Blue Sun, Yellow Sky by Jamie Hoang

Blue Sun, Yellow Sky by Jamie HoangBlue Sun, Yellow Sky by Jamie Hoang
Published by HJ Press, self-published on April 25, 2015
Pages: 316
Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration.
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Hailed as “One of the best technical painters of our time” by an L.A. Times critic, 27 year-old, Aubrey Johnson's work is finally gaining traction. But as she weaves through what should be a celebration of her art, a single nagging echo of her doctor’s words refuses to stay silent—there is no cure. In less than eight weeks Aubrey is going blind.

Traveling on a one-way ticket around the world with childhood friend Jeff Anderson, Aubrey is in complete denial. But a blindfolded game of tasting foreign foods in China jolts her into confronting the reality of her situation. So begins her quest.

In this adult coming of age story, Aubrey starts out at odds with her crippling disability and has a hard time accepting help. But on her journey she finds a deeper understanding of herself and her life—sometimes fragmented and complex, but always with relentless truth.

As an artist, Aubrey sees everything around her through a creative lens, paying attention to every single detail as she takes in these new-to-her places. It was so nice to get wrapped up in her perspective as she and Jeff, her best friend from childhood, travel around the world. The dialogue was laid back and natural, similar to the way I speak with my own friends. I enjoyed the easygoing banter between Aubrey and Jeff as they reconnected.

Aubrey likes to be in control; you see it time and time again throughout the novel. So it was difficult for me to understand why she’d spend the majority of the time she had left—with her sight—on a trip like this. Preparing for her inevitable blindness would have given her some control. That’s some major denial!

The bulk of the story consists of Aubrey and Jeff’s trip around the world. Once the trip was over and Aubrey returns home, the book fell a little flat for me. The storyline from that point on simply felt too rushed to be believable. She loses her sight completely and is living on her own and doing normal things in an astonishingly short amount of time, with not enough explanation as to how she adapted so quickly. That transition wasn’t fleshed out well enough for me, making the last portion of the novel feel unrealistically hopeful and happy.

The ending aside, overall Blue Sun, Yellow Sky was still a very nice read. I didn’t have to think too hard, and I was able to thoroughly relax and enjoy the book. I appreciated that so much. The storyline itself was predictable from start to finish, but you know, sometimes that is just fine. This would make a good beach read!

  • Hi Monika! Thank you for this beautifully and well thought out review! I cannot tell you how appreciative I am for your time reading my debut novel! Without readers/bloggers like you indie authors would have no voice. Thank you again!

  • This sounds really good! I think I’m going to add it to my tbr list!

  • Liang

    I have to agree with part of this review. For the first 44 pages I was thinking Aubrey was in denial; the first reference to how she is feeling comes in a direct reference on page 45: “my internal feelings of fear and sadness.” What? Where? That one indication of her internal struggle made me think I’d missed something, so I went back and reread the first 44 pages. There is officially no reference or demonstration of how Aubrey is feeling to this point. To make readers care about your character, an author needs to show, not tell, especially given the dark theme of going blind. For this reason, the first part of the novel fell entirely flat for me, though I am going to try and read the rest of the book. I am still hopeful that Aubrey’s trip around the world will at least serve as a backdrop for the use of symbolism and metaphor to demonstrate how Aubrey is feeling. If not, this would be an opportunity wasted.
    And I am also going blind, though not from the same condition as Aubrey. My struggle has mirrored the grief I felt over the death of my mother. Stages of grief would have been a good jumping off point to show Aubrey’s reaction to and coping mechanism for her certain blindness.
    Regardless, I remain hopeful that the true depth of this novel has yet to be revealed.

    Liang