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Night Sky is Too Plain a Jane

March 5, 2012 by Kiersi

Night Sky by Jolene Perry

Night Sky, by Jolene Perry

Night Sky, Jolene Perry – Available only in eBook at present, this book was suggested to me as an alternative to the ethnic whitewashing of the YA genre (see my post “All the White Girls,” which brewed a bit of a firestorm last Friday).

True: Night Sky features a quarter-Mexican male protagonist named Jameson.

True: It also stars a half-Native American love interest who goes by Sky.

False: Night Sky is interesting beyond those two facts.

Strangely, Jameson’s mother is my favorite character in this whole book, if not a tad (and by tad I mean extremely) unrealistic. I’m not sure what planet Perry was living on when she decided the average mother would be okay with finding out her son had a “sleepover” with his girlfriend (on his bed, together). Her cupboard-slamming reminds me of my own mother, which makes her endearing.

Sky is a good character, too: she has a no-drama attitude that many American high schoolers could look to for wisdom, a delightfully positive outlook on life despite the momentous conflict of her childhood, and a friendly demeanor that is never faked. The narrator, Jay, is always describing her as liquid; if anything, where Perry falls short as a writer in concept and plotting, she makes up for in fabulous descriptors. I have a solid image of Sky in my mind, and she is gorgeous.

Unfortunately, Jay is a really unlovable character. He spends almost the entire book moaning about his life in thought-italics–to bring back a term that seems to be dying, he epitomizes emo. To some degree, Jay does have things to be miserable about: his best friend, Sarah, is a real dumb floozy of a character, and like a shitty teenage girl she is constantly leading him on and cutting him down. His parents split up. His school life goes to hell. But I never got to feel bad for Jay because he whined incessantly–and always with at least two ellipses per sentence. There weren’t any typos in this book, but the proliferation of the ellipsis (especially when the drama kicked up a notch halfway through) made me wonder if Perry’s editor just sat around picking his nose.

In truth, I wish Night Sky had been about Sky instead of about Jameson. I’m sure we could debate who the book is actually about from a literary perspective, but safe to say, Jay tells and dominates the narrative. Jay’s life is mundane at best–which, frankly, does not make for a very interesting novel. The enjoyable parts were sprinkled with Sky’s clever quips, sexy liquid movements, and the increasingly-downplayed cultural drama that stems from Sky’s Alaskan Tlingit origins.

While Night Sky offers interesting and valuable cultural perspectives, the novel itself is so meaningless, it makes me remember how I never wanted to remember high school. I’m giving it two hearts instead of one because Sky was so sexy, and I finished it.

This book gets: ♥♥ out of 5


4 Comments »

  1. I’m reading this right now. I’m only about 40% through it, but I love Sky. I can’t comment on the plot as a whole since I haven’t finished or even made it halfway yet, but I’m enjoying it so far. Sorry it wasn’t the right story for you.

    • Kiersi says:

      Let me know what you think when you finish it. I guess I felt bummed that Sky had this fascinating history that we really don’t learn that much about. It’s mostly just hinted at, revealed second-hand.

  2. Jim Snell says:

    OK, I still have no idea what the story is about. But not knowing that, I think the title is pretty bad. The title by itself has no meaning, nothing to pull me into the story – other than possibly some type of pun using one character’s name. Is it supposed to be a play on G’night, Sky? As if she died, committed suicide, or something like that? ‘Cause that’s about the only justification I could see for this boring of a title. Or unless this is the first of a planned series, all with equally bad titles using the word Sky – and all the rest, such as possibly “Morning Sky” sound even more boring, although extending it somewhat to something such as “Sky is Falling” has a bit more potential. “Sky Dancing” and “Sky Writing” have some possibilities but taking it even further to something like “Poison Sky” or the possibly more humorous “Polluted Sky” does have some appeal to me.

    • Kiersi says:

      You’re right, I did a poor job of putting a brief synopsis in this review. I guess because.. it didn’t really have a plot, other than Jameson whining and becoming obsessed with this girl Sky. Pertinent information, though.

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