ARC Review: The Sky Between You and Me by Catherine Alene

theskybetweenyouandmereview

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. 


30063029Title: The Sky Between You and Me
Author: Catherine Alene
Release Date: Feb 1st, 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Format: eARC
Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

3STARRATINGBNM


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.

“I stand

Grab my bag

Well, I-

“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

 Isn’t attractive

Nobody

Likes to hug

A skeleton

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? 

regsig

 

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42 thoughts on “ARC Review: The Sky Between You and Me by Catherine Alene

  1. I like that quote, “nobody likes to hug a skeleton” haha… I’ll keep that in mind when I feel like I need to diet.. haha.. The title of the book is cute. I was also eyeing this book. I’m glad to know now that it’s not so good. I don’t know if I can handle 75% of friendship and boy drama.. Excellent review Melissa! You helped me deciding about reading this book much more easier!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Her best friend and boyfriend sound horrible! I think that’s a part I really wouldn’t like either. I like when books have meaning and lessons within them, but like you I hate when it’s overshadowed with pointless things just to try to give the book a bit of drama. I’m glad you stuck with it and enjoyed some parts though! Your review is great :).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review Melissa, this sounds like a really good book but yeah the best friend and the boyfriend do not sound like decent characters. In fact when I first read the quote I thought Asia would turn out the be the character Rae did not like and who she wanted to beat in Nationals, not at all someone who was supposed to be her best friend!
    Still yeah this can be a sensitive subject for some people but it sounds like the author did an amazing job writing about it. I’ve never actually read a book in verse before but I have a few on my to-read list, one I think you recommended in one of your Standalone Sunday posts if I’m remembering correctly.
    I’m glad overall this was a good book for you, it’s just a shame about how some of the characters were portrayed is all. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Beth!! 💕
      It was an alright read. Definitely would have been better with less drama. But yeah, I was not a fan of the best friend or the boyfriend. They both had their moments and in the beginning I did like them but both turn very absent and make comments I just really didn’t like.
      She really did. I was blown away by it and I feel like it has a lot to do with the author’s own experiences.
      Yep! I recommended Chasing Brooklyn which is still by far the best book written in verse that I’ve read. I have another on my TBR for this year I think that was recommended to me by someone last year. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s all right! 😀 ❤
        It does sound like it would have been an amazing book if there has been better supporting characters; mainly the best friend and the boyfriend. I'm sure they did have their redeeming qualities but it's more the fact that they needed to be redeemed you know
        Ohh, so the author drew on her own experiences for this book, that certainly makes me more interested in it in a way.
        Yes that was probably it, it's still on my to-read list, and one day I'll get around to it. It may even be my first verse book that I read! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, I think it would have been great with better supporting characters. That’s actually what I was expecting going into it and so when they turned out to not be so great it was disappointing. That true. Also the fact that no one was ever called out for their rude comments.
        Yep she did! In the author’s note she talks about having drawn from her own experience of having an eating disorder when she wrote Rae’s character.
        I can’t wait to see your thoughts when you do get to it. 😃♥

        Liked by 1 person

      • A lot of the times with books like this (not fantasy books that is) it’s the supporting characters that kind of make the story for me, that and their relationships with the main character.
        Oh that is interesting, it must have made the book feel more real in a way knowing it was based on personal experience.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s the same for me. I tend to gravitate more towards contemporaries with strong supporting characters. I mean realistically there is drama and people fight but there’s drama and then there’s too much drama, you know?
        It really did. The way she described certain things I could tell that she either did her research really well or was drawing from personal experience.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a fantastic review! I do not read many title center upon mental health issues. I cannot recall having ever read one about an eating disorder. I have to admit, I think Asia sounds completely terrible! I probably would have been disconnected the moment other events began pulling away from the main topic because it is an important and relevant. Sounds like you were not a fan of that either. Sadly, I see many readers complaining about that when a book focuses on an health issue.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Danielle!! 💕
      I actually think this was the first book I’ve read about an eating disorder. It’s not something I see appear often in books.
      I’m not even sure how I continued it at points. There were days I went without reading just because of everything pulling away from the main topic and how frustrating that was. I feel like a lot of the times in books that focus on mental health or health issues in general there’s a tendency to throw in extra drama that isn’t needed to “spice up” the book for readers. In my opinion most would be a million times better without all the extra.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think you are right. And I believe the “spice” is added with the right intentions. They want to attract many readers and keep them engaged, but then it spirals out of hand. the story becomes too muddled to actually focus on the important. It is sad 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s true. And truthfully it isn’t so bad when there’s just a little drama. Especially with a high school aged story but yeah it can definitely get a bit out of hand. It’s all about balance when dealing with important topics, I think.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I didn’t know this was written in verse! I’m not so sure that I’d like it, especially after reading your review, and the quotes can be somewhat offensive, I think. Are the characters called out in the book or were these scenes just dismissed?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I almost requested it on netgalley but decided against it! Pretty wise decision I guess, because I wasn’t really into books written in verse 😂😂 anywayyy, this sounds like a bit of bummer that the drama overshadowed what’s important. Especially considering the issues like family death, grief, and eating disorders. But I’m glad to hear that the ending wasn’t too good to be true! 😀 also the boyfriend sounds like an offensive jerk 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Definitely a wise decision. The formatting of the ARC was a little off too so it was hard to read at times 🙈.
      But yeah the drama focus was really disappointing. Especially considering all of those important topics. And the boyfriend was definitely a jerk. My jaw dropped when he said what I quoted in my review. No one even called him out and I really didn’t like that. 😖

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Fantastic review, Melissa! I don’t usually read many books that deal with such serious topics, which is why I’m tempted to pick this one up. I also haven’t read a book in verse, so that would also be something different for me to try. However, it bothers me that you mentioned the author tended to focus on the friend and boyfriend drama rather than the medical and mental issues the main character is struggling with, as well as death and grief. I’m glad that she portrayed the disorder in a raw and realistic fashion though. However, it’s a bit disappointing that she didn’t provide the protagonist with strong friendships. I think that would definitely have enriched the book’s theme. But I’m glad the ending was fairly strong and realistic. I think I might pick this one up in the future, but I won’t hold too high expectations for it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Azia!! 💕
      Yeah, there was a lot of focus on friend and boyfriend drama rather than anything else. Toward the end it did start to focus more but a good chunk of it had a lot of drama. I do agree with you that having stronger friendships would have made it better. It certainly could have done with that. But yeah the ending was pretty good. I’d say if you’re interested in it then go for it. You could end up liking it and the portrayal of the important topic was pretty great for the most part. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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