Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. All quotes are from the ARC and subject to change.
Author: Catherine Alene
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Lighter. Leaner. Faster.
Raesha will do whatever it takes to win Nationals. For her, competing isn’t just about the speed of her horse or the thrill of the win. It’s about honoring her mother’s memory and holding on to a dream they once shared.
Lighter. Leaner. Faster.
For an athlete. Every second counts. Raesha knows minus five on the scale will let her sit deeper in the saddle, make her horse lighter on her feet. And lighter, leaner, faster gives her the edge she needs over the new girl on the team, a girl who keeps flirting with Raesha’s boyfriend and making plans with her best friend.
So Raesha focuses on minus five. But if she isn’t careful, she will lose more than just the people she loves. She will lose herself to Lighter. Leaner. Faster.
I was so excited to read this because one, I love books written in verse, and two, I knew it was going to be covering an important topic. Now that I’ve read it, I’m left with a lot of mixed feelings. There were so many times where I was beyond frustrated. I nearly marked this as DNF twice. However, it portrayed the topic very realistically. I’ll admit that I don’t have very much knowledge when it comes to eating disorders but you could tell that this author knew what she was writing about. The frustrating part? For a good chunk of the book other things overshadowed that important topic.
The Sky Between You and Me is about a girl named Rae who is a competitive horseback rider. She and her friends compete in their town’s rodeo every year and this year Rae is determined to win at Nationals no matter what. While in the midst of struggling with how much she misses her mom (who passed away before the beginning of the book), her eventual obsession with winning, and the introduction of a new girl who seems perfect in every way that she isn’t, Rae begins to develop an eating disorder.
Sound pretty straight forward? It wasn’t. In the beginning, when we’re first introduced to the new girl, Kierra, an accident happens that leads to Rae not liking Kierra at all. By accident, I mean that Kierra had no control over what happened. The dislike that said accident fosters leads to a lot of friendship and boy drama that takes up about 75% of the book and at times completely overshadowed what I knew the author was trying to accomplish.
There was also this one part with Rae and her group of friends where her best friend, Asia, actually calls her out on not eating in front of everyone. The words that were spoken and the manner in which it happened had my jaw dropping. I couldn’t believe it. What “best friend” does that? Toward the end, the author tries to give Asia some redemption but I couldn’t get past that.
Grab my bag
“What?” Asia says. “You don’t want something to eat? That’s a shocker.”
And don’t even get me started on her boyfriend, Cody. That is a whole other can of worms that I don’t even have the energy to open. He also made an offhanded comment that I really didn’t like. In the beginning I liked him but by the end I couldn’t stand him.
“Getting so thin
Likes to hug
He says as he chews”
So, yeah, I felt that most of this book lacked in the friendship department. It had its moments but they were far and few between.
All of that aside, there were aspects of this book that made me glad that I choose to stick with it.
The portrayal of a family struggling with loss – Rae and her dad are both struggling with the loss of a wife and mother. The way Catherine Alene wove this family dynamic was so honest and heartbreaking. Books written is verse require very little in the realm of words but it didn’t even matter because I could feel the grief they were going through and it broke my heart. I also loved the relationship Rae and her dad had. Sure, it was a bit strained at times but they had a great father/daughter relationship.
The way in which Catherine Alene wrote Rae’s growing struggles as she develops an eating disorder was so raw and realistic. I can’t even count the number of times that I sat there reading with tears in my eyes because all I wanted was for someone to notice how much Rae was struggling. Not point it out in a negative fashion like her friend did but notice so that they could get her the help she needed. You could tell that the author knew firsthand what she was portraying in Rae. Which is something that she actually goes into detail about in her author’s note.
Also, the ending. I won’t go into any detail but it wasn’t an ending wrapped up in pretty bows. It was realistic and I enjoyed that fact.
Is this a book that I would recommend to everyone? If you can push past everything that frustrated me then I say go for it because it does depict an important topic very well. However, a lot of the bad did overshadow the good and if you’re a reader who does get easily frustrated, like me, then you may want to pass on it.
Have you read The Sky Between You and Me? What were your thoughts? If not, do you plan to read it once it’s released?