Publisher: Tribute Books (February 21, 2012)
Have you ever had someone push a book on you and too eagerly you agree to read it only to discover that the cover promises it will be a big old cheese fest that’s sure to be a HUGE dud even though your friend swears on a stack of whatever religious books she believes in that it’s not? So gingerly you start this book and right off the bat you realize that a) luckily the cover is extremely misleading and for all its cheese, doesn’t fit the tone of the book at all and b) the book is freaking brilliant! Well, friends, I am guilty of this. I am lucky though that my friend kept working on me til I read Night Sky because I would have missed one of the most compelling reads I’ve encountered in a long time. Plus the narrator is male and he’s so mouth-wateringly dreamy that you might just collapse from all the swoon. And no, I’m not being facetious one bit.
High school senior Jameson has been in love with Sarah for as long as he can remember. He adores everything about her except the fact that she can’t see what’s right in front of her: the boy of her dreams, the boy that would do anything to be with her. When Sarah asks him to help her win the heart of a different guy, Jay does it because he wants Sarah to be happy but he crushes his own heart in the process. Then he meets Sky, a neighbor girl who moves in under mysterious circumstances from Alaska. Sky is everything Sarah is not: Native American, willowy, and achingly beautiful, she demands his honesty in all things. After a series of encounters, the two begin a relationship built on a foundation of trust and Jay realizes that what he feels for Sky is something real and valid. Something much different from the relationship he had with Sarah where he couldn’t even tell her his feelings. With Sky, Jay is able to be open and real in a way he finds liberating and intoxicating. As his own parents’ relationship begins to deteriorate, Jay assumes his relationship with Sky is secure. But when Sky reveals a huge secret she’s been hiding from him, Jay realizes he has to choose whether he can forgive her for her lack of honesty and even if he can, if their relationship is strong enough to withstand such a shocking revelation.
I have to warn you: I’m about to wax poetic about a fictional character but boy, oh boy, is it warranted. Jameson. Sigh. It’s a very rare book where a female author can pull off a male protagonist, especially one speaking in the first person. Jolene Perry is like some sort of boy-whisperer who is able to channel the male perspective accurately because Jay’s internal monologue is spot on. It’s exactly what one would expect from a teenage boy: open, honest, at times insecure, at others brash, often a bit racy; he’s confused about his place in the world and just wants to do what’s best. He’s obsessed with his best friend Sarah and thinks she’d never in a million years like him as more than a friend. Throughout the entirety of the book he fails to realize what a catch he really is and it’s exceedingly endearing, reminding us of how insecure we all were in high school, male or female. Jay is such a catch that I’m sure you, like me, will call Sarah a freaking idiot. A lot. I may have actually yelled it at one point and my Kindle will never be the same. The boy is tall, tanned (due to his father’s latino heritage), a state record breaking swimmer who dresses well and has good manners. Hello, hello, where was this kid when I was in high school? Unlike Sarah who prefers to tease and manipulate, Sky, the girl next door, sees how special he is right away. The one thing she demands from him before starting a relationship is that he always be honest. It’s a much more difficult proposition than you would assume. You see, Sky’s life is full of secrets that she’s through with holding in and her move to Vegas, where the story is set, is the catalyst she needs to let all of those secrets out. As these two begin their relationship, it is so heart breaking and real to see Jay discover the person behind Sky’s beautiful and recklessly charming exterior. Despite her apparent perfection, Sky is one of the most likable female characters I have come across. It would have been so easy for her to devolve into one royal B but she never does. She’s refreshing and sweet, endlessly quirky, and honest and direct to a fault. The latter is a rarity in YA fiction where the majority of the female characters attempt to play games or hide themselves behind who they think they should be. Jolene Perry has an amazingly lyrical writing style and her dialogue is superb. The give and take between the two main characters teases us just enough that we are constantly panting for more interaction between them.
In the end, this is a love story about two people, willing to take a chance and learning to trust each other in order to have a mature relationship. The author’s amazing writing and the deceptively simple premise elevate this into a different realm than most YA love stories. It is a story on the edge of adulthood that poses many shocking revelations that most teens will never have to face (hopefully). Like its protagonists, it is honest and direct, holding no punches but offering a real look at the beginning of young love. If you’ve never read this book, I’m so jealous of you.
All in all, this book earns a whopping 10/10.
Based on the following criteria:
How much did I like the hero: 10. Like Wes in Sarah Dessen’s The Truth About Forever, Jameson just has that swoon factor. He’s gorgeous, loving, good mannered, an awesome swimmer (with an awesome swimmer’s body! natch!), introspective, a little naughty on occasion, a helpless romantic, fiercely protective of his mother…I could go on for a while evidently. He’s the sort of hero who makes you realize that he’s just a normal boy trying to live a normal life and has to deal with a whole bunch of crap along the way. He handles his parents’ separation and Sky’s shocking revelations in a much more constructive way than many adults.
How much did I like the love interest:10+. Sky is the perfect heroine. She’s beautiful inside and out and as much as I wanted to hate her for
being the complete package, I couldn’t because she is just so lovably unique. And I’m sure this probably wants to make a lot of you gag but it’s endearing, honest! Her openness is refreshing plus her quirks and the novel way she views things make you want to be her best friend (mainly to help you pick up guys).
How believable is the plot: 10. Kid next door meets Native American girl who is running from her past and attempting to control her future through honest, open communication? Totally see it happening! The fact that the two meet as damaged
souls looking for a way to bridge the hurt they’ve experienced? Totally see it happening times 2! This premise really rings true.
How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 10. Lyrical and fluid, excellent dialogue, two extremely well written and likable main characters, a male POV that is spot on, no notable grammar/spelling mistakes. Girlfriend has got it going on.
How much did I want to keep reading: 10. More Jameson please! Please? (And Jolene Perry must have heard me since she promised a story about Jay visiting Sky’s birth place in Alaska! Swoon all over again!)
Final Score: 10/10. Awesome love story that doesn’t become schmaltzy or maudlin. Two fabulous main characters that are gorgeous and genuine. Superior writing and editing. What’s not to love? I’m already jealous so read it!