Finding Sky by Joss Stirling (review copy) - "You have half our gifts, I have the other..."
When English girl Sky, catches a glimpse of bad boy Zed in her new American high school, she can't get him out of her head. He talks to her with his thoughts. He reads her mind. He is the boy she will love for ever. Dark shadows stalk her past but a new evil threatens her future. Sky must face the dark even if it means losing her heart. From Amazon UK
This book was just so good! There are quite a lot of YA paranormal romances around these days, a lot of vampires, werewolves and angels. I love them all, but in Finding Sky, we have something new; Savants. People with special abilities. You know that question people sometimes ask - if there's any super power you could have, what would it be? A fair number of responses you could come up with are found in the pages of this book.
There was something strangely unique to this storyline, even though at it's very basic level, it's not completely different from other stories we know. Girl moves to new place, makes friends, and is drawn to this rude guy who isn't all he seems. Boy and girl fall in love, then bad stuff happens. How many books can you think of that that sounds like? The thing is, it works! How many of those same books are huge among their fans? And I think Finding Sky will be the same. But as I said, there's something strangely unique about the story. Could it be the characters, who seem like they've stepped out of a movie and into the pages of a book, they're THAT lifelike? OR the beautiful scenery? Or the whole idea of what the Benedicts do, that leads to the conflict? I have got to say, that is just genius! Superheroes in their own right!
Although I've just said "superheroes", do not think Spiderman, Superman, Batman, or any other "insert here"-man. They have ordinary lives too. Zed is the bad boy at the school; staggeringly gorgeous, never looks twice at any girl in town, and treats everyone like crap - yet there's something else to him. Think Alex Fuentes, but with a special ability. Ok, I know to some, liking Zed to Alex Fuentes is going to cause them to think, "Yeah, right!" But I'm serious. Really.
Then there's Sky. She's short, has a silly name (Sky Bright - she's heard it all before), and has a dark past she's blocked out. She has her quirks; she daydreams and enjoys thinking of things in storyboard/comic form, but she also has a mind of her own. For a good part of the book, she doubts what she is being told. Special powers? Yeah, ok. She's Zed's Soulfinder - the one and only for those with special abilities, mate for life? Oh, come on, life is not a fairy tale. This is all just some clever ploy to make a fool out of her. And I love her for it! This is the first time I've really seen a YA paranormal romance protagonist really fight against believing the impossible, and it's so refreshing!
There are lots of other characters that are awesome, but if I went on about them, it would take too long. I will just say bom-chika-wow-wow about Zed's brothers, Trace, Uriel, Victor, Will, Xavier and Yves! Sally and Simon, Sky's parents, are lovely and wacky. And Sky's friends Tina, Nelson and Zoe are just too cool! Love them all!
I've touched on the plot and the conflict. I really can't go into anymore detail without spoiling the book for you, but it's just brilliant! I can only think of one series of books that comes anywhere close, but that's only by a little bit. Seriously, brilliantly unique, and I really hope there are more books that follow, because there are so many avenues to go down!
Like what else can the Savants do? Why are they called "Savants"? Who else is in the Savant Net? What happened before there was a Savant Net? There are just so many places Stirling could take this, and I want more! Especially more of those Benedict boys!
If I was to give one criticism, there's a little less of what I'm going to call romantic description than I'm used to. A kiss in this book can last one sentence, where a kiss has had it's own paragraph in other books. I can understand the attraction of Zed, but there isn't a huge deal about how awesome it is being with him. Though there are lots of cuddles, which is always good. It's not a big deal, and doesn't ruin the book, just a tiny niggle.
All in all, a fantastic debut novel, a brilliant addition to YA paranomal romance, and a book you should all pick up! I will definitely be keeping an eye out for further books by Joss Stirling - who happens to be one of us Brits! Yes, a brilliant YA paranormal romance by a Brit! Who'd have thought it?
Thank you to OUP for sending me a review copy.
Published: 7th October 2010
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Buy on Amazon UK
Buy on Book Depository
Joss Stirling's Website
Other Reviews of Finding Sky:
Portrait of a Woman
Girls Without a Bookshelf