Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Saturday, April 7, 2018

In Sight of Stars by Gae Polisner

How I Heard About It:  Gae is one of my favorite young-adult novel authors.  She is also one of my favorite author "people".  I've had the privilege of meeting her in person several times and she is absolutely delightful.  I picked up an ARC of this novel last fall during NCTE17.  I can't believe it took me so long to read it.  I read it during my spring break road trip and the story provided me hours of enjoyment.  

What It Is About:   Klee (Clay) is not your typical teenage male.  He has the most wonderful relationship with his father.  His father has exposed Klee to the world of art, museums, and New York City life.  Klee's world is shattered when his father dies and leaves him to continue life with his cold and stoic mother.  Klee isn't sure how to make it work, but then meets Sarah in an art class, and his life takes a turn for the better.  This "turn" is short-lived when Klee has an emotional breakdown during an "episode" with Sarah.  He ends up in a psychiatric hospital that specializes in teens with emotional troubles.  Klee doesn't want to be there, but as each day passes he begins to realize how important it is for him to face his past, his family secrets, and all the events that led up to his hospitalization.  The biggest "issue" he must face is his view of his mother and how it may just not be based on reality, but a fantasy he "painted" of his father and their relationship.  

What I Thought Of It:  I think this is Gae's best work of fiction.  I have read other YA stories about young people with emotional issues, but this particular story felt and read so different from the others.  As soon as I began, I was drawn into Klee's world and could feel so much of what he was experiencing.  Gae did a tremendous job of writing about Klee's reality and also the world he created inside his head.  The relationships he had in both his personal and medical life were written with such grace and heart.  As I was reading, I kept thinking this was a solid story about family, relationship, and mental health.  Gae threw me a curve ball with some twists and turns toward the end of the story. This was just icing on the cake!  

Who Should Read It:  Everyone!  This story could be read by both the young-adult and adult reader.  If you have experienced "emotional" hospitalization of a teen and/or know someone who has, this story will touch and heal your heart.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  5 STARS out of 5 Stars

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