Morgan Callahan wants a new life. Her boyfriend is boring, her dad's a drunk, and she doesn't have any friends. The only perfect thing is her relationship with her grandma. So she looks forward to the day she can escape off to college. That'll be it: the day things change. Until then, she'll make do with driving up to the hills and shouting at the top of her lungs.
But unexpectedly, change comes to Morgan. An attraction to a hot co-worker, a kiss from a female classmate and the discovery of a family secret turn Morgan's small-town life upside-down.
The Sky Always Hears Me And The Hills Don't Mind is the story of sixteen year old Morgan, who means to escape her small town and write the Great American Novel someday. Once dubbed 'the walking dictionary' by girls at school, she loves words in a way that makes it almost inevitable that readers who love words will love her too. Each chapter is headed with a pearl of fortune cookie wisdom from the restaurants her beloved grandmother visited whilst touring as a concert pianist, and Morgan punctuates her narrative with wry attempts at fortunes of her own. Her voice is sometimes raw, frequently witty and disarmingly frank. As a narrator, she's just about perfect.
Morgan's story is, to say the least, a knotty one. Her family life is non-existent, with the exception of a doting grandma. On the romantic front, there's her boring but socially acceptable boyfriend Derek, her hot co-worker Rob and her one-off kiss partner Tessa. With all three looming large in her life, she's faced with the classic question of love versus lust: how can she tell the difference, and does she need to? Struggling with this dilemma and small-town gossip of the homophobic variety, Morgan is also hit hard by a revelation about her family's history. Her journey is about deciding who she is, confronting her relationships with others and navigating some moral grey areas. For me, it's a story of a girl who longs to someday leave her small town discovering that she can escape its limitations and expectations now, by being the person she wants to be.
The Sky Always Hears Me And The Hills Don't Mind is a fresh and insightful take on the YA coming-of-age story. It raises more questions than it answers, and though the ending is satisfying we're left with the feeling that Morgan still has far to go. It's a book that will make you think, not a book that will tell you what to think. I'd recommend it to anyone, of any age, anywhere.
Out: 1st September 2009, US