Book Review: Flowers in the Sky by Lynn Joseph

Flowers in the Sky
Author: Lynn Joseph
Reading Level: YA
Genre: Contemporary/Realistic
Released: March 5th 2013
Review Source: HarperTeen
Available: Amazon

Summary: (from goodreads) Fifteen-year-old Nina Perez is faced with a future she never expected. She must leave her Garden of Eden, her lush home in the Dominican Republic, when she's sent by her mother to seek out a better life with her brother in New York. As Nina searches for some glimpse of familiarity amid the jarring world of Washington Heights, she must uncover her own strength. She learns to uncover roots within foreign soil and finds a way to grow, just like the orchids that blossom on her fire escape. And when she is confronted by ugly secrets about her brother's business, she comes to understand the realities of life in this new place. But then she meets him-that green-eyed boy- who she can't erase from her thoughts, the one who just might help her learn to see beauty in spite of tragedy.

From the acclaimed author of The Color of My Words comes a powerful story about a young girl who must make her way in a new world and find her place within it.

Flowers in the Sky was a touching coming of age novel filled with family secrets and a since of belonging for 16 year old Nina. Originally from the Dominican Republic, Nina is forced by her mother to move to New York City in hopes for a better life. A life where finding the perfect husband is a top priority. Nina takes the long trek to the states, where she is greeted by her loving brother Darrio. Little does she know that Darrio has other plans of his own. Nina will continue to attend high school in preparation for college. Being away from home often brings a sense of homesickness, which it did for Nina. She missed her world. Her friends. Her ability to do the things that she loved, for example gardening. Living in the big city doesn't lend well to gardening, but her brother Darrio, encourages Nina to begin growing orchids from her window fire escape. The orchids that Nina grows are a true sign of symbolism that represent hope, strength and love. New friendships are developed, some stronger than others. Nina is forced to decide between the mysterious Luis, with endless money and an mysterious background or Carlos, a student anxiously preparing his future for the medical field.

Flowers in the Sky has a very smooth transition from event to event through the life of Nina. It was a very simple read, with slightly predictable moments, however for an upper middle level to high school reader this book would be right on point. I did find that the size of the book was a bit of an issue for me. The book was not of normal size. Its pettiness reminded me of the the delicate orchids that Nina grew, however because of the size of the novel, the font size was small as well. I found myself straining at times to read the text, as reading this type of font was a first for me.

Overall, would this be a book that I would normally pick up off the shelf, probably not. I'm still looking for some details that truly made me stay connected with Nina and her life and family. Still searching for elements of the story that truly pull the reader in and make you hold on until the very last page. Nina's story has ended for now. I'm ok with that fact, as there really wasn't an emotional connection to the novel.

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