First off, this review of Flowers In The Sky by Lynn Joseph is going to be a bit of a mini-review as I read the book back in June 2013 and did not have a ton of things to say about it and as I write the review, it is now September and my memory is not at all perfect. I whipped through the pages of Joseph’s contemporary book and liked what I read well enough, but honestly Flowers In The Sky did not leave a huge impression on me. However, if you are in the market for an appropriate readathon type book, I totally think you should put this slim, quick young adult novel on your stack.
15 year old Nina is living a happy life in the Dominican Republic with her mother. Unfortunately, her mother thinks that she’s being a little bit too sexy, and so sends Nina off to New York City to live with her brother. While everyone else in the Dominican Republic seems to want to move to New York City, Nina pines for home. Nina discovers some ugly truths in her new home, like what her brother REALLY does to earn that cash money. Yet, out of the ugliness comes beauty, especially when Nina discovers how strong she is, deep down.
Flowers In The Sky by Lynn Joseph has a resilient main character in Nina. She’s got a unique voice. I will say that I liked how the book deals with Nina’s burgeoning sexuality. It shows reactions to Nina and her um, development that I thought were in line with the casual sexual harassment many young women seem to experience, and the whole racialization that some also experience. I probably sound like I am making up words, but sometimes there is this stupid racial, stereotypic element to sexual harassment where some chuckleheads feel that it is okay to harass a person because of their race because you know, the media sexualizes that race. I would go on more, but you can learn for yourself in a gender/cultural studies sort of class. Trust, I paid money for that knowledge in college. Anyways, I just thought her characterization of Nina and how she was treated as a sexual being, without at all going into nitty gritty (there’s no sexytimes in this book) was well done.
Frankly, the romance in Flowers In The Sky was alright but not like intense or omg let’s ship these characters. There’s a love triangle, sort of. Nina is attracted to a bad boy at first, someone who totally does not have a good reputation. But then there’s this other guy who is interested and he comes from a decent background. Anyways, I won’t say who she picks because I honestly don’t remember. What I do remember is my feeling of MEH towards both love interests. None of them gave the pitter-patter, my friends.
The writing in this book was OKAY there was a lot of ‘and little did I know that was the last time I would feel that way’ with the next chapter explaining why. Eh, that’s not really my thing.
I did like the fact that Flowers In The Sky by Lynn Joseph was about a girl from the Dominican Republic — I haven’t read anything before with someone from the DR as main character. So, there’s both good and bad about this book. It’s not among my favorites, but I think that it would work very well as a readathon book and also for reluctant readers. Plus, I think that libraries should have this book, as it is good for students to seem themselves reflected in books.
Disclosure: Review copy provided by publisher