The Sky is Yours, by Chandler Klang Smith

I picked up Chandler Klang Smith's novel The Sky is Yours for two reasons: I liked the cover art, and several reviewers compared it to a Jane Austen novel. I still like the cover art, but the Austen comparison is a total bait-and-switch. Both novelists touch on similar issues—sex, marriage, social position—but they're about as similar as cherry cough syrup and an actual cherry.

Once a major metropolis, Empire Island is now largely in ruins. There are still a handful of impossibly wealthy landowners (and plenty of poor people who live short, unpleasant lives), but the island has been decimated by random bursts of dragonfire. The plot centers around three of Empire Island's odder inhabitants: spoiled reality star Duncan Humphrey Ripple V, Baroness Swan Lenore Dahlberg, his equally spoiled betrothed, and Abby, the wild girl who saves him when he crash-lands on an island of trash. The three come together and separate several times over the course of the novel, each discovering their own path to maturity.

The Sky is Yours is one of the many books I wish had been written as a young adult novel. YA books are generally held to certain storytelling standards, including a satisfying—if not always happy—ending. (Plus, they're cheaper.) As a novel aimed at adults, Smith's book feels free to ignore those narrative conventions, becoming instead a collection of half-baked ideas, “poetic” language (the author never met a punchy sentence fragment she didn't like), and interesting characters who never quite gel into realistic ones. Forget Jane Austen, what this novel really reminded me of was Twin Peaks: stylish, clever, frequently funny, yet fundamentally hollow.
Posted by: Julianka


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