Review: Pieces of Sky by Trinity Doyle

Release Date: June 1st 2015
Published By: Allen & Unwin
Pages: 288
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Purchase: Click here to purchase

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: Lucy’s life was going as smoothly as any teenager’s could. She was in the local swimming club, and loved it; she lived with her parents and her brother, Cam, in the small coastal town she’d known all her life. She had friends, she had goals - she had a life. Now Cam is dead, her parents might as well be - and Lucy can’t bear to get back in the pool. All she has to look forward to now is a big pile of going-nowhere.

Drawn to Steffi, her wild ex-best-friend who reminds Lucy of her mysterious, unpredictable brother, and music-obsessed Evan, the new boy in town, Lucy starts asking questions. Why did Cam die? Was it an accident or suicide? But as Lucy hunts for answers she discovers much more than she expects. About Cam. About her family. About herself.

Review: Pieces of Sky is an contemporary YA novel from Aussie debut author Trinity Doyle. And while I do not claim to be an expert on Aussie YA, I must say that I think it is books like this one that are really putting Aussie authors on the map.

As Lucy tries to live her life after the death of her brother she finds that more than her heart is broken by his death. She is really struggling to cope without Cam; from the empty void her brother filled in her life, to the distance her parents have put around them, to the fear she now feels about the one thing that was her own - swimming.

Lucy’s life has been completely turned upside down and she is filled with the unanswered questions that come from the death a loved one. Lucy starts to focus on the suspicious circumstances surrounding Cam’s death, and this soon amplifies when mysterious poetic texts start appearing on her brother’s phone. Lucy is determined to find out who is sending these texts to her dead brother, and hopes that the mystery sender can also unravel some of the mystery about the night he died.

But to understand and accept Cam’s death, Lucy must face some truths: about her family, about Cam and about herself.

Lucy’s journey unravels secrets, avoidance, realities, mysteries, but also acceptance, friendship, truth and peace - and it does so in the most honest and heartfelt ways. The story itself begins with a heartbreaking scene about Lucy’s brother’s coffin, and this ache continues throughout the whole book. The desperation, devotion, grief and heartbreak is weaved throughout every page, but there are also examples of hope, courage and the realism of dealing with a broken heart and the determination in finding the strength it takes keep your head above the water.

Pieces of Sky takes a realistic look at the various ways of dealing with life and death. And this is not just about Lucy, this is about her family, her friends and quite possibly, about Cam. The heartache, denial, questions and yearning that comes along with grief is explored in many ways, and I really enjoyed, and respected, that different stages and coping mechanisms of grief were explored throughout this storyline.

I liked the fact that during Lucy’s grief, she reconnected with a childhood friend. In many stories there seems to be a new person “conveniently appear”, but I felt that reconnecting with someone that you were once close with was a realistic option, and it provided a few nice little moments. Which leads me to my next point: I especially loved the relationship dynamics within this story! The crush who also happens to be the brother’s best friend, the annoying and unwanted Aunty, the disconnected and heartbroken parents, the friend who is only a friend because it is convenient and the long lost friend - the relationships were fractured, imperfect and real.

There were a few little copy-edit issues I had with this novel, but then again, I am one of those people that pick on the most stupidest of little things, so it is quite possible that most people will read it and not notice these tiny flaws.

But this is a great Aussie YA debut! Set in a small Australian coastal town, Pieces of Sky gives a touch of everything good about Australian based stories. It doesn’t not overpower the storyline, but there are nice little touches of home. Oh, and it has to be said… that cover!!! What a beautiful cover!!! I don’t really need to say more about that, just look at it!

I really enjoyed Pieces of Sky, and the effortlessly easy and compelling writing style. And whilst I loved the journey that Lucy takes, I was left with some unanswered questions - but as Lucy well knows, such is life.


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