Saturday, 24 February 2018

In Sight of Stars: A Novel by Gae Polisner Review

I have many, many things to say about this book... First I'd like to begin by saying thank you to NetGally for providing me with a pre-publication copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book will be published on the 13th of March 2018.
Lets begin with how beautiful the cover is before we get serious. I love the sunflowers in the cover and the first thing I thought of when I saw the cover was Van Gogh, and how right I was.

This novel is about a young boy Klee (pronounced Clay) who's father (who was an artist and greatly inspired by Van Gogh) kills himself, Klee's this fact hard to deal with and he spends a couple of weeks in a psychiatric hospital working through what has happened. I'd like to warn now that if you have ever had any experience with suicide this could be a very hard book to read, and I know this from experience. I'm admitting a lot here to the great wide world of the internet, but my dad died when I was younger and this book managed to bring up a lot of feelings that I really didn't want to experience. If I'd know just how "triggering" this book would be it is unlikely I would have picked it up but since I started it before I realised I finished it, and not just because I felt I had to but because I found it really interesting to read about how Polisner portrayed the grief that is felt after experiencing a death in a family.
I felt I should explain my situation before I began my review.

Let us begin with Klee, basically he was messed up in the head. In more detail, Klee had witnessed some terrible things and because of it he wasn't well. I really liked how Polisner portrayed someone who has recently lost someone, it was very accurate (I wonder whether Polisner was able to do that due to extensive research or because she has experienced it herself?). I felt very strongly for Klee due to that fact that I have been in a similar situation (not the same but similar) and know how it feels, blaming yourself and everyone. Not feeling like you are loved, and finding it hard to make connections with people. From my own experiences, I cried at times when Klee was particularly effected by what had happened to him and felt equally happy in the moments he did as well. And during the second part of chapter Day 13 into 14 - Overnight into Morning, my heart basically swam. I felt all the emotion that Klee was putting into what he was doing.
Dr Alvares and Sister Teresa were wonderfully written characters, full of love and only wanting the best for Klee's future, they treated Klee how you would expect carers to treat someone who was working through a death. They were the type of people every child who has lost a parent should have to help get them through it.
All the characters felt very real and I felt strong connects to Klee as well as Sabrina and Martin (also in the psychiatric hospital), they all gave me the impression that perhaps Polisner has in fact had similar experiences and not just done a lot of research, but either way this is fabulously written book in the emotions it was portraying!

The structure I found to be slightly confusing, but not in any major way. The book was present day in the psychiatric hospital with many flashbacks, however in the pre-pub copy I had it wasn't very clear sometimes when it changed from present to past until names were mentioned though this may be different for a fully published, physical copy. The whole book was written from Klee's perspective and besides not quite catching when the flashbacks happened I enjoyed this novel greatly.
This novel was written very well, and I felt everything! It is beautiful, and portrays grief really quite well. I also could barely put it down after the usually taking time to get into the flow of a book, I stayed up much to late last night in order to try and finish it.
Now although this is a Young Adult book, again I'd like to warn that if you react badly to death/suicide, please be wary reading this book. I'm not saying don't, just be wary.
I shall buy this book for my mum when it's released!
Published 13th March 2018

1 comment:

  1. I don't often comment on reviews, but this review moved ME deeply. Thank you for taking the time. Very glad the book resonated with you. And for what it is worth, the book is YA/crossover to adult, so, yes, for grown ups too. (Not that all YA aren't...)