Monday, June 10, 2013

About the Book (from Playlist YA Fiction)

"I live in the in between. Between what if and what is. It’s how I manage. It’s the only way I know. Everyone has their way. This is mine.
When high school cell phone disruption forces a classroom ban, the words on a Post-it note spark a sticky romance between two unlikely friends. Transfer student Talia Vanderbilt has one goal at her new school: to blend in with the walls. Lagan Desai, basketball captain and mathlete, would do just about anything to befriend the new girl. One Post-it note at a time, Lagan persuades Talia to peel back her heart, slowly revealing her treasure chest of pain—an absent mother, a bedridden brother, and an abusive father. In a world where hurt is inevitable, the two teens search for a safe place to weather the storms of life. Together."
Amber's Review

With vivid (sometimes painfully so) details and a plot that reads like poetry, Swimming Through Clouds is a story that pulls you under but allows enough sweet breaths of air to keep you from drowning in the sorrow. And there is a lot of sorrow - from terrifying flashbacks to present helplessness to future fears. Seeing the suffering that Talia and her brother face is troubling, and hearing about her mother's tragedies is heartbreaking.

Yet the blossoming friendship between Talia and Lagan is beautiful. Their moments together, and Lagan's steadfastness and thoughtfulness and patience, paint the sunset and sunrise colors on an otherwise black scene. They are an unconventional, unique couple, and their story - while surprising, in the sense of finding a young man with such maturity - is sweet, indeed.

The story is rather slow, perhaps a bit like the experience of swimming through clouds might be, but the gripping suspense and hope make it easy to be engaged through the whole book. The creative inclusion of a story from Scripture, as well as the focus on faith through a symbolic setting near and dear to Talia, is neat. And while the ending isn't the nicely wrapped happily-ever-after that can be enjoyable to read, it is fitting and not without hope, despite the uncertainties. Swimming Through Clouds is not a light read, but it is an eye-opening one full of difficult realities and compassion.

*With thanks to the author and publisher for providing me with a copy of the e-book, which I won via a newsletter giveaway. I was not required to write a review.*



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