Not exactly what I was expecting…
I picked this book up specifically to fulfil the WLW Romance novel prompt for the Bratz Readathon which is running all of September! I was so excited that I made both a YouTube video and blog post on the topic.
Goodreads Summary We watch the bird as it flies high above us, singing like it's the only thing in the world that matters. And I feel it - that life can be beautiful. That there are possibilities. Keep your head down and don't borrow trouble is the motto Joni lives by, and so far it's seen her family through some tough times. It's not as if she has the power to change anything important anyway. Like Dad's bad back, or the threat of losing their house. So when Annabel breezes into her life, Joni's sure they're destined to clash. Pretty, poised, privileged - the daughter of the richest family in town must have it easy. But sometimes you find a matching spirit where you least expect it. Sometimes love can defy difference. And sometimes life asks you to be bigger and braver …
The romance was the best part of this novel.
★ Rating ★
I rated this book ★★★☆☆ (3/5 stars). Where the romance elements were really thriving, I just personally wasn’t a big fan of the plot. I think Gregory tried to pack too much into a small book, leaving the romance to battle against the main plotline, and not in a good way.
I think I knew from the first page that I wasn’t going to enjoy this novel as much as I would have liked to and that really sucked. Immediately, I knew I wasn’t going to have any relation to the main character but I read on hoping that the writing would help me sympathise with her, but alas, it did not.
I didn’t want to just say that I didn’t like Skylarks because I cannot relate to our main character’s situation and struggles because that is not it. There are so many novels in which a poor protagonist has to endure the same struggles and I can find it in me to understand and sympathise. Gregory wrote in a way that didn’t truly allow the reader to sympathise with our main character’s situation instead, it made me feel quite distanced from our protagonist, grappling to try and understand her anger.
Joni stated a lot of things. Giving background is one thing, but stating acts of prejudice that have occurred just to prove a point of how her experience differs from someone with more money doesn’t really incite the sympathetic feeling that would arise from the event actually occurring on-page. I know exactly what the author was trying to portray with Joni but didn’t quite garner the sympathy I wanted to give.
Skylarks explore themes of poverty, protesting and riots from a small community, forbidden romance between social classes, prejudice and discrimination, and family values. All of which could have been chosen to shine brighter than the others within the larger story instead, everything just fell onto the same level, none feeling more significant than the next.
Maybe that’s how it should be. Maybe that is real life. Maybe, maybe, but also maybe it just made the story feel kind of flat.
Now, if you’ve read a book review of mine before you’d know that I don’t like to be all negative and critical, especially about a book that I actually didn’t mind reading. So I think it’s time I spoke about the main reason why I picked up this book in the first place.
Ooft the Romance was *chef’s kiss*! When Joni and Annabel were together it felt like there were no worries in the world. Like every plot point that had been established just fell away into pure bliss.
It was everything you wish for in a forbidden romance. Those moments that were exclusively theirs – Joni and Annabel’s – and no one else’s. These were the parts that kept me hooked. I wanted to know where the romance would go and if it would last.
Nothing about this novel hooked me like the romance did. I loved the free feeling of Joni and Annabel’s relationship. I felt calm in those moments and I really loved that ☺️
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