Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tinfoil Sky (review)

4/5 stars

Whenever I review a book with middle grade leanings I tend to find myself using the same words. "Sweet" and "cute" but neither of those describe Tinfoil Sky.  When I searched my mind the word that I came up with was heartfelt.  This book is full of feeling, genuine and messy yet realistic.
What does it feel like to be in the same place today as you were yesterday, as you will be tomorrow? Cecily liked change. Lots of it. Mel, on the other hand, did not.
In some ways this is a very sad story.  Mel and her mom Cecily leave in the middle of the night, running from Cecily's "creepy" boyfriend.  They return to Cecily's "home" a word that Mel's not really ever experienced.  The thought of a "home" conjures up happy imaginings-- white picket fences, gardens, homemade cookies and everything Mel's only experienced in storybooks.

But when they arrive, Gladys is not the grandma of her dreams.  She's bitter and distrusting, still damaged from Cecily's past betrayals.  She's not the picturesque grandma that you normally see, but something more realistic.  (Not saying that there aren't really wonderful grandmas, but it is rare to see a fictional grumpy grandma which also exist).  Mel quickly realizes home is not everything she expected.

The relationships between the main characters are complicated, landing in that weird place where love and pain meet. I like the fact that even though it's for a younger audience it doesn't simplify or dumb down the complex relationships.  Family is never simple and usually carries more baggage than a middle grade book cares to deal with.  But Tinfoil Sky is willing to explore a very broken family.

Tinfoil Sky is an MG book that tackles real world problems as seen through the eyes of a 12 year old.  It ventures into the subject of abuse, homelessness and eventually forgiveness without ever becoming hopeless or dark.  In the end Tinfoil Sky is a hopeful book without becoming unrealistic.

I want to compliment the cover art for this book.  It's bold, simple and corresponds to the story. Very eye catching!


Bookluvr Mindy said...

So am I getting the wrong vibe? Because I feel like you are saying that this is a little bit of a depressing I right?

veela-valoom said...

By the end it's not. Mel is a hopeful little kid with a great attitude.

But it's realistic, which means everything isn't all tied up in a happy little bow by the end. Mel starts out better than where she started, but not everything works out how she would like.