Monday, January 12, 2015
Book Review: The Same Sky
Shortly after moving to New Jersey, I was in a Starbucks and they had those shelves where you could take and leave books. I found one called How to be Lost, by Amanda Eyre Ward, and decided to see what it was about. I was instantly absorbed and deeply moved by the story. Soon after, I checked out her other two books that were available at the time, Sleep Toward Heaven and Forgive Me. Both were equally amazing. I even recommended them all to my mom, who loved them too. So when I found out about Amanda publishing her latest novel, The Same Sky, I immediately requested it from NetGalley and started reading it as soon as I was given access. All I know is that Amanda hasn't let me down yet and I need to go back and read Close Your Eyes, which I missed the first time around.
Alice and her husband, Jake, own a barbecue restaurant in Austin, Texas. Hardworking and popular in their community, they have a loving marriage and thriving business, but Alice still feels that something is missing, lying just beyond reach.
Carla is a strong-willed young girl who’s had to grow up fast, acting as caretaker to her six-year-old brother Junior. Years ago, her mother left the family behind in Honduras to make the arduous, illegal journey to Texas. But when Carla’s grandmother dies and violence in the city escalates, Carla takes fate into her own hands—and with Junior, she joins the thousands of children making their way across Mexico to America, facing great peril for the chance at a better life.
In this elegant novel, the lives of Alice and Carla will intersect in a profound and surprising way. Poignant and arresting, The Same Sky is about finding courage through struggle, hope amid heartache, and summoning the strength—no matter what dangers await—to find the place where you belong. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)
Both Carla and Alice were sympathetic characters who had difficulties in their lives that they were trying to overcome. Alice is trying to find other ways to be a mother that don't involve the heartache of trying to adopt again. (Since she had cancer a while back, the medicines made conception difficult for her.) Reading about her chance to be a mom and having it taken away so quickly was definitely heartbreaking. And Carla is so young, but has to grow up quickly to be able to fend for herself and keep her brother safe and out of trouble. Her goal is to find her mother and the journey to America is dangerous. Carla's story was almost like reading about someone during wartime. (I was book multi-tasking with The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah and easily saw some parallels). Some parts were heavier as a result, and disturbing to even imagine.
While it took a while to try to figure out the connection between Carla and Alice, once it fell into place, it took my breath away. I had all these different ideas for how they could be connected at all and didn't see this one coming. Amanda is good with throwing twists like this into her stories and The Same Sky was no exception. She's still an author I highly recommend and I can't wait to see what she comes out with next.
Thanks to Random House (Ballantine) for the book, which I accessed through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.