Author: Jillian Cantor
Synopsis: 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.
Huge thank you to Bloomsbury USA and Netgalley for this ARC!
What can I say about this book. It’s beautiful and heartbreaking. Hopeful and crushing. Bittersweet. I read this book in a day and it was so easy to get caught up in the story. I was able to put it down to do things and then picked it up again and fall right back into what was happening.
Sky and River live on Island, alone, where they hunt and fish and swim and they are happy. Their mother and father are both dead, but they are surviving. Just barely. They’re hungry. Sky, the practical one who is good at everything, is trying hard to take care of them while River, the dreamer, is looking out across Ocean, wondering what’s out there.
Then a boat arrives and Sky and River are taken back to where they came from: modern day California. Sky and River do not live on a utopian island in a world where life is simple. Sky wakes up in a hospital, is shunned by River, and swept away into a fantastical world that scares the hell out of her.
This is a story about a girl who goes from essentially past to present. From a rustic lifestyle to a modern one. And she is so scared. She understood her home, her place, and her relationships on Island. She does not understand anything in her new life. And with River gone, her heart is shattered. In his place is a woman whom Sky doesn’t know or have any connection to other than blood (her grandmother) some strangers who are trying to tell her how to ‘be normal’ and a boy who is kind to her. But none of these people know how to connect with her, and at times I became SO frustrated because they were not even thinking about how to handle Sky.
I felt so bad for Sky through all of this. As I’ve said in past reviews, I know how it is to enter a new culture and not understand it. I could totally sympathize with her, and I wanted to shout at her teacher and therapist SO MUCH. And then her poor Grandmother, who just wanted to love her so badly and regain what she had lost when Sky’s mother disappeared… I felt so bad for her too because she really has no idea how to deal with Sky. And that dynamic was also so heartbreaking.
I can’t really say more without spoiling the book, but everything with how they ended up on the island, Sky’s mother’s past, and River wow… it was all so much. So sad, and after I finished reading this book I just felt a mix of hope and sorrow and it was just incredibly bittersweet.