Author: Cordelia Jensen
Genre: YA Contemporary / LGBTQ / Verse
Publication Date: June 2, 2015
Goodreads Synopsis: A heartrending, bold novel in verse about family, identity, and forgiveness.
Mira is just beginning her senior year of high school when she discovers her father with his male lover. Her world–and everything she thought she knew about her family–is shattered instantly. Unable to comprehend the lies, betrayal, and secrets that–unbeknownst to Mira–have come to define and keep intact her family’s existence, Mira distances herself from her sister and closest friends as a means of coping. But her father’s sexual orientation isn’t all he’s kept hidden. A shocking health scare brings to light his battle with HIV. As Mira struggles to make sense of the many fractures in her family’s fabric and redefine her wavering sense of self, she must find a way to reconnect with her dad–while there is still time.
Told in raw, exposed free verse, Skyscraping reminds us that there is no one way to be a family.
very first book that I will be reviewing was written by Cordelia Jensen and it is titled Skyscraping. I found this book while I was leisurely skimming the shelves at my local library. I picked it up off the shelf, skimmed the description, saw that it was written in verse, and brought it home.
My favorite thing about verse is that authors tackle hard hitting messages in such few words. This is no different in Skyscraping. Cordelia Jensen systematically tackles two strong messages in one book but unifies everything to the period and the views of society during the time.
Once I started reading the book, I knew I would be in for a ride. The book takes place in 1993 New York City. The main character, Mira, is a high school senior with high hopes about her future. But after many heart stopping shocks, Mira can’t help but pull herself away from everyone within her life. True to the time period, people with HIV or AIDS are shamed for having the disease, and this goes for Mira’s dad. As the days go on, Mira struggles with finding who she is. All the while trying to finish her senior year, applying to college, and making time with her Dad all worthwhile.
After reading Skyscraping, I carefully thought of the aspects I liked and did not like about the book.
Things I Like:
Below are the things that I thought the book did really well.
As with most verse books, Skyscraping was very powerful. With every new season, a new set of feelings surrounds Mira as she goes through the emotions of finding out long-hidden family secrets. Each emotion that Mira exhibits are rightfully reflected in the reading. It made me feel as if I were experiencing those emotions with Mira.
Emotion behind family decisions
Every person in this world makes decisions. Those decisions affect the people around you as well. Skyscraping shows just how much a family member’s decision affects the entire family. These decisions cause Mira to experience the many emotions that we see throughout the book. Not only are the repercussions experienced by her father, but Mira herself is punished for his actions (I would say more, but that would spoil it!) This book perfectly shows how a family is affected by the decisions we all make.
True to the time period
Because this book takes place in 1993, during the height of the AIDs epidemic, it needed to play to the time period. To learn more about the AIDs epidemic click here! This epidemic struck fear around the world as people were unsure what AIDs really meant. This panic reverberated around the globe as people veered away from anyone that openly claimed they had AIDs. Cordelia Jensen does an amazing job keeping everything from the characters to the events true to the period in which everything is set.
I may have been born in the 90’s, but I have honestly no idea the real emotion and hatred that people felt during that time. Skyscraping opened my eyes to both sides of opinions when it came to HIV and AIDs. I now know more about how people without AIDs felt and why they felt that way. But I also see how people with AIDs felt in a time that it was considered wrong to have the disease. It was honest and raw about the struggle people with HIV or AIDs face. It also brings to light the struggles the people around them face.
Things I Don’t Like:
I thought long and hard about what was wrong with this book. This book was overall very strong and there is nothing that I have been able to think of that would be marked as a con for Skyscraping.
Overall, Skyscraping by Cordelia Jensen was an amazing verse book! The book perfectly integrates the time period along with the hysteria that was brought on when a family member was diagnosed with HIV or AIDS. I would strongly suggest if you like verse and strong writing to read this book. I give Skyscraping…
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!
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