Title: Pieces of Sky
Author: Trinity Doyle
Genre: YA / Grief & Loss
‘Mum painted my brother’s coffin.
It was beautiful, if such a thing can be – the waves of the ocean, gradients of green to blue mixed with the white of sea-foam. Despite the grim irony that the ocean which smothered his lungs should cover him in death, it suited him.
Cam was made with more water than most.’
Oh, help. From the first sentence, I was hooked.
Okay, scratch that. From the moment I looked at the front cover, I was hooked.
Now I know what you’re thinking, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ and all that, but in this case, Pieces of Sky totally deserves to be judged and appreciated for its cover. I mean, look at it:
Sigh. It’s so pretty. And I love how it links in so well with the story; throughout the novel the main character Lucy is literally struggling to keep her head above water.
The book begins eight weeks after Lucy’s brother Cam dies. The Taylor family is falling apart. Lucy’s mum is struggling with depression and can hardly get out of bed. Lucy’s dad is dealing with his grief by focusing on his work; he doesn’t seem to care about anything else and hardly notices what Lucy is doing.
Meanwhile, Lucy’s dreams of becoming a professional swimmer are shattered. She has a panic attack at her first training session after Cam’s death, and can’t bring herself to get back in the pool. She decides to try to avoid the water, which proves difficult as she lives in a small coastal town.
One of my favourite things about this book is the simplicity of the prose. Trinity writes with such a gorgeous style; the words flow across the page. I found myself immediately immersed with the characters and their story. There’s such a sense of honesty within the book, nothing about Lucy’s situation is sugar-coated, yet there’s also a certain tenderness. I came close to tears several times whilst reading, and my mum came up to give me a big hug when I finished the book – I must have looked sad!
I love the variety of characters – and the way Trinity portrays their relationships with each other. Some of the characters, particularly Lucy, Steffi, and Evan, became like real people to me, growing and changing over time.
After hearing Trinity speak at the 2016 Newcastle Writer’s Festival, I thought the way that Lucy is drawn back to Steffi – her wild ex-bestfriend, as she grows apart from her swim-squad friends, is a really interesting and realistic portrayal of the way that some friendships can lack any depth beyond the surface. Without their shared interest of swimming, her swim-squad buddies fall short of being best friends. Although they do their best to help her, Lucy has to deal with her grief on her own terms. Meanwhile, her blossoming relationship with Evan and her renewed friendship with Steffi cause tension and intrigue.
All the while, a mysterious girl is sending messages to Cam’s old phone, and the question arises of whether his death was a tragic accident or a suicide. As Lucy goes through the dramas of teenage life, whilst dealing with the loss of her brother and the mystery surrounding his death, she begins to find herself again.
Quite simply put; this book is as beautiful, if not more beautiful, than it’s front-cover implies. It’s an amazing debut novel, one which I could hardly put down and finished reading in two days.
As I mentioned before, I met Trinity at the Newcastle Writer’s Festival, and she was super lovely and signed my copy of the book for me.
It’s a great story about love, loss, grief, and friendship, and I’d highly recommend it.