Island Eyes, Island Skies Review

Island Eyes, Island Skies by Richard Levine

Feathered Tale Publishers, 2011. 978-0-9829269-0-1

Synopsis: Tall, smart-alecky D.C. meets introspective Rob at her cousin’s birthday party and the two become fast friends, promising to keep in touch over the summer but family tragedies prevent the two from talking. They are reunited at school in the fall and their friendship grows over the school year. When tragedy strikes again, the two lean on each other for support and understanding while everything else seems to be shattering around them.

Why I picked it up: The author emailed me and asked if I would review it for the blog. The subject matter struck me as interesting and I am a sucker for new reading materials.

Why I finished it: I don’t remember a lot about junior high (and for good reason, I suppose), but I do remember the shift in emotions and the shifts in social circles. It’s more common to see girls have boys as friends without being a tomboy, but even that is not even as easy as it seems. Levine approaches this dichotomy from the beginning where D.C. and Rob meet at the birthday party – the two of them are talking and getting to know each other, but most of the rest of the room believes that love is in the air (and maybe it is….). The story jumps between Rob and D.C., whose unique voices bring them and the story to life. Levine has accurately portrayed the feelings and emotions associated with love, loss, and friendship that drive the story and keep the reader enticed and wanting to know what happens next. It reminded me of a much mellower version of The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky – the first person voice has a conversational tone that doesn’t alienate the reader and gives the sense that the characters know and understand what we are going through, even though we experience things in different ways. It is heart-breaking, humorous, and speaks to and touches the reader in unexpected ways.

Other related materials: Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume; Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume; Then Again, Maybe I Won’t by Judy Blume; Forever… by Judy Blume; Just As Long As We’re Together by Judy Blume; It’s Not The End of the World by  Judy Blume; Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen; This Place Has No Atmosphere by Paula Danzinger; The Cat Ate My Gymsuit by Paula Danzinger; Everyone Else’s Parents Said Yes by Paula Danzinger; Not For A Billion Gazillion Dollars by Paula Danzinger; The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

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