Searching for Sky by Jillian Cantor
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.
Searching for Sky was beautiful and unique story that draws you into the world that Sky and River have been living for the last 14 years. All Sky and River have known is the island, Sky's mum Petal and River's dad Helmut have been dead for a bit now and fish are becoming scarce. Then on Sky's birthday River spots a boat and River unlike Sky wants to leave the island, to not starve and to back to where they came from, California.
All Sky and River know is how to survive on the island, California is completely different to what they know. We learn that Helmut was a cult leader and before taking off on a boat that crashed on the island murdered everyone who he didn't think belonged. It was slightly heart-breaking to understand what Sky felt like when she learn't all of this about Helmut when she saw him as a father figure. In California Sky is actually Megan which was her name before the island and she has a grandmother called Alice who takes her in after not knowing if she was alive for the last 14 years. River is called Lucas and since he is 18 he has no one to look after him and everyone hating him because of who his father is.
While Sky is separated from River it is hard for her to understand everything that is going on around her with it all being different than before. Ben is her grandmothers next-door neighbour who is Sky's age and is there for her whilst she starts to learn everything about this world that she is in. Ben was a really great character and was fantastic for Sky to help her learn about the world and friends as well.
The story is written quite simplistic which suits the story as Sky doesn't have a large vocabulary and is learning all these different words and meanings. The secrets that Sky finds out breaks her heart and causes her to start searching for River and intensify's her need to get back to the island. The story is heart-breaking as Sky learn's of what happened before they left and what happens after is like a knock-down on her after learning everything that she has in the short time period which a dangerous lesson for her and River.
Searching for Sky is a beautiful, heart-breaking novel about learning to belong and the journey that it takes. Recommend for everyone!
Thanks Bloomsbury Australia for the review copy!