Summary of Book: Skylar and Josh are brought together by working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and, soon, something deeper. Compelling and ultimately hopeful, this is a powerful examination of love, loss, and resilience
“And maybe some people are like collages – no matter how broken or useless we felt, we were an essential part of the whole. We mattered.”
Ah, this is one of those books that you open and begin reading just because it sounds interesting but it becomes so much more. It’s not a light read. Not at all. It might start out light but slowly by slowly it sucks you in deeper and deeper until you’ve been reading for four hours straight and it’s five in the morning and you have to get up for work in an hour but you. cant. stop. reading.
“If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?” I opened my mouth to say San Francisco or maybe Madrid—somewhere exotic. But what came out was, “Here. Right here.”
This shit sucked me in like a damned vacuumed vortex and spit me back out with my heart shattered but at the same time remade.
“I don’t really know what it means to move on, but lately, with Sky, I’m starting to feel like I want to because when I look at her, I don’t see you or the war or any of the shit in my head. I just see her, and it’s like suddenly I can breathe again after holding my breath for so long.”
It’s a slow-burn, small-town book with a wounded marine and a girl who just wants to get away from the bullshit and the life that, in her town, everyone seems destined for. She doesn’t want that life, wants more for herself, and when the wounded marine (both physically and mentally) comes back into town, she is drawn to him like she’s drawn to her collages.
“It gave me hope: if you could make a beautiful piece of art from discarded newspapers and old matchbooks, then it meant that everything had potential. And maybe people were like collages–no matter how broken or useless we felt, we were an essential part of the whole. We mattered.”
Skylar and Josh’s connection, chemistry, problems and their love is so blatant that it sucks you in and ropes you along as if you’re right there with them. It made my heart drop, speed up, stop and restart all in one chapter. It’s one of those things that you just…. feel. When you know, you know. I can honestly go on and on about this book.
“Everything—the moon, the fireworks, the fields—had an otherworldly beauty, and I shivered, greedy for these bits of loveliness the universe was throwing our way tonight.”
What I think is most important and what sets this apart from other military books I’ve read is that, in other books, the marine comes back, usually wounded, but the marine usually just picks back up where they left off. They’ll have some issues but nothing too in-depth. This book really expressed the challenges, both outside and in, of a marine coming home from duty. It really showed the day-to-day internal struggle that they have to go through. Also, even though they have left the war, the fight really isn’t over. I just think the author explained this perfectly, in a way that I haven’t read about in a lot of military-based books. I thought it was both depressing and eye opening to finally get that outlook that’s much, much needed. That more people should center their military themed books around.
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”
It was refreshing, amazing and fuck, I loved this book.
“It’s been almost a year since we walked onto that field. But I won’t let that be my last memory of you. Instead, this is what I see: It’s the first real day of spring and we’re patrolling on foot and the mountains surround us, giant and snowcapped, and you turn around in a circle with this huge fuckin’ smile on your face and you shout, Look at this beautiful world! And then I take the picture that’s sitting on my desk right now. That’s what I’m gonna think of from now on, every day, when I see that smile on your face. Look at this beautiful world. Ma’a salama, brother. See you on the other side.”