The Sky Between You and Me by Catherine Alene
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: February 1, 2017
I don’t normally read straight young adult fiction, in part because I don’t feel like the target audience and can’t connect with the stories as much. That said, I requested this book because the idea of a competitive equestrian battling an eating disorder seemed out of the box and relatively unique. The story wasn’t what I was expecting and the writing style definitely wasn’t for me, but it was an interesting read for sure.
First, and maybe most importantly for some people, this is a novel written in verse. Nowhere in the description does it say that, so it’s important to note up front. I personally do not like any books written in verse and I try to avoid them (including collections of poetry). I stuck with this because I felt some obligation to at least try it and get out of my comfort zone a little. I probably won’t be reading more novels in verse anytime soon, but I can see why the author thought it worked here and why some people might appreciate this style, especially for this sort of story.
Second, the story did disappoint me. From the description, I had expected more of a balance between the main character Rae’s equestrian activities and her eating disorder, but it was really focused on the latter. Plus, I didn’t realize that rodeos were her form of competition, and I’m not a huge fan of those. As far as the eating disorder goes, though, I thought it was handled really well. It’s not glamorized, which is important especially in a young adult book.
I think the most successful part of this book for me really was the narrator’s reactions to her own eating disorder, which is one reason why writing in verse may have worked here. The author does mention in a note that she struggled with an eating disorder as a young woman, and so I got the feeling that the character’s reactions and thoughts were genuine, something that we usually don’t see as much with this sort of topic. That’s what kept me reading, even when the story didn’t follow the path I anticipated.
So, this book was basically nothing like what I expected, but it kind of turned out okay in the end. It’s not so much about horses and it’s definitely a unique writing style, but if you’re interested in a young adult novel about an eating disorder, it’s a good choice. I gave it three stars.
*ARC from Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley