Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Published by Macmillan on February 3rd 2015
Format: Hardcover (388 pages) • Source: Gift
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If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.
Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.
Man, what a book. I was a bit hesitant in a general sense for this book – despite all of the hype and excitement everyone else felt for it – just because it didn’t sound like a ME book at all. It seemed like a grittier contemporary with PTSD, poverty – you name it. For some reason books involving the military don’t work for me. However, this book definitely exceeded my personal expectations and I ended up liking it a lot more than expected.
I loved that the issues explored within this book really aren’t seen much in other stories. Sky and Josh are from a really poor town called Creek View, where Sky lives in a trailer park with her mom. She works at a little motel that rarely gets visitors and her mom just got let go from Taco Bell. Sky’s dad died in a drunk driving accident. Josh returned from Afghanistan and is down to only one leg. He has nightmares and flashbacks; he’s not the same person he was when he left. See? Lots of things I’m generally not used to seeing or reading about – from socioeconomic status to trailer parks to PTSD.
I really liked the small town of Creek View. It reminded me of my hometown in a FEW ways. I can’t lie – my hometown was definitely more towards the upper middle class… but it was very small and everyone knew each other. The setting of the Paradise Motel was pretty amazing for me. I loved the themed rooms, Sky’s relationship with Marge, and really what that place meant to the people that worked there. I wish there was even MORE explored within it.
Again, this story was really different for me. I didn’t know what to expect. The last time I read a book involving the military that everyone loved (cough), it didn’t pan out so well. Both that book and this book were VERY VERY hyped from my fellow book bloggers. So, I went into it with a kind of cautious optimism: I was hoping it’d be different (check), emotional (somewhat check), and that I’d end up loving it like everyone else (pretty much check).
The biggest issue for me is that I just wasn’t as emotionally connected as other readers. It’s weird because it’s a very emotional story overall, between Josh’s PTSD and Sky’s poverty/family relationships, but just didn’t hit me as hard as I thought. I don’t know if it was just the hype being an issue or if it’s just me. I think I expected to be bawling my eyes out a few times (which I’ve been known to do during books) and it didn’t happen. With that aside though, this was a seriously fantastic story. And on that note… JOSH + SKY 4—>
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