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 pretty 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 …
Hey Guys! It feels like ages since I’ve written a review. I swear I have been reading! I’ve just had a few super busy days and I’ve come to the realisation that daily blogging is too hard with my current situation where I’m still getting things sorted out and put on a consistent schedule. I’ll have a full little update to tell you all about the exciting things in my life in my weekly newsletter coming out tomorrow night (subscribe to get that!). This book I recently finished, first of all, thank you to the lovelies at Bloomsbury Publishing for kindly sending me a copy of Skylarks in exchange for an honest review. This review is definitely honest, especially since this was not my favourite Bloomsbury book but it was still a great read.
This book was written pretty well. It was definitely an easy read although it had its small downsides. I didn’t like the protagonist’s way of speaking, dialogue-wise. It sounded very stereotypically uncouth (or bogan for my Aussie readers) and sometimes lacked intonation. It was written very well in terms of expressing emotion. I felt angry and depressed a lot at the right times when reading it and I empathised a lot with the main character. It almost made me cry, not just of frustration from Joni’s decisions but from general emotional turmoil. Shitty situations are sad. The romance was definitely cute. It was a slow burn with tentative developments and I loved how the author created their friendship through light humour.
I, unfortunately, don’t enjoy reading about characters who are financially struggling. Although it’s a great realistic concept to write about, I just don’t feel as comfortable reading about things like that because I’ve been through it, and I’d rather not experience it again through someone else. The plot develops in that the main character Joni, and her brother start a campaign to protest against their increase in rent after a company buys their estate. The whole concept of protesting and letting people fight back against corporate oppressors was definitely a great thing to read about. It showed the great solidarity created by the community through their campaign. It incorporated well into Joni’s character development of working to become brave enough to take a stand and speak out about what she feels and thinks about.
It was unfortunately bittersweet in that some of the protest themes developped into almost ulterior motives for hating on the rich. I don’t personally like the trope of the rich always hating on the poor and vice versa, I guess I’m partly Hufflepuff too. It also felt very stereotypical that the love interest comes from a rich family. I feel like I’ve read so many books and seen so many movies where the ‘rich’ character is learning the ways of the poor and how to sympathise with their situation. Bear in mind that there are also different levels of wealth, Annabel’s family seems to be clearly described on the high end of the spectrum with servants and so on, whereas Joni is always emphasised too clearly be struggling to make ends meet working to help her family pay the bills. Meanwhile, Joni’s best friend Kelly is definitely in the middle to upper class but we weren’t really exposed to her character as much unless Joni felt jealousy for her. Annabel’s character development in terms of the plot was also a bit stereotypical but it was still a very important and powerful message. The message is that no matter how much money you have, you can’t always buy happiness in that while Annabel didn’t lack in finance, she lacked in other things Joni always had. This again was highlighted by that extreme gap in dichotomy and class explored in this novel, where both Joni and Annabel began to understand a little bit of what it’s like to live in a different world and class in today’s modern society. There were some other trope aspects I also didn’t love but I’m not going to spoil.
I think this book was particularly interesting because these characters weren’t very appealing. I didn’t love them, but as I read on I began to care for them more. It was that building emotion and feeling that I got as I slowly learnt more about Joni, her family, her friends and Annabel and how their relationships intertwined. I wish that there had been more character development for sub characters like Kelly, Peter, Jamie and Deal. It felt a little too much like typical high school drama at times and I wish I could’ve seen more sides to these characters than the one shown.
Overall, I think this was a great book with very strong concepts and ideas that should make anyone reconsider certain things about themselves, others and society. This book definitely made me more grateful for many things in my life. It was also super refreshing to read an f/f novel. I can’t remember for the life of me of another f/f novel I’ve read except for Leah on the Offbeat. I feel like there needs to be more exploration and more hype for f/f novels, I hope that more are coming out. Thanks to Amber for getting me on the hype train because these books are definitely not seen as often as they should be despite their great diversity and open discussion topics. Ultimately this book explored so many concepts, including growing up, learning different perspectives, finding the courage to speak out and more. I’d definitely recommend it. Just because it wasn’t totally my cup of tea, doesn’t mean if it won’t be for you either 🙂
Until next time,
Thank you to Bloomsbury Publishing for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.