May 29, 2014

Searching for Sky - Jillian Cantor

Searching for Sky - Jillian Cantor
Searching for Sky by Jillian Cantor
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Source/Format: Publisher (Thanks Bloomsbury!) || ARC
[I received this book for review from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

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. (from Goodreads)

Searching for Sky was certainly a surprise. It is very moving, my heart going out to Sky as she struggles to make sense of her reality. It is also really unique, as it happens to be different from any story I’ve read before. There was drama, unsurprisingly, an amount that really toed the line between acceptable and over the top. In the end, I really wound up liking it.

Honestly, the biggest draw of this book has everything to do with Sky. She still feels like a stranger on some level, particularly because she’s unsure about what she likes, doesn’t like and so on. But I found her struggle to adapt to a new reality (“our” world) after being made to leave the reality she’s known all her life on the Island incredibly easy to relate to. Being put in a new situation is never easy, and Sky has it harder than any of us. The things that we might take for granted – clothing, bathrooms, beds, food, television, houses, and so on – are things she’s never known of. So she doesn’t really understand how or why or what they really are to her. It made me appreciate what I had, but it also made my heart break for her.

There’s also the relationships she had and has – with her mom, with River, with River’s father, with her grandmother, with Ben. Her relationships actually become the most defining part of her life, aside from her individual struggle. Most of these relationships were fraught with complications, issues of trust and love and loyalty. The most natural of all her ties was to River, a companionship and trust born of being the only two people of an age together on the Island. Their shared history and adventures gave them a special bond, and it broke my heart when they were separated.

Really, Searching for Sky is a simple story with threads of emotional complexity woven into it. Every single thing that occurs felt organic, felt right in the face of all Sky is going through. One thing that did catch me off guard? The explanation for why they were on Island in the first place. It was definitely out of left field for me, but it did wind up feeling like a proper rationale.

Though I did find the ending a touch too dramatic, I still appreciated the entirety of Searching for Sky. It’s definitely not your usual contemporary read! While it’s definitely sadder than other reads, I’d still say it’s worth a try if you’re itching to read something a bit different from the usual.


  1. I'm definitely going to give this one a go soon. I love the fish-out-of-water type stories, especially when it's someone being plopped into our world---always seems to make me appreciate life and reminds me not to take things for granted :) I can' wait to find out why they were on the Island! It sounds like an intriguing twist!

  2. I've seen a couple reviews of this one and they all make it seem like this one is worth checking out! Definitely feel like most people can relate to Sky in some way, even though most of us have never been raised on a remote island! Great review!


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