Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Blog Tour: Night Sky by Jolene Perry

I was invited to join the blog tour for Night Sky by Tribute Books. Thank you! I enjoyed this opportunity to read and review a book well outside of my comfort zone.

Title: Night Sky
Author: Jolene Perry
Publisher: Tribute Books
Target Audience: YA
Length: 247 pages
PoV: 1st person
Tense: Past tense

Story: Girl I’ve loved, girl I’m falling for. Now that they’re both in view, the problem is clear. 

After losing Sarah, the friend he’s loved, to some other guy, Jameson meets Sky. Her Native American roots, fluid movements, and need for brutal honesty become addictive fast. This is good. Jameson needs distraction – his dad leaves for another woman, his mom’s walking around like a zombie, and Sarah’s new boyfriend can’t keep his hands off of her. 

As he spends time with Sky and learns about her village, her totems, and her friends with drums - she's way more than distraction. Jameson's falling for her fast. 

But Sky’s need for honesty somehow doesn’t extend to her life story – and Jameson just may need more than his new girl to keep him distracted from the disaster of his senior year.

Thoughts and impressions: This is a case of a book that lies outside my comfort zone. It is fairly rare that I will read books about every day teen issues nowadays (though I did enjoy them when I was a teen myself), and it would seem that this is for a reason. Last month I read a similar book and had a similar experience. In both cases I found myself faced with a book that I recognised as being a good read with a good message, but one that just didn’t really fit my own personal tastes.

I guess that this is really a coming of age story. It was a very interesting decision to choose to write it from a male point of view. There are too few stories of this genre out there with male narrators, though I suppose that this could in part be due to a very restricted male audience for such books. This said, it was a different experience to see a boy tackling issues such as how and when to go forward – when to take that next step in a relationship, when it’s the right time to take things to the physical level for the first time.

It has to be said that, for me, the synopsis was a little misleading. When I read “the disaster of his senior year”, I expected Jameson to be tackling issues in school as well as outside school. I never really felt that his school year was threatened, or that there was ever a point where his high school career was under threat. That said, I am not American so I have no idea just how devastating it would be to be told you will potentially not be allowed to walk at your graduation. I doubt it’s such a big deal that it could be considered that your school life is falling apart, though.

Really, everything goes well for Jameson in school. He’s pretty much on a high as he’s a very strong swimmer competing for the school team with no small modicum of success. Sometimes things spill over from his home life and he seems to spend a day or two moping about, but I seem to remember that being pretty much normal!

Other than the school thing, I quite liked Jameson as a character as he grew and realised that things are not always black and white and there’s a whole range of shades of grey in-between. Sky brought out the best in him when he just comes across her on a street corner (she’s walking home, not ‘working’) and she insists that if they are to be friends then he needs to be honest about absolutely everything. It is through his relationship with her and the honesty that she demands on him that he realises just how dishonest things have been up until this point.

Take Sarah for example, the girl Jameson is “in love with”. The two of them have been best friends for three years. In all that time, he’s secretly liked her but never plucked up the nerve to tell her about it. Now, Sarah’s got a boyfriend – the school’s resident jerk who likes to check out all the ladies. It takes a while but eventually Jameson realises that Sarah’s made her choice: it wasn’t him and he needs to let her make her own mistakes even if it means that their friendship won’t survive. He was never brutally honest with her and now that he’s decided that honesty is the road to take, she doesn’t want to hear his opinions. It’s ironic really, isn’t it? Ignorance (or turning a blind eye as the case may be) really is bliss.

Sky herself is a wonderful character. True, she keeps secrets from Jameson when she demands honesty from him so she’s rather hypocritical in that respect, but she has her reasons. Though I don’t necessarily agree with those reasons, I do understand where she’s coming from and when her secret is revealed my heart broke for her. I can’t even begin to imagine the mental trials and tribulations that such a situation would incur. I liked how open Sky seemed to be; how she was willing to take a chance on a boy who obviously still harboured feelings for another girl; how she forced herself to swallow her fears and face life with a positive outlook.

The events with Jameson’s father also lead to some very powerful scenes. Personally, I wouldn’t have reacted in the same way – while Jameson gives way to his anger, I’m one of those people who swallow everything, simmer in the anger and close a door that it takes a lot to get me to reopen. Consequently, I did find myself frustrated with his actions at times but only because this is written in the first person – I – and “I” would never react in such a manner.

It was also an interesting decision to mix up cultures. Jameson is pretty much American through and through despite his Mexican heritage, but Sky is Native American and she comes from a community in Alaska. I liked the little hints about how things work in her community, their beliefs and how they go about their daily life. It’s fairly rare that I will ever read a book that contains such titbits about Native American life (but only because they’re not featured in the genres that I prefer) so this was a nice change for me.

At the end of the day, this book was a really good, very well told story that will end up with many fans. But it wasn’t the story for me. I prefer what I read to have some form of threat throughout while this story was more the idea of coming to terms with life and growing up. It was a well-crafted piece and conveys a good message about being honest with not only the world around you, but also yourself.

Style: On the whole very good with very few typos having made it through. The author uses an incorrect past conjugation of the verb "to lie". It’s: to lie // lay // has lain although some speakers use laid instead of lay. This author used "lied", which is another verb entirely! (If you’ve ever learnt a foreign language, you’ll recognise that form of learning irregular verbs. Of course, I learnt English as a foreign language (as well as it being my mother tongue) so I had all those irregular forms drilled into me.) So it shouldn’t be "Sky and I lied on the bed" but "Sky and I lay on the bed".

Final verdict: As I mentioned, this is a well-crafted story with a strong message. If I was rating it on its merits as a story, then I’d give it 4, maybe even 5 stars. From a distance, I recognise that it is a very good book. As it is, I’m rating it on how it worked for me, and I found that I was not always interested in how events were progressing due to a lack of threat to the plot. For me, it was a 3 stars read.

Extra notes: Bad language is present. Sex is not but there are a lot of issues about sex brought to the surface.

The book around the net:
Night Sky website
Night Sky on GoodReads

Buy the book:

The author:
Jolene grew up in Wasilla, Alaska. She graduated from Southern Utah University with a degree in political science and French, which she used to teach math to middle schoolers.

After living in Washington, Utah and Las Vegas, she now resides in Alaska with her husband, and two children. Aside from writing, Jolene sews, plays the guitar, sings when forced, and spends as much time outside as possible.

She is also the author of The Next Door Boys and the upcoming Knee Deep.

Find the author:

The Publisher:
Tribute Books' website
Tribute Books' Twitter
Tribute Books' Facebook
Tribute Books Blog Tours on Facebook


  1. Thanks for the honesty. I count on it. :-)

  2. Rea, thanks for the thorough, in-depth review. I'm glad that overall you enjoyed the book.

  3. Wow, what a clear and thorough review! I'm thrilled at how much detail you put into this review, especially since you gave it 3 stars, or so-so. I have this book on my Kindle, but I've had no desire to read it. I want to like what the author is going for, but I hate love triangles and all the issues they bring with it. I'm also not a huge fan of contemporary writing. But I think I will read this book and decide if I like it or not, instead of sitting here wondering lol. Thanks for the great review!

    Alyssa Susanna


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