Sunday, 1 April 2012

Blue Sky Days by Marie Landry

Title: Blue Sky Days
Author: Marie Landry
Pages: 223
Genre: YA Romance
Published: 2012
Rating: One out of Five

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.

I was really looking forward to reading this book. I got excited when I read the summary of the novel, at first glance I thought it was such a fantastic premise. I really thought to myself that this sounded like a book I would really enjoy reading but the novel didn't live up to my expectations.

There were so many things that bugged me about this novel. I immensely disliked the character of Emma, who was the narrator of the novel. I found her to be dull, self-absorbed and incredibly whiny. The character whines constantly about how her mother doesn't love her, about how she regrets spending too much time studying in high school because it meant she never had time to enjoy being a teenager, about how she has no friends, etc. There are chapters and chapters of this. It's annoying and extremely off-putting! Note to the author: Emma hates her mother, we get it, we don't need to be told this a million times, enough already! The reader doesn't need to read 100+ pages of Emma moaning on and on about her hypercritical mother and her lack of a social life! This persistent whinging is quite draining to your readers and drives them crazy!

The romance storyline is revoltingly sickly sweet and corny. Emma and Nicholas's relationship is so perfect - it's boring! In fact, even the characters are too perfect. None of them (apart from Emma and her mother) have any flaws at all. They are all too unbelievable to be realistic. Every single one of them is perky, cheerful and easy-going ALL OF THE TIME. The characters are completely infallible and can do no wrong. The novel is chock-full of Mary-Sues. People aren't like this in reality. It makes all of Landry's characters, even Emma, seem one-dimensional. This made it impossible for me to connect with the characters. Landry spend a lot of time describing how her characters' LOOKED (especially Nicholas) but not enough time defining her characters personalities. All the characters need 'roughing up'.

The dialogue between Emma and Nicholas seemed false throughout the novel. The relationship between the characters was cheesy and unbelievable. Romantic moments, which I'm sure the author meant to be touching and heart-warming, turned out to be unintentionally hilarious as they were so far-fetched and nonsensical.

Absolutely nothing happens in the first 48% of the novel. Literally you could skip the first 150 pages and start reading from the middle and not miss a thing. There's virtually no exciting twists and turns to keep the reader interested in the first half of the book. I think the novel would have been much better if there were multiple narrators instead of one sole narrator. I think it would have been more interesting to see Emma and Nicholas through the eyes of the other characters. This might have made it easier for me to connect with the characters of Emma and Nicholas, as well as help the supporting characters (which were poorly developed) evolve.

The second half of the book was better but I thought it seemed a bit rushed. I think the author should have put more focus on the leukaemia storyline. I thought that Nicholas's illness should have been introduced a lot earlier in the novel. It would have made the story so much more compelling. The author padded out the first half of the novel with nonsense that really shouldn't have been there in the first place and then the most interesting part of the story was just squeezed in at the end. What was the point in that..?

I received no enjoyment what-so-ever from reading this novel. At times, it really was a chore to read which is why I'm only giving it one star. Blue Sky Days is a ridiculously bad romance novel but it may be an excellent cure for insomnia though. It's a total snooze-fest!

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