|Finalist -Young Adult Fiction|
NM-AZ Book Awards 2012
WHERE THE SKY USED TO BE
More than the typical coming-of-age teen drama -- get ready for a journey of discovery no matter what your age...
Sixteen year old Claire is an artist. Or at least, she wants to be. But doing art and being an artist are still very different things for Claire. Between her suddenly distant best friend Lydia, her own budding sexuality and the boys who want to help her discover it, and taking care of the ninety-one-year-old "Muffin" at Westcare Manor retirement home, Claire has her hands full for the long, hot summer that Rio Bueno, New Mexico promises. But will Claire's own risky decisions sabotage her chances, or help them? Can Claire find herself as an artist while falling in love for the first time? And how can helping Muffin help Claire bring all the pieces of her life together and give her the courage to dream about the future? WHERE THE SKY USED TO BE is a story of art, love, compassion, and following your own path.
The author demonstrates a sophisticated level of writing and tremendous insight into the minds of her characters, ranging from teens to the elderly. It's as though she were inside each of her characters, living the story. ...[T]he plotting, the complexity of the characters, the situations, the structuring, and the editing are all exceptional, evolving into a story that holds the reader's interest from page to page. The writing is what every aspiring author strives for and hopes to accomplish but rarely achieves.|
—Lola R. Eagle, author, free-lance writer and poet, for Reading New Mexico
I was grabbed by the first few paragraphs, and by Chapter 2 I was hooked. I love her writing. Zelda Leah Gatuskin has a natural-born storyteller's rhythm. If you want to be moved by the books you read, this novel is a must no matter where you are in life. Gatuskin paints a vivid coming-of-age narrative, full of humanity, humor and hope.
—Sara Voorhees, Broadcast Film Critics' Association
As a chaplain I often say that asking open-ended questions leads to relationship building. But sometimes it's simply showing up that counts, which is exactly what teenagers do in this compelling novel. From challenging parents to dissing cultural stereotypes, Claire and her friends confront an ever-changing world of doubt and understanding, tragedy and renewal. What grabbed me was the very honest depiction of an aging elderly woman with dementia living in a nursing home and how engaging the person where they are, not where we think they should be, is healing. Claire and her friends learn many lessons the hard way, morphing and changing as they face life, death and the time in-between. Where the Sky Used to Be shows us that across all ages, we each have the common need to be heard and (hopefully) have someone listen.
—Katrina M. Scott, MDiv, BCC Oncology Chaplain, Massachusetts General Hospital
This book has it all -- love, the quest for independence, letting go, commitment, death -- against a backdrop of a young adult woman trying to make sense of her world and to use her talents in the best possible way. This book is ambitious, sensitive, and a good look at art, how it comes about, what it means, and how it helps us. |
—Daniel Fredgant, English Teacher, Madison High School
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