Review: Between Two Skies

Hurricane Katrina sets a teenage girl adrift. But a new life — and the promise of love — emerges in this rich, highly readable debut. Bayou Perdu, a tiny fishing town way, way down in Louisiana, is home to sixteen-year-old Evangeline Riley. She has her best friends, Kendra and Danielle; her wise, beloved Mamere; and back-to-back titles in the under-sixteen fishing rodeo. But, dearest to her heart, she has the peace that only comes when she takes her skiff out to where there is nothing but sky and air and water and wings. It’s a small life, but it is Evangeline’s. And then the storm comes, and everything changes. Amid the chaos and pain and destruction comes Tru — a fellow refugee, a budding bluesman, a balm for Evangeline’s aching heart. Told in a strong, steady voice, with a keen sense of place and a vivid cast of characters, here is a novel that asks compelling questions about class and politics, exile and belonging, and the pain of being cast out of your home. But above all, this remarkable debut tells a gently woven love story, difficult to put down, impossible to forget.

This one was an *eh* for me. I really enjoyed the concept of it, quite a lot. However, I had some issues with the writing and the characters. Overall, it was very enjoyable. However, it was written at the level of a younger audience.

To start, I did very much like the concept. The kind of YA books that are “inspired by” real events are really interesting. I wish the genre was more populated. I think it helps readers to connect with the novel and history, especially when the history is fairly recent – like with Hurricane Katrina. I am originally from the area of that storm, and I thought that this interpretation of it was really fascinating, and important.

However, the characters were a bit immature. In most cases, I think this would just help the reader connect with the story, and the incidents written about. Yet, in Between Two Skies, the characters were all being unrealistically selfish with each other, and were quick to throw each other away. I know that tragedies as depicted affect everyone differently, and  do not condemn any one for writing about the hard stuff. Some of my favorite stories are those that are dealing with the ugly side of such things – thus allowing people to have a better connection to the reality. However, in this case, the writing itself did not seem strong enough to support the story telling.

I’m not sure if that will make sense, without having read it. It didn’t read maturely to me, like the writer was trying to make the story more dramatic, in a soap opera way. The incidents that actually happened should have been enough fuel for this story, and I think the error was the attempt to make it more about like a soap opera, which kind of tarnished the story.

Overall, I did very much enjoy this story. I think it is a very important story, as it covers real people from real tragedies. The writing was realatable and upbeat, and I read it fairly quickly. It was a nice read. I think there was a bit to be asked for from the character development and the story arc. But, it was nice overall.

I give Between Two Skies 4 out of 5.


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