Last year I was fortunate enough to do a successful ARC trade on twitter. Now, I am reviewing the ARC itself and here are my (non-spoilery) thoughts on them. So, no… This book wasn’t sent to me. It’s interesting why I decided to review this particular title because I was never fond of the author’s previous novels. The Love That Split the World and A Million Junes. These books just never appealed to me. And yet, here I am taking a gamble with this ARC, using my time and money (for shipping) just to read this book early.
There was something about the premise and the idea of Splendor itself that just seemed like something I’d enjoy. Heck, I even managed to quickly make this graphic because why the hell not? Needless to say, When the Sky Fell on Splendor seemed like a fun young adult novel that appealed to my naive and child-like self. I got flashbacks from my childhood when I asked my dad to purchase a “guide” on aliens. But you guys aren’t interested in my story, you’d want to hear more about Emily Henry’s new release:
Almost everyone in the small town of Splendor, Ohio, was affected when the local steel mill exploded. If you weren’t a casualty of the accident yourself, chances are a loved one was. That’s the case for seventeen-year-old Franny, who, five years after the explosion, still has to stand by and do nothing as her brother lies in a coma.
In the wake of the tragedy, Franny found solace in a group of friends whose experiences mirrored her own. The group calls themselves The Ordinary, and they spend their free time investigating local ghost stories and legends, filming their exploits for their small following of YouTube fans. It’s silly, it’s fun, and it keeps them from dwelling on the sadness that surrounds them.
Until one evening, when the strange and dangerous thing they film isn’t fiction–it’s a bright light, something massive hurdling toward them from the sky. And when it crashes and the teens go to investigate…everything changes.
Do not be fooled with this novel. This one’s leaning towards magical realism as opposed to science fiction. So if you’re a fan of the author’s previous novels then you’d probably like this one. Unfortunately for me, magical realism tends to be a hit/miss. I was expecting something else with this novel and it just didn’t deliver. I also felt that the drama and sci-fi elements from Stranger Things and the strong (friendship) bonds in The Serpent King can definitely be seen in this novel.
Explanation of some of the “odd” events in this book was in my opinion (really) underwhelming. This book wants you to suspend your belief and tries to make you “feel” things. I thought it bordered on sentimentality and failed to provide explanation for the sci-fi/fantasy elements. I suppose it could work but it just wasn’t my cup of tea.
Read this book for the friendships. The characters just grew on me and even if I struggled to get through this book, I still am glad I read it. I enjoyed reading about the character development and especially how grief (the novel’s main theme) affected the main characters throughout the story. I loved Franny and liked her relationship with her friends.
The 3/5 rating, however, seemed fair because of the author’s writing. There’s something about her simplistic writing (still good though) that just evokes longing and nostalgia. Her writing’s emotionally charged and memorable. So even if I wasn’t completely satisfied with the science fiction elements in the novel, I thought there was still something beautiful about this book.
Thanks for stopping by and happy reading!