Searching for Sky by Jillian Cantor

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Searching for Sky by Jillian Cantor

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: A lovely character study of a girl "rescued" from her island home and brought back to civilisation. It's beautiful but not always an easy read because it asks some uncomfortable and difficult questions. Fans of romantic and action dystopia such as Hunger Games may be a bit disappointed. More sophisticated readers won't be - they will love it.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: July 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 1408846640

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River is everything to Sky. Since her mother and Helmut died, this girl and boy are the only two human beings on the Island. River is the only boy Sky has ever known. Their life is simple, calm and fulfilling. Until, one day, a boat comes and everything changes.

Taken back to civilisation, to the world her mother left behind, Sky is separated from River. Sky hates everything about California - its houses, its rules, its people who don't tell her the truth. And so she sets out to find River. But when she does, she discovers the truth and why it is keeping them apart. Can anything make it right?

I really enjoyed Searching for Sky. It's beautifully written for starters - lovely, flowing prose and a real sense of personal intensity. How does it feel to be completely uprooted? How does it feel to have all your beliefs and understandings about the world taken away from you? How does it feel to be among total strangers, without your lifelong companion?

Behind this, the book is also quite brave, and brave on several levels. It asks some very uncomfortable questions. Are we to blame for the actions of those who went before us? Will the child of evil also be evil? Is our consumer-driven society a hollow thing, bent on destroying the natural world and all its beauty? It's also brave enough to concentrate on all these existential questions and eschew a twisting plot. There isn't that much action in Searching for Sky. It's all about character study.

These are all things that made me enjoy this story immensely but it may not satisfy adrenalin-hungry readers who are looking for their next dystopian fix post Hunger Games and Divergent. When this story calls itself a reverse dystopia, it doesn't mean that it has a kick-ass heroine doing battle against the forces of evil. I think this is a good thing, but it's something you should realise before you decide to read.

Searching for Sky comes highly recommmended for all readers who like getting inside the head of the central character,who enjoy pondering philosophical questions and who love a well-crafted sentence. That would be a reader like me!

If Searching for Sky appeals, you may also enjoy Room by Emma Donoghue, The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean by David Almond or The Island at the End of the World by Sam Taylor.

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Buy Searching for Sky by Jillian Cantor at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Searching for Sky by Jillian Cantor at


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