If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.
Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.
“Love is medicine and dreams are oxygen.”
You know a book is good when you kind find a quote like that in the ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS alone. Ooooh boy.
This story is tragic, beautiful, and hopeful. There are tons of “Big Issues” tackled here, but none of them eclipse the story. You can’t call this a book ABOUT poverty, or a book ABOUT PTSD, or any one thing. It’s a book about struggling through life and finding happiness. Finding love.
I wish we got to see San Francisco. Creek View is a dismal place, but it has its shining “paradises” (hehe) too. But I just wanted more of that payoff at the end.
I’m glad we got to see Josh’s perspective. That made SUCH a difference. We don’t always know why people do things, and the things they do aren’t always right. But life happens and continues. We make mistakes. We move on.
Dylan and Chris were fabulous. They were loyal. Gosh, I’d love to see how Chris handles Boston and handles being around HIS people. I would love to see little Seanie grow up with two loving parents. I just can’t get enough of these people.
Marge is a gem. She’s been through so much, yet has such a capacity to love. Sky and Josh are so lucky to have her on their side.
I wish the Blake bit got a bit more attention. He seemed to really like Skylar, but he got kind of forgotten along the way. It must hurt to know that the person you like prefers your wounded sibling… like, what’s wrong with YOU?! Or even how he wants to care for his brother and doesn’t really know how. Blake’s always been overshadowed by Josh. He’s never had that chance to escape. And you kind of have to feel sorry for the guy. I wish he could have MORE.
That’s it. I just want more, more, more, because everything about this book was just right. Touching and thought-provoking. Perfect(ly imperfect).
- Something Like Normal – Trish Doller
- Where the Stars Still Shine – Trish Doller
- Such a Rush – Jennifer Echols
- Eleanor and Park – Rainbow Rowell
- The Impossible Knife of Memory – Laurie Halse Anderson