Raves & Craves: Ziggy, Stardust and Me by James Brandon

Ziggy, Stardust, and Me
Title:
Ziggy, Stardust and Me
Author:  James Brandon
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 6, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, LGBT, Historical
Source: Physical ARC from publisher

 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg

Synopsis:

The year is 1973. The Watergate hearings are in full swing. The Vietnam War is still raging. And homosexuality is still officially considered a mental illness. In the midst of these trying times is sixteen-year-old Jonathan Collins, a bullied, anxious, asthmatic kid, who aside from an alcoholic father and his sympathetic neighbor and friend Starla, is completely alone. To cope, Jonathan escapes to the safe haven of his imagination, where his hero David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and dead relatives, including his mother, guide him through the rough terrain of his life. In his alternate reality, Jonathan can be anything: a superhero, an astronaut, Ziggy Stardust, himself, or completely “normal” and not a boy who likes other boys. When he completes his treatments, he will be normal—at least he hopes. But before that can happen, Web stumbles into his life. Web is everything Jonathan wishes he could be: fearless, fearsome and, most importantly, not ashamed of being gay.

Jonathan doesn’t want to like brooding Web, who has secrets all his own. Jonathan wants nothing more than to be “fixed” once and for all. But he’s drawn to Web anyway. Web is the first person in the real world to see Jonathan completely and think he’s perfect. Web is a kind of escape Jonathan has never known. For the first time in his life, he may finally feel free enough to love and accept himself as he is.

A poignant coming-of-age tale, Ziggy, Stardust and Me heralds the arrival of a stunning and important new voice in YA.


Ziggy banner

Hi everyone! Today I am hosting a Raves & Craves post for Penguin Teen’s Daring Debuts campaign! I hope you are ready for a yummy treat paired with a raving review of Ziggy, Stardust & Me by James Brandon.

3

My heart is so content and heavy by how unbelievably earth-shattering, tear-inducing, and beautifully written this book is. Ziggy, Stardust & Me reads like a song that you want to hear for the very first time all over again. James Brandon’s words will flood your soul with tears of sorrow and intense pride.

Set in the 1970s, this novel clinches the historical realities of corrupt government scandals, blatant racism, and the treatment of homosexuality as a mental disorder. Mesh these wrongs with abstract lyrics of self-acceptance, change, hope, love, and the perceptive of humanity, and you encompass the heart and struggles found in Ziggy, Stardust & Me.

Jonathan (also known as Johnny), the main character, is going through so many life-changing experiences at once, which sets up his adolescence in a galactic spin of hardships, falling in love, and finding self-acceptance. Ziggy, Stardust & Me will immerse your heart in a coming of age story that is very relevant to today’s young generation who, like Johnny, struggle to find their own voice and find pride in who they are.

4

One of my favorite parts of this book was watching the friendship and relationship develop between Johnny and his new classmate and American Indian friend, Web. They share a love for music, imagining the moon as their safe haven, and accepting ice cream as a peace offering. I was constantly highlighting and tagging scenes and quotes between these two characters. Some of my favorite quotes that inspired this blog post snack are:

“You know, Carl Sagan says we’re all made of star stuff. Everything is made of it. When stars die they fall into our atmosphere and turn into these chemical compounds that become things. Sometimes they become people.”
“Far out.”
“I know. I hope one day we’ll all see each other without these stupid labels and instead see each other for who we really are. Starfolk.”

“And remembering a quote President Kennedy once said: ‘We choose to go to the moon not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard.’
I think I finally get it now. It’s a lot like love, isn’t it? It’s hard work, but if you don’t give up and keep pushing forward, the rewards are infinite . . .”

“We can always go there, you know? To the moon. It’s safe at least . . .”

“Just us, remember? To the moon,” he whispers.

In reference to these beautifully written scenes, I was inspired to make my own bowl of comforting ice cream sundae. While Johnny’s favorite ice cream is bomb pops and Web’s are Push-up pops, I thought I would put my own “To the Moon” sundae spin with my favorite ice cream, cookies ‘n cream. 

Ingredients:

  • Ice cream (vanilla)
  • Oreo
  • Cherries
  • Sprinkles (stars and moons, if you got them)

Instructions:

Scoop up your favorite flavored ice cream and place it into a bowl. Then add all your favorite toppings. In this case, I have added large crumbles of Oreo cookies, cherries (because the flavor reminds Johnny of Web), and a sprinkle of stars to represent their friendship and being ever-loving starfolk.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

18089438
James Brandon
 produced and played the central role of Joshua in the international tour of Terrence McNally’s Corpus Christi for a decade, and is codirector of the documentary film based on their journey, Corpus Christi: Playing with Redemption. He’s the cofounder of the I AM Love Campaign, an arts-based initiative bridging the faith-based and LGBTQ2+ communities, and serves on the Powwow Steering Committee for Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits (BAAITS) in San Francisco. Brandon is a contributing writer for Huffington PostBelieve Out Loud, and Spirituality and Health MagazineZiggy, Stardust and Me is his first novel. You can visit James Brandon at justbejb.com

TOUR SCHEDULE

Ziggy, Stardust and Me

Week One:

August 5 – The Book Bratz – Covers inspired by favorite singers
August 6 – Goblet of Fiction – Creative Instagram Picture
August 7 – The Quirky Book Nerd – Author Guest Post: What theme song would you choose for each character and why?
August 8 – Confessions of a YA Reader – Playlist
August 9 – Velarisreads – Inspired by the Book: Makeup

Week Two:

August 12 – Liv The Book Nerd – Review + Playlist
August 13 – The Nerdy Girl Express – Review
August 14 – Rants and Raves of a Bibliophile – Raves and Craves
August 15 – LGBT YA Catalog – Author Guest Post
August 16 – @booksandbrandy – Creative Instagram Picture

Swirl break

Note: A huge thank you to the Penguin Teen for inviting me on this blog tour and for providing me an ARC to read and review. All statements and opinions are my own.

If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

42201395
Title:
Sorcery of Thorns
Author:  Margaret Rogerson
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: June 4, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: Purchased signed copy at Joseph Beth Booksellers
Rating: ★★★★

 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg

Synopsis:

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.


Copy of Copy of banners

Well, well, well, it looks like Margaret Rogerson has done it again. GAHHHH! And this time, Rogerson created a world that every Ravenclaw dreams of—a world filled with enchanted books. The whole book is dedicated to loving books, protecting books, and enjoying books. As a novel filled with my favorite Bs: books, banter, and a brooding boy, Sorcery of Thorns had me grasping to every page . . . tightly holding on to the magic of the words and the unforgettable characters. 

Filled with grimoires, demon-infused magic, and a dash of enchanting scenes of frost and snow (I love winter, so these wintry scenes stuck to me like binding glue), Rogerson writes the most beautiful story about love, friendships, and sacrifice. I adored the chemistry and relationships Rogerson scribbles into the pages between her main characters, Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and Silas. As a devoted book-lover, Elisabeth has a special connection with books. Like any bibliophile, Elisabeth enjoys the musty, sweet custardy scent of books, and she communicates with them on a level of respect and enjoyment. Oh, and the brooding sorcerer, Nathaniel, definitely had my “Byronic” meter ticking–I fell in love with his stubbornness and moodiness so much. And, last, Silas: Nathaniel’s demon, provided great comic relief and witticisms throughout the pages; I adored him so much.

Along with the well-developed characters, the world-building and magic system were also wonderfully written and descriptively in-depth. It was not hard to fall deeply entranced by Sorcery of Thorns, because it reads and unfolds vividly like a live-action movie. If there is one fantasy book that you should get to this year, I highly recommend picking up Sorcery of Thorns as soon as possible.

Swirl break

Note: I bought this book with my own funds. I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in an exchange for a review; I reviewed it at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne

36300625
Title:
99 Percent Mine
Author:  Sally Thorne
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Release Date: January 29, 2019
Genres: Fiction, Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source: Bought e-book on Amazon
Rating: ★★★★

 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg

Synopsis:

Crush: a strong and often short-lived infatuation, particularly for someone beyond your reach…

Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.

When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.

Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that’s inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.


99 Percent Mine Banner

A few weeks ago, I saw the e-book of 99 Percent Mine on sale for $1.99. I have been on a contemporary romance kick since February . . . and you guys, I think I’m addicted to swoons and happy endings . . . it won’t stop and I won’t stop. Anywho, I immediately snagged the deal, because 1) It was $1.99 and I am all about those steals and deals, and 2) I love a good friends-to-lovers story. I crave that slow burn romance, the built up chemistry and angst, and me shouting, “GAAHHHH . . . just kiss already.”

And guess what: after reading this book, enjoying the hell out of it, and then rating it at 4 stars on Goodreads, I was definitely caught off guard by a majority of the low ratings/reviews I scanned over on Goodreads. I honestly felt like I did not read the same book as these reviewers and I am mind-boggled about a lot of their statements. Their analyses of the characters and their love story did not match anything I read. Maybe I was just in the right mood and the story fell at the perfect time in my life, so the book read differently to me. So I am going to tell you now . . . if you adore friends-to-lovers stories, a feisty but all over the place female lead, and the swooniest male lead who has the cutest little dog, then reader, this book is for you. 

99 Percent Mine is not a sugarcoated contemporary romance. It touches upon a lot of serious issues. But even though it is not dripping with sweetness, the relationship between Darcy and Tom was still so romantic and cute. Darcy is flat out honest about everything and has no filter; I thought her defensive and flighty attitude was going to annoy me, but I could honestly relate to a lot of Darcy’s choices. She is not naive and she is in a constant battle with everyone around her trying to protect her like she’s fragile china, but in all honesty, she is a determined hardass. Tom tends to put a lot of people before himself, but he is not overbearing or overprotective–he’s simply cautious. He is often stuck between choosing between two people, particularly Darcy and her brother Jamie. But Tom is a reasonable guy and analyzes every side of a story before he reacts. Yes, these two characters make mistakes, especially when it comes to their friendship or when they are trying to read each other, but in the end, I love that they have a true and meaningful connection. 

Lastly, one of the best parts I loved about 99 Percent Mine was the characters reliving memories of the grandma who treated Darcy differently than her other overprotective family members and made Tom feel like he was part of the family. The grandma instilled life’s magic into a lot of the scenes. She left them this huge project to renovate her home after she passed away, and that type of close proximity worked wonders on making this story truly authentic.

Swirl break

Note: I bought this book with my own funds. I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in an exchange for a review; I reviewed it at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

Raves & Craves: Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

36511805
Title:
Serious Moonlight
Author:  Jenn Bennett
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: April 16, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: Physical ARC from publisher

 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg

Synopsis:

After an awkward first encounter, Birdie and Daniel are forced to work together in a Seattle hotel where a famous author leads a mysterious and secluded life in this romantic contemporary novel from the author of Alex, Approximately.

Mystery-book aficionado Birdie Lindberg has an overactive imagination. Raised in isolation and homeschooled by strict grandparents, she’s cultivated a whimsical fantasy life in which she plays the heroic detective and every stranger is a suspect. But her solitary world expands when she takes a job the summer before college, working the graveyard shift at a historic Seattle hotel.

In her new job, Birdie hopes to blossom from introverted dreamer to brave pioneer, and gregarious Daniel Aoki volunteers to be her guide. The hotel’s charismatic young van driver shares the same nocturnal shift and patronizes the waterfront Moonlight Diner where she waits for the early morning ferry after work. Daniel also shares her appetite for intrigue, and he’s stumbled upon a real-life mystery: a famous reclusive writer—never before seen in public—might be secretly meeting someone at the hotel.

To uncover the writer’s puzzling identity, Birdie must come out of her shell…discovering that most confounding mystery of all may be her growing feelings for the elusive riddle that is Daniel.


banner - serious moonlight raves and craves

That’s right, you guys, it’s my third post regarding Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett. Hashtag sorry not sorry! Today I am bringing you one of my favorite blog memes I love creating, the Raves & Craves post, where I always pair a short, raving review with a snack of some kind. And today, we have PIE!

5

As I gushed about in several posts before (REVIEW HERE and MOOD BOARD HERE), I adored Serious Moonlight. There’s awkward teenage angst, pie for breakfast (well, basically pie at anytime of the day), a swoony boy, real-life mystery and sleuthing, a murder-mystery dinner date, and so many diverse relationships that make my heart so happy. This book will make your heart ache in the best ways. 

6

You guys, this was the first ever pie I made that wasn’t a “frozen pie in a box that you just pop in the oven.” It was so intimidating because I wanted this pie to turn out perfectly. Hopefully, below, I can simplify this pie baking the best that I can, so you don’t have to make everything from scratch.

Ingredients:

  • Pie crust – I highly recommend using a pre-made pie crust that is already inserted in a pan. Or you can even buy the pre-made roll out pie crusts to save time.
  •  Strawberries (I used one pint)
  • Frozen cherries
  • Half a cup of sugar
  • 2/3 cups of flour
  • A lemon
  • 1 beaten egg

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cut up your strawberries into bite size pieces.
  3. Place the strawberries and frozen cherries in a sauce pan and cook at medium heat.
  4. Squeeze a whole lemon into the pan with the fruit and stir.
  5. Once the fruit cooks down, add the sugar, and stir.
  6. Once the fruit starts boiling, I added a 1/3 cup of flour to help thicken the juices. After 5 minutes turn off the burner and let the fruit cool down.
  7. Use the left over flour to help roll out and flatten your pie crust. Don’t make the crust too thin. You do you!
  8. Make sure that you line a pie pan with the crust, if you don’t already have a pre-made pie crust already in a pie pan.
  9. Add the fruit as the filling to the pie.
  10. Then add the top layer of pie crust over the fruit. Be sure to cut slits in the pie for the fruit/pie to vent. Note: When I was rolling out the pie crust, I went ahead and cut out stars in my top layer of crust.
  11. Brush the beaten egg over the top of the crust.
  12. Place the pie in the oven and cook it for 25 minutes or until golden brown at the top.

I call this tasty beauty, the “Best GD Cherry ‘Star’berry Pie”

serious moonlight raves and craves

Swirl break

Note: A huge thank you to the Simon Pulse/Simon Teen for providing me an ARC to read and review. All statements and opinions are my own.

Mood Board: Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

36511805
Title:
Serious Moonlight
Author:  Jenn Bennett
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: April 16, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: Physical ARC from publisher

 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg

Synopsis:

After an awkward first encounter, Birdie and Daniel are forced to work together in a Seattle hotel where a famous author leads a mysterious and secluded life in this romantic contemporary novel from the author of Alex, Approximately.

Mystery-book aficionado Birdie Lindberg has an overactive imagination. Raised in isolation and homeschooled by strict grandparents, she’s cultivated a whimsical fantasy life in which she plays the heroic detective and every stranger is a suspect. But her solitary world expands when she takes a job the summer before college, working the graveyard shift at a historic Seattle hotel.

In her new job, Birdie hopes to blossom from introverted dreamer to brave pioneer, and gregarious Daniel Aoki volunteers to be her guide. The hotel’s charismatic young van driver shares the same nocturnal shift and patronizes the waterfront Moonlight Diner where she waits for the early morning ferry after work. Daniel also shares her appetite for intrigue, and he’s stumbled upon a real-life mystery: a famous reclusive writer—never before seen in public—might be secretly meeting someone at the hotel.

To uncover the writer’s puzzling identity, Birdie must come out of her shell…discovering that most confounding mystery of all may be her growing feelings for the elusive riddle that is Daniel.


Mood Board banner Serious Moonlight

I’m back! And it is my second week in a row to gush and RAVE about Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett. 

While reading Jenn’s amazing book (you check out my full review HERE), I jotted down a few images, words, and passages that stuck out to me, and voilà: a mood board that conveys my love for Serious Moonlight.

MOOD BOARD -SERIOUS MOONLIGHT
Swirl break

Note: A huge thank you to the Simon Pulse/Simon Teen for providing me an ARC to read and review. All statements and opinions are my own.

If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: Review of Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

36511805
Title:
Serious Moonlight
Author:  Jenn Bennett
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: April 16, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: Physical ARC from publisher

 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg

Synopsis:

After an awkward first encounter, Birdie and Daniel are forced to work together in a Seattle hotel where a famous author leads a mysterious and secluded life in this romantic contemporary novel from the author of Alex, Approximately.

Mystery-book aficionado Birdie Lindberg has an overactive imagination. Raised in isolation and homeschooled by strict grandparents, she’s cultivated a whimsical fantasy life in which she plays the heroic detective and every stranger is a suspect. But her solitary world expands when she takes a job the summer before college, working the graveyard shift at a historic Seattle hotel.

In her new job, Birdie hopes to blossom from introverted dreamer to brave pioneer, and gregarious Daniel Aoki volunteers to be her guide. The hotel’s charismatic young van driver shares the same nocturnal shift and patronizes the waterfront Moonlight Diner where she waits for the early morning ferry after work. Daniel also shares her appetite for intrigue, and he’s stumbled upon a real-life mystery: a famous reclusive writer—never before seen in public—might be secretly meeting someone at the hotel.

To uncover the writer’s puzzling identity, Birdie must come out of her shell…discovering that most confounding mystery of all may be her growing feelings for the elusive riddle that is Daniel.


Serious Moonlight banner

Hi, my name is Cassie and I am a Jenn Bennett book addict . . . I mean fanatic.

If Jenn Bennett writes it. I will read it.

And I’m going to be completely honest with you right now, in the next few weeks, I will probably have multiple posts about Serious Moonlight on my blog. Yes, this post here serves as my official review, but do not fret, I will definitely be posting my favorite quotes and a possible “Raves & Craves” post, which will involve pie . . . yummy, yummy pie.


So what did I love about this book, you ask?


1. Birdie and Daniel’s awkward, sweet, cute, and witty banter. There is an undeniable connection between these two characters, and I really enjoyed how naturally their friendship grew from a “missed connection,” being co-workers, detective work, and their reserved ability to confess their insecurities and establish trust between each other.

2. I adored the most heartwarming relationship between Birdie and her late-mom’s best friend who Birdie calls Aunt Mona. Birdie and Aunt Mona are so enjoyable to read on the page. They are so hilarious and flipping fantastic. You know how in Pretty in Pink, Andie discusses so much of her life’s troubles with her amazing manager, Iona, and their banter is so grown up and funny? That is Birdie and Aunt Mona in a nutshell. I freakin’ love it.

3. There is a date that involves a murder mystery dinner, and GD it it’s so thoughtful and cheesy. This chapter is truly worth the muscle-aching cheeks from all the happy grinning and swooning.

4. Pie. Cherry pie. Breakfast pie. All the pie. 

5. Jenn Bennett’s approach to teen issues is always so gut-wrenching, realistic, and truthful. She handles and approaches issues like teen sex, insecurities, familial problems, mental illness, anxiety, suicide, grief, and depression in Serious Moonlight so well. Jenn’s characters and stories are so honest and relatable, and I look forward to gifting a finished copy of this book to my 16-year-old niece.
Swirl break

Note: The HUGEST thank you to the Simon Pulse/Simon Teen for providing me an ARC to read and review. All statements and opinions are my own.

If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: Review of When the Sky Fell On Splendor by Emily Henry

40390513
Title:
 When the Sky Fell on Splendor
Author:  Emily Henry
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: March 12, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis:

Almost everyone in the small town of Splendor, Ohio, was affected when the local steel mill exploded. If you weren’t a casualty of the accident yourself, chances are a loved one was. That’s the case for seventeen-year-old Franny, who, five years after the explosion, still has to stand by and do nothing as her brother lies in a coma.

In the wake of the tragedy, Franny found solace in a group of friends whose experiences mirrored her own. The group calls themselves The Ordinary, and they spend their free time investigating local ghost stories and legends, filming their exploits for their small following of YouTube fans. It’s silly, it’s fun, and it keeps them from dwelling on the sadness that surrounds them.

Until one evening, when the strange and dangerous thing they film isn’t fiction–it’s a bright light, something massive hurdling toward them from the sky. And when it crashes and the teens go to investigate…everything changes.

 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg


when the sky fell on splendor banner

You guys, where do I even start. Emily Henry wrote one of my favorite books in the world, A Million Junes, and I could not wait until her next book to knock me off my feet. And here it is–When the Sky Fell on Splendor–another Henry book that takes the strong elements of the contemporary genre and splashes in frames of science fiction and fantasy. As supernatural elements are spread throughout the pages, the characters are thrown into strange phenomenons as they are dealing with cracked remnants of grief etched by loss.

When the Sky Fell on Splendor is a constant page-turner illuminated with small-town, Midwestern vibes, the disarray of a tragic event, and a group of teenage misfits. About five years ago a local steel mill explosion failed to spare well-loved neighbors, family members, and local heroes. Each character is internally processing the events that rattled their lives, and as summer unfolds their lives are suddenly changed again when they witness the crash of an unidentified flying object.

I really enjoyed When the Sky Fell on Splendor because the book focuses a lot on friendships and love. The book has the atmosphere and nostalgia of 1980’s movies, bringing in a close-knit group of friends (and a cute dog) who often engage in the exploring legends and unexplained events. Each of these teens are going through the motions of grief, loss, growing up, and self-acceptance. Overall, I loved getting lost in this story of amazing weirdos who one night are tossed into an eerie, unexplained event of bright lights, a glowing humanoid, special powers, and “what the hell is going on with the cows?”  

green swirl
Note: Thank you to good friend Emma at Miss Print for gifting me an early copy of this book.