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The Art of Breaking Things

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In the tradition of Laurie Halse Anderson and Sara Zarr, one girl embraces the power of her voice: rules are meant to be broken and she won’t stay silent.

Seventeen-year-old Skye has her sights set on one thing: getting the heck out of Dodge. Art school is her ticket out and she’s already been accepted to her first choice, MICA. All she has to do is survive her senior year, not get too drunk at parties, and be there for her little sister, Emma. Sure, she’s usually battling a hangover when she drives to pick Emma up, but she has everything under control. Until he returns.

When her mom’s ex-boyfriend slithers his way back into her family, it’s all Skye can do to keep the walls of her world from crumbling. Her family has no idea Skye has been guarding a dark secret about her past–about him–and she never thought she would have to face him again. She knows she has to get away from him at all costs. But how can she abandon Emma? Skye’s heart is torn between escaping the man who hurt her years ago and protecting her loved ones from the monster in their midst. Running away from her fears isn’t an option. To save her sister–and herself–she’ll have to break all the rules.

390 pages, Hardcover

First published June 18, 2019

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About the author

Laura Sibson

2 books116 followers
Laura Sibson worked for years as a career counselor for undergraduates before getting her MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. When she’s not writing, counseling, or drinking impossibly strong coffee, you can find her running miles around her home in Philadelphia, walking her dog, or ingesting pop culture (along with great takeout) with her family. She is the author of the young adult novels The Art of Breaking Things and Edie In Between, both from Viking.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 221 reviews
Profile Image for Sophie "Beware Of The Reader".
1,328 reviews357 followers
August 22, 2019
4,5 stars

Reading this book was hard for me personally. Not because I went through what Skylar went but because of her behavior toward drugs and boys.

Usually the girl is the straight laced one and the hero may be the partying and womanizer type.
Having a role reversal forced me to realize that I had double standards and that's not something I was proud of!

Another trigger was Skye's use of drugs. Again not because I had been addicted but one of my friends went down that road and being a teenager at that time left me with a deep scar.

But that story needed to be told that way.
Because Skye has been changed by a traumatic event at twelve years old.
Because when Skye tried to speak about it she was not heard.
Because sometimes life is so heavy that forgetting and taking refuge in drugs makes it easier even if it's a crutch and never a solution.
Because when you are ignored and feel transparent then you bask in any attention you can get even if it is that of a boy wanting your body because you feel easy.

In the beginning of the story Skye is crushing on her best friend Ben but does not dare take it to the next step for fear of losing their friendship.
Ben parties hard with her always sharing alcohol and some weed.
Skye's mom will announce that she is back with Dan an old boyfriend and things will progressively spiral out of control for Skye.
She wanted to protect her sister, she wanted to do good but messed up so many times.

It was hard reading about her drug problem.

It was hard reading about her being used by boys when she was completely drunk.

It was hard to see her failing.

And it was hard because it rang true.
Because many have addictions to forget. To compensate for being broken. To stop hurting even for a little while.

Laura Sibson told a story that feels real and true.

As hard as it was to read about drugs, use and abuse I liked that Laura introduced some beauty in her story thanks to Skylar's artistic talent. This gave some levity to the read. And I personally loved how Skye named all her drawing, done or not.
Many know to express feelings they can't voice out loud through music, painting...any form of art. That's what saved Skye and her naming her drawings like painters give names to their creation added a poetic and soft touch to her story.


Recommend it? If you can deal with hard topics then yes, totally!

Can you read stories about hard topics or do you avoid them?

Thanks for reading!




Find me on:
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Profile Image for Schizanthus Nerd.
1,186 reviews247 followers
October 5, 2019
Skye dreams of being an art major at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) when she graduates.
I love to draw and create projects for the people I care about, but I’ve never considered that my art could create change.
Skye is the daughter of an absentee father and a mother who is frequently emotionally unavailable and/or drunk.
“Other families are there for one another.” I can hear the tears clouding her whisper. “Other families are normal. Ours isn’t. Ours sucks.”
Skye is basically a second mother to Emma, her younger sister.
Sometimes I wish I could go back to her age. Before … everything.
Skye tells everyone she’s fine.
“I’m fine.” Fine. My go-to nothing word.
Skye is not fine. Why? Mostly because she has a secret. One she’s been keeping inside for years.
I wonder how many girls finally tell their secrets and what happens when they do.
This is such an important book and I hope it makes it into the hands of those who need to know they’re not alone. Skye’s story felt authentic to me, from what she has experienced to her emotions and behaviour. I found it gut-wrenching and difficult to read at times but I also experienced validation whenever Skye expressed feelings or thoughts that have mirrored my own throughout the years.

Comparisons could be made between this book and Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak. Both feature main characters who have experienced sexual assault, been silenced and find their voices , but Melinda’s story is not Skye’s. Sexual assault is not one size fits all; it takes many forms and while there are often many commonalities in both short and long term effects, individual responses can vary greatly. Skye’s responses differ from Melinda’s in a number of ways, though they’re all understandable and relatable.
Do I exist? Do I speak out loud? Sometimes I wonder.
I loved that Skye’s creativity is explored throughout this book, particularly when she describes how she would capture moments in time through art. The titles she gives these imagined scenes were interesting and helped to convey Skye’s perceptions and emotions at the time. While I could easily visualise these scenes, I wanted to see many of the finished products. In particular, there is a mural that includes a tree that I need someone to create; if I ever learned this existed outside of my imagination I‘d buy a framed print so it would be the first thing I’d see each day.

While I would have loved for this story to end all wrapped up with a pretty bow, it’s a more realistic narrative because it doesn’t. As far as we know, the perpetrator Also, because this story only explores some of Skye’s early life, I am at liberty to continue her story in my imagination however I choose. And in my little imaginary world, Skye has some wonderful experiences to look forward to. 😊

Content warnings include .

P.S. If you are experiencing sexual assault or have in the past, please know that you are not alone. The full responsibility lies with the perpetrator; you are not to blame. There is help available and you are worthy of receiving it.

In America, the National Sexual Assault Hotline offers confidential, anonymous support to survivors 24/7/365. It’s never too late to get help. You can reach RAINN by calling 800.656.HOPE or online at https://hotline.rainn.org/online.

If you live outside America and don’t know who to contact, you can search for relevant help in your country at http://www.hotpeachpages.net.
Profile Image for a..
100 reviews75 followers
March 11, 2021
edit : i've remade my blog + the name of the blog has also been changed from oscarthewilder to sapphicfairylights ! find this review & others on my new blog, here!

Seventeen-year-old Skye Murray has a secret. It’s a terrible one, one that she hasn’t told anyone about, not even the ones she considers closest to her. She was repeatedly molested and even assaulted by her mother’s ex in her childhood, who makes a comeback just when she thought he was gone away for good. She’s worried that what she had to go through is something that could befall her younger sister, Emma, and despairs that she has to give up her dream of attending a prestigious art school in order to protect Emma from the monster lurking in their midst.

Skye has tried to tell her mother about what happened, but her mother refuses to listen to her, beguiled by a happily-ever-after the latter has always dreamed of. As a result, Skye feels cut off from the rest of the family, and drowns herself in drugs and alcohol and boys, trying to bury her emotions and feelings in a secluded corner of her mind that she never has to be reminded of.

Let me just say that this is definitely a book I would recommend to anyone, especially for those who are searching for a voice, the right words to express the kind of horrors that they go through and mistakenly assume is all their fault. Victims usually feel that any tragedy or negative consequences that happen to them is their fault, but it isn’t -- it’s something that happens to them, not something that happens because of them. One point that Skye talks about was particularly important -- while our schools teach us about stranger danger and the difference between a ‘good touch’ and a ‘bad touch’ amongst other things, none of these discussions ever revolve around what to do if all of these dangers come from within the place you considered home. Skye’s mother thinks she’s protecting her daughter every time she grounds her or tries to keep her at home, but unknown to her, she’s just keeping Skye closer to the poison that has leaked into their family.

I loved this book for exploring this topic, for giving us a character like Skye. I loved Skye, how she has no qualms of being called the ‘class slut’ [ well, she does, but that doesn’t mean she stops being who she is and wants to be ], how absorbed she is with her art. The author has done a brilliant work of bringing to life Skye’s love for art. In most stories, the protagonist’s love for art [ if they are artists ] are usually not fleshed out and / or depicted accurately, but with Skye, I could clearly see the solace her art bought her. I really liked her relationship with her younger sister Emma, how as much as she wants Emma to stay innocent and young forever, she also gradually accepts the fact that Emma is learning and growing. The romance subplot involving Skye and her longtime friend Ben was a great addition. Even if they had hung out mostly only to get high, I could feel the bond between them.

At the same time, even though Ben is her best friend, that doesn’t mean Skye doesn’t have any strong female relationships either -- there’s Luisa, her other best friend; there’s Emma, whom she fiercely loves; there’s her mother, with whom she shares a broken and conflicted yet strong relationship.

The honesty and rawness with which the author handled Skye’s addiction to partying and drugs were also commendable. The words bought to life the fascination that a younger Skye held for drugs and alcohol, as well as the way in which an older Skye viewed it all as a lifeline. Nothing is rose-tinted here, and that’s a great thing.

Definitely recommend.
Profile Image for Dylan.
547 reviews226 followers
July 7, 2019
3 stars.

I hadn't heard of this before finding it randomly on Scribd, but I started immediately because I was intrigued, but it unfortunately just ended up being fine.

This book had a pretty big case of not knowing what it wanted to be. It went from this emotional journey about a girl who was molested by her soon to be step dad, to being about her fighting with addiction, to her having inner turmoil about college, and to falling for her best friend. Just too much happening in a 300 page book.

It wasn't a *terrible* book or anything, just too chaotic to have the tone that it should throughout.
Profile Image for Nicole Valentine.
Author 3 books74 followers
February 27, 2019
This is an absolutely incredible debut. It's a stunning and accurate depiction not only of the damage that sexual abuse creates, but how the subsequent ways of managing the secret trauma can render the victim less trustworthy in the eyes of those who love them-- and ultimately, renders them unwilling to trust themselves. Sibson makes Skye's world so real, every rent in the fabric of her life will leave you feeling as if your firmament is also torn, long after you've put the book down. In this moment of time when we think we've discussed everything there is to discuss about the #metoo movement, Sibson brings so much more to the table. A difficult subject, yet brought to life with such joyful tenderness and characters that are a pleasure to know and love - The Art of Breaking Things is destined to become a groundbreaking classic.

Profile Image for Booktastically Amazing.
502 reviews415 followers
December 28, 2021
Oh, sorry, I wasn't aware that my heart was going to be one of the participants in this experiment.

Did I forget to read the tiny, illegible footnotes once again?
Was. my. signature. clarifying. my. consent??

I'm totally reading this book again.
Profile Image for Emily.
197 reviews
April 16, 2019
It's 12:11 AM and I just finished this after starting it a couple hours ago and I'm crying, is any more explanation even needed? I would throw all of the stars at this book if I could.
Profile Image for Chapters And Sparkles.
65 reviews49 followers
August 14, 2019
Skye is an art student in high school and she works hard to get her scholarship at an art school. Her Mother and little sister are everything in her life. She loves them, but because of her secret – she can’t truly express her love for them. When she was twelve, Mother’s boyfriend, Dan molested her. Because of that, Skye hides herself in drugs – she drinks every night, she smokes joints, and she hits on the random guys.

The truth is that nobody knows how she feels. Even Sky herself don’t know what to do. She realizes that it is not natural that Dan touched her the way he did, but she can’t search for help when even her Mother doesn’t believe her. She’s on her own. Skye’s Mother is an alcoholic – she drinks every night and she is often moody. Because of that, it is difficult for Skye and Emma to have any kind of healthy relationship with their Mother.

Ben is a friend of Skye and she has a crush on him. He plays in a band and he does drugs at parties. Once he crosses the line, Ben’s parents send him to a rehabilitation centre expecting him to be clean after some time. They think Skye is the bad influence and they won’t let her get in touch with Ben. In some way, we realize that Ben is the one who badly influences Skye, because she just follows the pattern.

In this book, Skye uses art to express her thoughts and feelings. She has tried so many times to tell her Mother what Dan did that night, but somehow she couldn’t. She was scared and she thought that her Mother won’t believe her. She has tried once to tell her what happened, but she was too drunk to believe it. Skye sees her rescue in painting. Once, she starts working on that big, mosaic project – the truth comes out.

Skye is a brilliant and really strong character. Well, her only option is to be strong because she has to protect her little sister. She doesn’t want Emma to suffer the way Skye does. She is protective, but sometimes it cannot be seen because Skye shows her love towards Emma and her Mother in a wrong way. I think that’s because they, as a family, never had a healthy relationships. They could never talk about their feelings and secrets. There was no time for such things.

The little Emma is so smart and energetic character. She is amazing and even though she is only twelve, she knows how to deal with problems. I think she was forced to mature early. There are times when their Mother cannot take care of them just because she is drunk. Their Mother is the weakest character and her miserable life destroyed the perfect childhood.

‘There’s no such thing as perfect, Lu,’ I say softly.
‘Because we’re all a little fucked-up.’ I poke her in the arm and she looks at me,unsmiling. ‘That’s what makes us interesting.’

This is a glorious book and I am so happy I got the chance to read it. It was emotional and I wanted to hug Skye and give her some love, she really deserves it. It broke my heart that she went through so many things alone. I love the strength in her and she will always be my hero, my super woman.
On the other hand, I hate Dan and I think the ending isn’t so strong. I don’t like how he just vanishes into a thin air. I think the ending could be a bid different and I felt like the book is unfinished.
To sum it up, I quite enjoyed reading this book and I will definitely read more of Laura Sibson books.

My rating: 3.5/5
Profile Image for Laurie.
Author 7 books93 followers
February 9, 2019
My heart is full after reading this timely, empowering debut YA novel. I cried, I laughed, I swooned, I felt fury, I felt hope. This important and affecting book has it all. 💜
THE ART OF BREAKING THINGS is the story of Skye, a talented artist who has already gotten into art school and plans to spend the rest of senior year partying until she can escape her hometown. But everything changes when her mom’s ex-boyfriend resurfaces. Skye has to face the terrible truth she’s kept buried for many years about what this man did to her. She must speak her truth in order to heal herself and keep her sister safe. This is a compassionate, layered, beautifully written #metoo story that will mean a great deal to a great many readers. Oh, and it has awesome friendships, complex family relationships, tons of sexual tension, and fascinating art storylines.
Profile Image for Melanie  Brinkman.
619 reviews77 followers
December 29, 2019
Just how much more can go wrong before she breaks apart completely?

After getting into MICA, the art school of her dreams, Skye's sure she's finally done it. If she can make it through her senior year of school without getting too drunk at parties, and manage to be there for her sister, Emma, she'll finally escape her hometown of bad memories. But then her mother's creepy ex shows up, ruining everything. Now that her worst nightmare has returned, Skye knows she can't leave her sister behind to deal with him alone. She must take matters into her own hands before the monster strikes again.

One girl's struggle to survive as the past slithers its way back into her life. What happens when life as you know it begins to break apart.

Trigger warning for underage drinking, drug use, steamy scenes, sexual assault, alcoholism, substance abuse, and pedophilia.

Closed off but passionate, Skye was incredibly human. Along with everything else in life, the talented artist quietly crumbled under the weight of keeping her darkest secrets. Often tense (with good reason), she constantly searched for release, and took it whether it was good or bad. Once her abuser stepped back into the picture, her guard went up once again as she fiercely fought to keep her little sister from having to face the same tragedy. Thankfully her art gave her heart a way to escape, a way her words never could. Skye was a character I constantly wished I could reach into the book and help.

From her emotionally unavailable mother, to her energetic little sister, Emma, to her controlling abuser, to her music-loving crush, Ben, Skye held herself at a distance from everyone in her life. Whether it was a fear that they wouldn't believe her, a fear that they would hurt her again, or a fear of what they would think of her, Skye felt like she couldn't reach out to anyone for help. Between having to basically become a second parent to both her mother and her sister and the disgusting relationship with her mother's boyfriend, Skye's family relationships were extremely unhealthy. Even though he helped her find a bit of solace, Ben actually created further problems for Skye as he encouraged her bad coping skills. It was equally uplifting to watch her step out of her gloom for a bit as it was difficult to watch her self destruct.

When something is drastically wrong, we tend to say a lot without ever verbally saying it. Through Skye and other characters, we saw both good and bad expressions of grief, as well as the consequences. Incredibly heartbreaking, Laura Sibson painted a sickeningly realistic portrait of a life traumatized by sexual assault. Her brilliantly written story had me crying as I flipped the pages, desperate for Skye to be able to escape her situation. Unflinchingly honest, I was happy to see the healthy coping methods mixed in to the novel, but I definitely think therapy and or rehab should have been more present. Although the ending was pretty solid, it didn't give closure on some of the story's main components, which was a bit odd. Overall, this was raw and painfully powerful.

The Art of Breaking Things was a story that needed to be told.
Profile Image for Jamie :).
303 reviews48 followers
July 8, 2019
Wow such a powerful book. Made me feel so many things. Tore open my heart and made it bleed. So so good. Loved how raw it was ughhh so much better than expected!! Please please read this!!
Profile Image for Candace Walker.
144 reviews4 followers
March 7, 2020
Cute book. It shows you that secrets will eventually break you and effect the people around you if you don’t learn to open up and trust
55 reviews34 followers
April 11, 2019
The Art of Breaking Things by Laura Sibson (June 18)
Overview: Skye was twelve when she was molested by her mother's boyfriend on a camping trip. When she tried to tell her mom that night, her mom brushed her off and was too drunk to remember what happened to Skye. Now a senior in high school, she's lived with the fear and shame for a while, believing that her mother doesn't believe her. She's tried to cope with alcohol, drugs, and art, and she's starting to heal when Dan comes back into their lives. Now with her younger sister Emma turning twelve, Skye is filled with fear, panic, and flashbacks as her family starts to fall apart again. She has to decide if and how she wants to speak out to stop her mother from marrying her abuser. Overall: 5

Characters: 5 Skye is an amazing character. She's so strong, but she feels like she has to be. Her secret eats her alive, and she does whatever she can to drown it with drugs or emotional outbursts. She's trying to cope the best she can without any resources and during her partying she has even more negative sexual experiences. From the outside, Skye looks like she's barely hanging on. Without knowing what she's working through she looks pointlessly rebellious. But she's not, and watching her best friend get sent to rehab after a party got busted starts to send Skye into a mission to deal with her own relationship with herself and her coping mechanisms.
Ben was always there to get high with Skye until he isn't. Caught with weed on him during a party, heh disappears for a month leaving Skye to fester about whether their friendship really is becoming something more. It's a thought that terrifies her. They have palpable chemistry, and what turns into a beautiful relationship when he gets out and starts to help Skye when she's ready to open up.
Luisa is another amazing character. She's been Skye's best friend forever, and she's always known something happened with Dan even though Skye has never been open to talking about it. But she does the best thing she can- she stands by Skye and supports her until she's ready to say something.
Keith is another surprising character. While he starts as a total football bro, Keith turns into an amazing friend who helps support Skye during Ben's absence. I love seeing this friendship, and I love seeing Keith explore who he wants to be when social pressures are released.
The family dynamics in the book are also super important. Her mother doesn't remember that night, but Skye does. She doesn't understand why Skye is so angry about why Dan is back, and she chalks her partying up to being an obnoxious, rebellious teenager. Being busy closes her off to her kids even though she does everything for them. Emma is navigating her own way into being a teenager and her honest sibling relationship with Skye is amazing.

Plot: 5 This story is so so good. The beats hit perfectly, and there are so many layers. There are great scenes where the friends are just hanging out that fill your heart up, there are tense moments, and scenes that turn small, mundane things into everything. With a couple well used flashbacks and a couple scenes of pure emotion, Sibson captures Skye's rollercoaster of healing beautifully and with a delicate hand.

Writing: 5 This book is so well written. The characters have instant chemistry, and it feels like you've known them forever from the first page. It's a hard feat to pull off, but it makes the books tick perfectly in time. The world is just so rich and alive that it becomes impossible to leave. The pages must keep turning while your heart breaks and heals with Skye. I found it a very cathartic experience.
Profile Image for Jacqui.
Author 64 books190 followers
August 14, 2019
The star of Laura Sibson's The Art of Breaking Things, Skye, is not the typical high school senior unless you think a hard drinking, pot smoking, party goer who has been molested by her mother's boyfriend as a child and who has an amazing talent for art is normal. I’d call it damaged--challenged, maybe. This book is Skye's story of how she handles the roadside bombs life throws at her while graduating from high school and moving on with her life.  Can she heal herself enough to pursue her closely held dreams? Can her friend Ben help or will he just get in the way? And my big question: Why does her mother not help? 

There's a lot to like about seventeen-year-old Skye:

She has a deal with non-boyfriend Ben that neither will drive when they’re messed up
She's been accept to art college and is working hard to get a scholarship.
As much as she wants to leave her dysfunctional home, she worries about leaving her little sister. Would the horrible boyfriend focus on her in Skye's absence?

Despite it all Skye is trying to survive. That’s the reason I kept reading. Where did she get the internal strength to continue despite what can before? Actually there are a lot of reasons to read the book. It’s beautifully written with perfectly chosen age-appropriate prose, and enough drama of real life problems to keep the tension sky high.

Recommended for those looking for stories about kids who overcome adversity.
Profile Image for PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps .
2,340 reviews228 followers
June 21, 2019

Skye’s mother’s ex boyfriend Dan is back in the picture, five years after molesting Skye. Her little sister is the same age as Skye was when Dan attacked her. Alcohol, drugs and boys don’t numb Skye’s pain enough or take away her fear for Emma or the abandonment she feels that her mom doesn’t believe what happened.

THE ART OF BREAKING THINGS is a difficult, realistic story about the aftermath of molestation. I could understand Skye not wanting to confide in friends or adults after her mom’s reaction and if my wishes could have willed her to tell, she would have.

***minor spoilers***

Laura Sibson misses the mark with consequences for the adults and teens with substance abuse issues, aside from one character going to rehab no one else seeks treatment. Skye’s mom was too drunk to remember her daughter said she had been molested. If anything screams out the need for therapy, you’d think that would be it. As far as I can tell, Skye doesn’t get any therapy for her molestation or for how she uses substances to cope. Being believed by her mom doesn’t cure deep psychological problems LUKE Skye’s.

***end spoilers***

The lack of treatment or any real consequences for substance abuse or for Dan’s attacks on Skye prevented me from rating THE ART OF BREAKING THINGS higher.
Profile Image for Nikki Barthelmess.
Author 3 books108 followers
March 28, 2019
THE ART OF BREAKING THINGS is a story I will not forget. Laura Sibson weaves a compelling story about a girl with a secret that too many young girls can relate to. Her character is hurt, but not broken, searching to find her way through the other side of trauma. Through her, I imagine so many others will find healing. What a fantastic debut.
Profile Image for Beth .
290 reviews215 followers
February 20, 2020
** I received an ARC of this in exchange for an honest review **

Uh, where do I begin? Oh right, trigger warning for literally anything you can think of!

I want to say that this book is this generations Speak but not quite as good. The writing is fantastic and the cover is beautiful! Probably one of my favorite covers I've seen in quite a while.

The biggest downside to this is that I think it almost tries too hard to be like Speak. Even down to the main character being an art student and using her art to tell her story.

I can't tell if the author tried to piggyback off of the success of Speak so made it relatable to that book or if there is heavy influence because Sibson had read it before. I know I've read Speak enough times where I'd probably accidentally insert things from that book, but this just didn't feel like an accident.

But, that doesn't make this a horrible book at all. This is still beautifully written and important. It touches topics most authors will not touch with a ten foot pole and if they do, they don't do it well.

I don't even really know what to say about this book. If you want to read a very very very vERY hard hitting contemporary about a survivor living her life, seeing the good, the bad, and the ugly while she is doing it, this is one to pick up.

TW for sexual assault, molestation, drugs, alcohol, abuse
Profile Image for kelly {BookCrushin}.
763 reviews268 followers
September 19, 2019
This book is intense. A lot of trigger warnings are necessary. Child sexual abuse described on page. Having to relive the experience through an older perspective. Drug & alcohol abuse as a coping mechanism, thoughts of self harm & worthlessness.
But if you are in a good place the book is well written even though it focuses more of the self discovery and having to relive her abuse when the perpetrator returns to her life and coping.
Profile Image for Nev.
1,110 reviews152 followers
July 10, 2019
Skye is in her senior year of high school, she parties a lot and hooks up with a fair amount of guys, but mostly she’s ready to just get out of town and go to art school. But when her mom’s ex-boyfriend Dan shows back up in the picture her life starts spiraling out of control. Nobody knows what Dan did to her back when she was a young girl, and now she has to worry about Dan being around her younger sister Emma.

This is a difficult book to read as it deals with childhood sexual assault and somebody keeping it a secret and trying to deal with it on their own. We see all the ways that this event has impacted Skye’s life. It’s hard to read the chapters that are set when Skye is 11 or 12 years old and then see Dan treating Emma the same way in the present day. Even though the subject matter is tough to deal with, I think Laura Sibson did a good job of portraying why Skye made the choices she did because of her trauma.

Skye is an artist so there is a lot of discussion of various pieces she’s working and just in her day to day life she imagines situations as artwork and how she’d name them and create them. Also, there’s an element of using a big art project to partially work through her trauma and to start talking about it with others. At times this felt a little bit cliche or heavy handed. It wasn’t a huge detractor from the overall story, but it just wasn’t my favorite element because I feel like I’ve seen it so many times in other books.

I’d definitely recommend this book for people looking for a hard hitting YA contemporary.
Profile Image for Josephine Sorrell.
1,578 reviews30 followers
June 24, 2019
applause for an extremely well written young adult novel on timely and sensitive subjects.
This story was a slow burn read as I held my breath, hoping what was about to happen would not happen. Skye lives on a very slippery slope as she maneuvers her life around a younger vulnerable sister, an insecure single mother who loses her troubles in glasses of wine and an overbearing stepfather to be. All this home life is the background for a typical teen trying to find her way in a complicated life of choices.

Many of Skye’s poor choices are a fallout of an event that happened when she was 12 years old. Her only healthy way of coping is making art, although she often chooses to get high or hook up with boys instead. Unfortunately Skye is beginning to develop a reputation among the boys. Skye’s support group include: best friend Luisa; art buddy Ben (who sometimes feels like more than a buddy); single, hardworking mother; and spirited sister, Emma. Skye can not wait to leave her small town near Philadelphia where she has earned a paid scholarship to the Maryland Institute College of Art. Skye knows she grew up too fast and she’s doing her best to make sure that doesn’t happen to Emma. But when her mother’s ex-boyfriend re-enters their family, Skye is unsure whether she’ll be able to protect herself, let alone Emma. This novel brings to light the impact of sexual assault and the importance of consent. Fiction. 14-18
Profile Image for Elisa Zied.
55 reviews15 followers
May 11, 2019
This young adult novel was so beautifully done. From the gorgeous cover and wonderful writing to the realistic dialogue and seamless transitions from present to past, the novel scores on so many levels. I love how protagonist Skye’s art manifests in her thoughts, relationships, and world view and how it’s used to help her work through her own trauma. consent in a delicate yet empowering way. The characters are compelling and believable, and while several engage in illegal substance use and abuse, Sibson allows them to experience the consequences of their decisions and to question the motivations that underlie their behaviors without being didactic, judgmental or preachy. Skye’s family and home life are fully fleshed out, and I particularly loved how her relationship with her best friend and love interest Ben evolves and progresses. It’s realistic and beautiful and believable. I imagine that this novel will give teens a lot to think—and talk about—when it comes to sexual behavior and consent, substance use and abuse and sexual assault. It’s also a good read for parents who, while doing their best to raise their children, make mistakes—and can learn from them too.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
1,528 reviews95 followers
August 2, 2019
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Wow, I was shocked by how much I enjoyed this book. It dealt with a lot of serious issues (i.e. sexual assault, pedophilia, drug abuse, etc.) but it did it in a way that I thought was done really well.

I really liked reading about Skye and how she is still coping with what had happened to her all those years ago. It was pretty clear from the start that Dan, her mother’s ex, had something to do with it and I was not surprised when I found out what he did to her. But it was told in graphic detail and I honestly felt like gagging while reading it because it was just disgusting – the things that he did to her.

The one thing that kind of irked me was how Skye, despite her love for her younger sister and despite her need to protect Emma, did it in such a roundabout way. For the first half of the book, all she wanted to do was to get away and go to art school despite knowing what Dan did to her and despite the fact that he is now in their lives again. Also, her sister is about the same age as her when it all went down so I just found it so odd that she never once thought that he would do the same to Emma and that perhaps rather than just getting away, she needed to make sure Dan leaves. And when she finally figured it out, I almost shouted THANK GOD to the world.

There was also this underlying plot about this romance between Skye and her best guy friend, Ben that I really liked. I liked how the author seamlessly wove that plot along with Skye’s realization that her coping methods (i.e. sex, drugs, alcohol, etc.) weren’t the safest. And I really liked how it wasn’t just Skye, at the end, that managed to figure it out but also the people around her.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and cannot wait to see what else Laura has in store for us.
Profile Image for Heather.
236 reviews5 followers
October 7, 2019
Reminded me of Sadie by Courtney Summers but I liked this even more!
April 27, 2019
Laura Sibson has done a stunning job of creating a profoundly believable character who kept me engaged even though her story was hard to face. The damage done to twelve-year-old Skye by her mother's boyfriend, enhanced by her mother's dismissal of the event as never having happened, so clearly influences Skye's self-destructive behavior several years later. Yet this is a story of hope as Skye does her best to protect her younger sister when the boyfriend comes back into their lives. She finds her catharsis in art, the descriptions of which add a richness to the story, as do the realistically drawn young people who are her friends, struggling with their own demons but working through them. This is a story that needed to be told, and in the telling offers hope and understanding to those who may have a similar secret eating away at them.
Profile Image for ReaderMomCarissa.
220 reviews5 followers
April 19, 2019
This book is almost instantly gripping. Based on the jacket I thought there might be some redundancies, as I’ve come to read quite a few books lately that seemed to have a story just like this one. However, once I started this one, it felt different than other books almost immediately. The characters are so relatable and the flow of the writing so natural that you can easily paint yourself into the story right alongside these people. I think the very striking difference between this book and those I assumed it would be like is that this doesn’t have something happen that is as explicit or as violent as some of the other books’ events, but it is just as traumatic to the victim. Not all crimes of a sexual nature are stranger danger or leave bruises and blood or have the victim screaming for their life during their attack. Nevertheless, the impact still strikes just as deep. It’s important to give all young girls and women a story they can relate to in order to help them heal. Also, it’s important for those who aren’t victims to be aware of all of the ways a sexual assault might occur and that no matter the perceived impact, the trauma a victim experiences is always unique to them. Your life can change from 1 instance of sexual abuse. There are many forms. We as a society need to be more aware and supportive of all victims.
Profile Image for ReaderMomCarissa.
220 reviews5 followers
April 19, 2019
This book is almost instantly gripping. Based on the jacket I thought there might be some redundancies, as I’ve come to read quite a few books lately that seemed to have a story just like this one. However, once I started this one, it felt different than other books almost immediately. The characters are so relatable and the flow of the writing so natural that you can easily paint yourself into the story right alongside these people. I think the very striking difference between this book and those I assumed it would be like is that this doesn’t have something happen that is as explicit or as violent as some of the other books’ events, but it is just as traumatic to the victim. Not all crimes of a sexual nature are stranger danger or leave bruises and blood or have the victim screaming for their life during their attack. Nevertheless, the impact still strikes just as deep. It’s important to give all young girls and women a story they can relate to in order to help them heal. Also, it’s important for those who aren’t victims to be aware of all of the ways a sexual assault might occur and that no matter the perceived impact, the trauma a victim experiences is always unique to them. Your life can change from 1 instance of sexual abuse. There are many forms. We as a society need to be more aware and supportive of all victims.
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