Tuesday, May 28, 2013

REVIEW: Under The Dusty Sky By Allie Brenan

SUMMARY: (via Amazon) Sixteen-year-old Graceland Holloway doesn’t believe in perfect love, or love at all thanks to her mother. But she does believe in perfect memories.

And she gets them.

The perfect first crush, the perfect recital, the perfect summer with her best friend, the perfect first kiss…

When her oldest brother leaves the Holloway farm, Gracie meets the gorgeous new farm hand, eighteen-year-old Bentley McKinna.

Thinking he’ll be easy, like all boys are, Gracie plans his role in her next perfect memory…

The perfect first time.

~

Bentley knows it’s all a game he can’t afford to play.

But there’s only so much a guy can take… especially from someone like Gracie.
 
 
THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS FROM THE PEANUT GALLERY:
Whoooooo boy.

This is a complicated one, so bear with me while I attempt to sort out my feelings for this book, okay?
Taking place in Nebraska, Under The Dusty Sky is a story, which, on the surface, is about a girl who’s determined to lose her virginity to the new farmhand, who’s here running away from himself.
Gracie Holloway is nearly sixteen, and is on a quest for the perfect memory. Every perfect memory. So when it comes to losing her virginity, she’s not going to be any different about it. Bentley McKenna is a hired farmhand from LA, and Gracie decides that he’s perfect material for losing her virginity- he’ll be gone soon anyway, and all that will be left is the memory.
Dear God, when I read that, I nearly threw up.
There is something incredibly clinical and heartless sometimes about Gracie. Her almost complete disregard for other people’s feelings, the way that she manipulates anyone and everyone in her path- normally I would hate her. (And trust me, I know people like that. I’m not such a fan)

But honestly?
Mostly, I just felt bad for her.
As much as she’s a manipulating heartless bitch, her humanity pokes itself out every once in a while. And then you realize that her bitchiness is the world’s biggest shield in an attempt to make sure she doesn’t get hurt.
And that’s why I wanted to hug her, and tell her that life is going to happen, messy and wonderful and infinitely complicated, regardless of how much control you think you have over it.

TRUTH: I am not Miss Queen of the Universe from Nebraska. I’ve never stepped foot in Nebraska, actually. Or, to quote myself from this past weekend in a conversation with my baby sister and her friend, “honey, I was never the cool one.” (this encompasses every year of school, ever ever ever.)
While I have been to LA, I am not the daughter (or son, but you knew that already) of anyone rich or famous. (Fact: I am not rich. My parents are not rich. Nor are my grandparents. I can keep going, but I think you get the point.)
Which means in terms of relating to the two main characters, on the surface, it ain’t gonna happen.

But here’s where Allie snuck out of nowhere and BAM! Hit me with the brick of Oh-MY-God-how-does-she-know-I-do-that.
Perfection and Being Real.
While I definitely don’t take things as far as Gracie has in her search of perfection, I understand it. I do.
The quest of perfection is one that I am well acquainted with, as is the control-freak issue.
I understand that fear of the unknown, the spiraling terror of having things slip out of your control. And so no matter how hard I tried, (and trust me, I did) I couldn’t hate Gracie.
Because under her perfect little hair and her scheming little mind, she was nothing more than a mass of nerves and self-doubt.

Ben.
Oh, Ben, Ben, Ben, Bennnnnnnn.
*flutters* Hi. J
Ben and I have quite the interesting little relationship.
It went something like this.
“Ooh, you sound hot….wait, you’re really going to be bowled over by Miss Scheming Plastic here? Oh, no…. Dude, what are you doing? Do you really want to get tangled into that….Hmmm….SAY NO, BEN. KEEP SAYING NO….What? WHAT? WHAT?.... Fine…..ohhhh, you did good there, boy.”
So I talk to characters when I read sometimes.
So sue me.

Besides liking Ben for being the mostly sane narrator when Gracie was of in Perfectville, Neverland, Ben has moved his way up on my list of Book Dudes I Like for one excellent reason.
His ability to see past the façade of perfect, and to value the real Gracie that was hiding underneath.
Everybody plays mind games with other people, to a certain extent. We all have our personas we slap on in our attempt to be accepted and loved. Which is why loving someone, really loving someone? Means embracing their flaws as much as the good things.

I'm not going to go all SPOILER on you, because that's not very nice, but let me just say, the end is perfect.

VERDICT:
Should you read Under The Dusty Sky?
*DINGS THE BELL*

I’m gonna go with yes. You should.
It’s a deceptively thought-provoking book, and I give the ending two thumbs up (mostly because that’s all the thumbs I have).
Technically? The plot flowed, the voices were incredible, and even when I wanted to smack people, I kept reading.
And the cover’s really pretty, because Allie is magical like that.

And there seems to be a sequel in the works, featuring Lacy (Gracie's best friend, who I loves), and Asher, Gracie's brother. I am all colors of intrigued, and am mostly annoyed that I have to wait to read it.
Because I have no patience. :)
 
Say hi to Allie on alllll the social medias, because she is excellent and wonderful and you should.

SO! Off you go to Amazon to purchase you some book- and then come back so we can pull out the therapy couch for future discussions about the quest of perfection.

Or come back on Thursday, when I blog about something else, topic unknown at this point in time.
Yeah, baby, I lives on the edge.

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