Author: Marie Landry
Source: Copy given by author for honest review
Genre: Young Adult
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Caution: May contain spoilers
A year after graduating from high school, nineteen-year-old Emma Ward feels lost. She has spent most of her life trying to please her frigid, miserable mother - studying hard, getting good grades, avoiding the whole teenage rebellion thing - and now she feels she has no identity beyond that. Because she spent so many years working hard and planning every moment of her life, she doesn't have any friends, has never had a boyfriend, and basically doesn't know who she is or what she really wants from life. Working two part-time jobs to save money for college hasn't helped her make decisions about her future, so she decides it's time for a change. She leaves home to live with her free-spirited, slightly eccentric Aunt Daisy in a small town that makes Emma feel like she's stepped back in time.
When Emma meets Nicholas Shaw, everything changes - he's unlike anyone she's ever met before, the kind of man she didn't even know existed in the 21st century. Carefree and spirited like Daisy, Nicholas teaches Emma to appreciate life, the beauty around her, and to just let go and live. Between Daisy and Nicholas, Emma feels like she belongs somewhere for the first time in her life, and realizes that you don't always need a plan - sometimes life steers you where you're meant to be.
Life is wonderful, an endless string of blue sky days, until Nicholas is diagnosed with cancer, and life changes once again for Emma in ways she never thought possible. Now it's time for her to help Nicholas the way he's helped her. Emma will have to use her new-found strength, and discover along the way if love really is enough to get you through.
~synopsis from Goodreads
That’s my review… just kidding! Seriously though, this novel was amazing. Purely and completely amazing. I used to wonder what made people say that someone had a remarkable debut, but with Marie Landry I wonder this no more. Believe me, I’m not just gushing because I’ve gotten to know Marie a little bit over these last few months. I am being truly honest--her work can speak for itself.
There is something about Emma that sincerely appeals to the side of me that wants to not only do more, but be more. The journey she has taken on is entirely new to her--a new place, new people, new life. She’s technically been an adult for a short time but it feels like much longer since she grew up fast. She missed out on so many of the little things, like a sunrise, and she learns to appreciate them.
Emma’s relationship with Nicholas is one of the most beautiful ones I have read. Even as I am typing up this review, I am tearing up thinking about it. Nicholas sees how amazing Emma is, despite the fact that she feels she has nothing amazing about her at first. He sees what she really is, the person she can be, the one that can break through the walls she built up over the years that hid that person. They fall head over heels in love, and can you blame either of them? No, you can see from the start they were destined for each other.
When the knowledge of Nicholas having cancer comes into play, the entire focus of the story remains. Emma is right by his side, and their love plays a role in how things progress. They face the ups and downs of the illness, hoping for a light at the end of the tunnel. Faint glimmers of hope appear and disappear. Through thick and thin, Emma and Nicholas pull through just as strong as they were over the summer.
The story isn’t just a love story between Emma and Nicholas. Emma’s aunt Daisy plays a huge role that impacts Emma’s very perspective. Nicholas introduces her to his friends Maggie and Vince, who are really cool people, and she meets his father Sam, too, who is just as sweet as Nicholas.
Along the way, Emma talks with her parents a little bit. Her mother is still attempting to control her in any way possible. Although her mother isn’t very nice, her father tries to stay in touch. The way things end up with her and her parents is a very accurate depiction of reality. Not everything can be tied up into neat and pretty little bows, some things come undone and can never be put back together again. It doesn’t matter what happens, but how you choose to react to these situations. Emma makes some brave choices that shape her into an incredible young woman.
Blue Sky Days is a journey beyond compare. A love story in every sense of the word, a larger than life lesson, a renewed sense of self. Marie Landry’s storytelling ability connects the reader to the story to the point where their eyes cannot stray from the page. Yes, you will cry (I did). Yes, you may even sob (oh boy, I certainly did). But, you will never regret reading this novel (and I mean never). I, for one, am anxiously awaiting what else Marie has in store.
Exceptional: Stay up until at least 1 AM