Thursday, August 22, 2019

REVIEW: We Walked the Sky by Lisa Fiedler

We Walked the Sky
A stunning, multigenerational story about two teenagers: Victoria, who joins the circus in 1965, and her granddaughter, Callie, who leaves the circus fifty years later.

In 1965 seventeen-year-old Victoria, having just escaped an unstable home, flees to the ultimate place for dreamers and runaways--the circus. Specifically, the VanDrexel Family Circus where, among the lion tamers, roustabouts, and trapeze artists, Victoria hopes to start a better life.

Fifty years later, Victoria's sixteen-year-old granddaughter Callie is thriving. A gifted and focused tightrope walker with dreams of being a VanDrexel high wire legend just like her grandmother, Callie can't imagine herself anywhere but the circus. But when Callie's mother accepts her dream job at an animal sanctuary in Florida just months after Victoria's death, Callie is forced to leave her lifelong home behind.

Feeling unmoored and out of her element, Callie pores over memorabilia from her family's days on the road, including a box that belonged to Victoria when she was Callie's age. In the box, Callie finds notes that Victoria wrote to herself with tips and tricks for navigating her new world. Inspired by this piece of her grandmother's life, Callie decides to use Victoria's circus prowess to navigate the uncharted waters of public high school.

Across generations, Victoria and Callie embrace the challenges of starting over, letting go, and finding new families in unexpected places.

1965: Victoria's mother is dying and she's being abused by her father. When the circus comes to town, she takes her chance and asks for a job, creating a new life for herself. Now: Callie is a tightrope-walker at her family circus, at least, she was until her mom decides to move her and Callie to an animal sanctuary. Both Victoria and Callie think that their situation is only temporary.

Once I read the synopsis to this book, I knew I had to read it. This was a wonderfully written book and I was drawn into the story. The book is in dual POV, switching between Victoria and Callie. I loved that this book has a dual perspective of family, within two different time periods. So many YA books use dual POV for romance and it was a breath of fresh air to see it used differently.

Out of the two narratives, Victoria's was my favorite. She was such a strong character, even though she didn't always feel strong, because she worked hard once she was in the circus and she had the courage to run away from her dangerous home environment. She really grows so much throughout her chapters and it was written extraordinarily well. Her story is also a bit more interesting. Yes, there is the historical backdrop and the circus setting that made it interesting, but there was an actual story progression in her chapters that made me want to keep reading forward. Even though I knew how parts of her story would end, thanks to Callie's chapters, and I knew that it would break my heart, I wanted to see how it got there.

Callie's chapters didn't interest me as much. Partially because I didn't like Callie very much. She lived in the circus her whole life but didn't care enough about anyone (except her grandmother) to make friendships with anyone. It made me a bit sad, honestly, but her character came off as obnoxious because she didn't seem to care about anyone else and just wanted to go back to the circus. Unlike Victoria, who had more of a reason to want to leave her home life and become her own person, Callie's reasoning just didn't feel as strong. I did like seeing her connection with tightrope-walking and all of her grandmother's notes helping her along. Callie's chapters worked the best when they felt like they were intertwined with Victoria's story, but there wasn't much of a plot driving her chapters, and I just wanted to go back to Victoria's chapters.

Overall, this is a fantastic book, wonderfully narrated, and I loved the focus on family. Again, I preferred Victoria's story to Callie's and that greatly affected my rating, but I did like seeing hints of Victoria in Callie's chapters. The ending punches you in the gut. It hurts and I am again astounded by Victoria's strength. This is the first book I've read by Lisa Fiedler, but I will keep my eyes open for any more YA from her in the future.

I hereby give this book
3.5 Stars
Meaning: I liked it, but it wasn't quite amazing.

No comments :

Post a Comment