Listen to the title first.
And let it wrap around you.
And then tell me, don't you want to read this book?
First, it was the title that won me over.
Then the cover.
When I started reading, it was Morgan.
Once I finished, it was everything about the book.
Sixteen-year-old Morgan lives in a hick town in the middle of Nebraska. College is two years away. Her mom was killed in a car accident when she was three, her dad drinks, and her stepmom is a non-entity. Her boyfriend Derek is boring and her coworker Rob has a very cute butt that she can't stop staring at. Then there's the kiss she shared with her classmate Tessa...
But when Morgan discovers that the one person in the world she trusted most has kept a devastating secret from her, Morgan must redefine her life and herself.
Sample the beginning:
The hills save me, but I would never say that aloud. I hate this place. So I should hate the hills, right? But I don't.
Today it's ALIENS, TAKE ME NOW, fifteen times, shouted into the air. Then I AM INSANE and DIE ASSHOLE DIE and BITE ME, but only five times each.
When I read the excerpt on Kirstin Cronn-Mills' website, it was goodbye other books on my TBR pile, I had to read THIS. And when I did, these thoughts occured to me (in no particular order):
--I wish I was friends with Morgan.
--I wish I was friends with Kirstin Cronn-Mills.
--I wish all three of us were hanging out in Central Nebraska.
--I wish I knew Tessa.
--I wish I could take a look at Rob's cute ass.
--I wish my book could be this good.
Remember I said it would be hard to give Tessa (from Before I Die, not the Tessa from this book) competition as the Best MC I've read this year?
Well, Morgan's answering Tessa's bite with her snark. And Morgan rocks (Tessa does, too, but this post will be about Morgan). Morgan's sixteen and she has big dreams about writing the Great American Novel, but for now has to suffice with writing fortunes and stuffing them in the oddest of places (under the couch, in the air-conditioner vent etc). And while she's at work at the local grocery store, she stares at her co-worker's cute ass, dreams of the big life in the big city and tries to figure out her sexuality. Meanwhile there's the everyday turbulence with her own dysfunctional family and the secret which has far-reaching effects on her. It's a lot for someone to tackle, but you know what rocks? It's all sensibly done.
For one, the sexuality issue could make this an LGBT book, but rather this stands out as mainstream YA with issues about sexuality. And none of it is sensationalized. The bi-curious/bisexual angle doesn't stick out as a jarring corner, but blends in with everything else in the book.
Two, the chapters are short, the writing sparse, but Cronn-Mills conveys so much in so little. I'm not so fond of minimalism for minimalism's sake, but this is tight writing and I loved it.
Three, I like the treatment here. It's a very fast read but the book covers a span of almost a year and the character development is remarkable. Some books cover a span of a week or sometimes even less and often I'm like Umm.., because honestly, sometimes it's hard to see characters changing so much over such a short period. It seems more temporary, not something long-term. Here, the snips from Morgan's life for a year, with the fast pace, worked perfectly.
Four, the big secret and the reason for it? I thought it was unique. I haven't read another book addressing this issue (and it's actually a pretty prevalent one, I think). I'm not saying what it is, of course.
Five, I adored the fact that this book didn't revolve wholly around the high-school experience. This was unconventionally refreshing.
Also, Morgan's brothers are AWESOME. And unique.
And this was a very fulfilling reading experience. This is the reason why I read. These are the characters that make me fall in love with them. This is the kind of book I want to shove under people's noses and say 'READ.READ.READ.'
The Sky Is Everywhere And The Hills Don't Mind is witty, angsty yet so damn charming and so darn honest, you read it and fall in love with it and you'll be turning the pages to re-read it all over again.
Let in some quirkiness, don't pass this up. This book is made of WIN.
Personally, a lot of things hit home for me, which is another reason why this book has become so special.