Reading Sara Review: Above Us Only Sky, by Michele Young-Stone
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (March 3, 2015)
Amazon Book Description: On March 29, 1973, Prudence Eleanor Vilkas was born with a pair of wings molded to her back. Considered a birth defect, her wings were surgically removed, leaving only the ghost of them behind.
At fifteen years old, confused and unmoored, Prudence meets her long-estranged Lithuanian grandfather and discovers a miraculous lineage beating and pulsing with past Lithuanian bird-women, storytellers with wings dragging the dirt, survivors perched on radio towers, lovers lit up like fireworks, and heroes disguised as everyday men and women. Prudence sets forth on a quest to discover her ancestors, to grapple with wings that only one other person can see, and ultimately, to find out where she belongs.
Above Us Only Sky spans the 1863 January Uprising against Russian Tsarist rule in Eastern Europe to the fall of the Berlin Wall, and Lithuania gaining its independence in 1991. It is a story of mutual understanding between the old and young; it is a love story; a story of survival, and most importantly a story about where we belong in the world.
Reading Sara Review: I thought that this book was ok. The book description sounded intriguing to me – a coming of age novel, where a young girl finds her family roots and then finds herself. And with the wing part, I was expected a little bit of fantasy mixed in to it. It was not that book for me. Some of the characters were incredibly interesting, but I never really got into it or invested in them. I kept waiting for something to happen, some twist or something extremely exciting to occur. Exciting things did happen – but all in the past.
The most interesting part of this book for me was the history of Lithuania, and learning about their independence, followed by Russian Tsarist rule, followed by the Nazi rule, followed by more strict Soviet rule and then finally, their independence once again. I learned quite a bit about a part of the world that I did not know particularly well prior to reading this, and that was the biggest take away for me.
The stories about Prudence’s ancestors were touching and heart-breaking. The Old Man was an incredible character – and I would have just loved a book singularly about his life. I did not relate to Prudence or feel that she was struggling to find who she was (being born with wings aside, she just seemed like a young girl who was probably a bit depressed).
At the end of the book, I did not even realize it was over. I enjoy a book that leaves something to the imagination, don’t get me wrong. But honestly, I think that I will forget about this book soon when I move onto other books and not leave the ending to my imagination.
My advice is to skip this one, there are much better books that have come out in 2015 that I have loved.