffer due to how she's been torn away from everything she's ever known and thrown into a foreign reality can be hard. So much of what happens to her pulls on my heartstrings and makes me want to take her back and keep her safe. Or make adapting easier, for both her and River.

There aren't appropriate words for this book, and I know this review doesn't do it justification, especially when trying to keep things spoiler free. But SEARCHING FOR SKY is so different and unique and memorable. It's definitely a hard read, much more serious and somber than the other First Loves titles. And sad, too, so incredibly sad, in so many different types of ways. This is the book the drained me the most and had me more heavily invested than the rest!


Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: mild ( kissing )
Language: mild ( mild language when taught a mild swear word )
Violence: mild ( Nothing too graphic, but there is gun use / talk  )
Other: --
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

This isn't what the cover was originally going to look like. I haven't seen this version in person, but I think it must look really pretty. Those colors are gorgeous, and I want to jump into the scene and stare at that scenery, too.

It's whimsical and haunting, and I love all the shadows. I just really, really like this cover.
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Jillian Cantor
Release Date: May 13, 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens 

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.

Jillian Cantor has a BA in English from Penn State University and an MFA from The University of Arizona. She is the author of award-winning novels for teens and adults including, most recently, the critically acclaimed MARGOT, which was a Library Reads pick for September 2013 and also featured in O the Oprah Magazine, People, Ladies Home Journal, and Time.com. Her next book for teens, SEARCHING FOR SKY, will be published by Bloomsbury US on 5/13/14 and Bloomsbury UK on 7/3/14. A Scholastic edition will also be sold in Scholastic book clubs and fairs in the 2014-15 school year. Born and raised in a suburb of Philadelphia, Jillian currently lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons.

Author Links:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram


Ready to check out

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I'm giving away a Bloomsbury First Loves book of your choice this month! 

(New entries added with each post!)

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  1. The story and the character and their lives! But I love when a story surprises me and when I get to the ending and I'm just like 'WHAT!" and I'm not expecting the ending!

  2. I had heard that it was pitched as "reverse dystopian." I don't know how accurate that is, but it's definitely intriguing, so that helped pull me in. :)

  3. This story really intrigues me! River and Sky seems like two characters I would enjoy getting to know more about. I want to see their relationship and how it will progress throughout the story. One thing that intrigues me is that it looks like a contemporary, but after reading this review... it's not? OMG.

  4. The summary kinda reminds me of the movie Blue Lagoon, just instead on going off the island, they want to return on it. Sounds really interesting and intriguing.


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