Thursday, 7 October 2010
Review: Finding Sky - Joss Stirling
Lucky for Sky, the Brights came along and adopted her. When the family move from England to Colorado, Sky thinks her biggest problem is going to be fitting in at a US high school. She doesn't count on handsome American Zed, or the strange connection they share. She definitely doesn't count on the fact that finding the guy of her dreams will also put them both in terrible danger...
With so many paranormal romance titles now available for the YA market, Finding Sky is something a little bit different. Where many books in the genre see a mortal girl falling for a boy who's really a supernatural being, the pairing at the centre of Joss Stirling's debut are both as ordinary - and as special - as each other. Protagonist Sky and love interest Zed are regular teenagers who happen to possess remarkable paranormal abilities. The result? A tale that combines elements of the magic PR formula with its own original lore.
Having been adopted by the Brights at the age of ten, Sky accompanies them when they relocate from Richmond, England to Colorado, USA. The only British teenager in town, her experiences with adjusting to American life - especially high school - are bound to pique the interest of UK readers. Described as petite, blonde and adorable, Sky is the kind of character who isn't always taken as seriously as she would like. But while her diminutive stature is something of an in-joke, she's no pushover. She's sassy, shrewd and yet still has the same insecurities than many teenagers do. Refreshingly, her initial reaction to the seemingly arrogant Zed isn't to swoon and fall into his arms, but to assume he's a complete jerk. She's also convincingly sceptical about the whole paranormal deal, too. Soulmates? It's a nice idea, but she's not buying it without proof. Smart girl.
The romance itself probably isn't one that will sweep readers off their feet; a little understated, it's not the kind of intense melodramatic love story that you often find in this genre. It feels genuine, and it's easy to relate to - even with all the paranormalness going on. What far surpasses the romance, however, is the way that the paranormal is portrayed in the story. Joss Stirling has created a fascinating world within our world where those with a variety of psychic powers live among us. Since readers won't have already devoured scores of books about savants and soulfinders, this aspect of the novel has to be the main attraction. Between this and the well-constructed mystery behind Sky's own identity, it's a reminder that there's more to paranormal romance than girl-meets-immortal-boy. And while the ending is a satisfying one, it leaves just enough tantalising questions unanswered to leave this reader hoping that there'll be a sequel.
Finding Sky is an interesting variation on the paranormal romance genre. It has a certain individuality that hardcore fans of the genre will appreciate. It's fresh and it's unpredictable and will keep readers guessing until the very last page.
Out: October 7th 2010, UK
A big thanks to OUP for providing a review copy of this book.