FINDING SKY by Joss Stirling
Series: Benedicts #1)
Oxford University Press
Released: October 7, 2010
Source: Amazon UK
Page Count: 320
Rating: Really liked it!
Discovering your soulmate has never been so dangerous.
"You have half our gifts, I have the other . . . "
When English girl, Sky, catches a flimpse of bad boy Zed in her new American high school, she can't get him out of her head. He talks to her with his thoughts. He reads her mind. He is the boy she will love forever. Shadows stalk her past but a new evil threatens her future. Sky must face the dark even if it means losing her heart.
After reading a number of glowing reviews, the latest of which being Sarah's at Feeling Fictional, I finally broke down and placed an order through Amazon UK. (There will be a few more UK books reviewed on this site, as I figured that if I'm already paying for shipping, I might as well get a few more!) And I am so glad I did! This was a great book.
I've mentioned this before, but I am adopted and love reading about well-written adopted characters. Though I was a little disappointed with Sky's parents, Sky herself is an honest portrayal of a wounded, adopted child who is still working through her memories of abuse and abandonment. I was lucky enough not to have to go through any of that, but I have a friend who did, and Sky's personality and actions perfectly mirrored those of that friend. Kudos to Joss Stirling for tacking such a difficult subject with aplomb.
One of my favorite quotes came right in the beginning of the book. "I'd seen plenty of films about American schools and was feeling more than a little insecure about my new place of education . . . I'd never fit in if the movies turned out to be true." That was exactly how I felt on my first day of high school! Thankfully, a lot of kids were just as nerdy, if not more so, than I was. I also loved Sky's neighbor, Mrs. Hoffman, who is described as "not requir[ing] anyone else to participate in her conversations." She reminded me of my favorite Brit - my nan, who is a hairdresser and can talk incessantly for hours. Ironically, a page later she is described as being not very British, but it still made my day!
It was refreshing to read a book wherein the main female protagonist does not immediately fall head over heels, always and forever, nauseatingly in love with the male protagonist. I loved that Sky fought to maintain her independence and did not immediately believe everything Zed told her. Sure, he's a sweet guy (... eventually), but that doesn't mean she has to lose herself in him! I hope more authors writing with a female audience in mind will pick up this trend in the future, as girls need more strong literary role models like Sky.
I found the pacing to be a little off about 2/3 of the way through the book - after a major action sequence, Sky kind of goes off into la-la land for a little while. Though her state of mind was understandable, it was a little jarring to go from tension-action-drama to such a lull in the action. Another issue was the dialogue. The Americans did not sound at all authentic. I wish that authors would work with someone from whatever culture they're trying to write in order to make the dialogue sound more authentic! (Before anyone says anything, I am including American writers as well. I know how bad they sound trying to write non-American characters.) Honestly, though, these were the only issues I had with the book, and for the most part it's easy to gloss over them.
I can't wait to read more from Joss Stirling! The sequel, Stealing Phoenix, will be out this fall - at least in the UK, you lucky ducks!