I've had a crazy start to the school year and have been a pretty absent blogger, but I've started reading for the CYBILS and am going to try to get back to blogging more frequently. Last night I read SKYSCRAPING by Cordelia Jensen. Jensen was the Poet Laureate of Perry County, Pennsylvania in 2006 snd 2007, but this is her first novel. In acknowledgments in the back, Jensen says that the book started as memoir poems, when she was in college, but then evolved into a work of fiction. It's loosely based on Jensen's loss of her father to AIDS, in the early 1990's.
SKYSCRAPING is set in New York City in 1993. Mira, a successful student and editor of the yearbook is just starting her senior year in high school. Her family includes her father, a Spanish literature professor, her sometimes absent artist mother, and a younger sister, April, who is a freshman at the same school. She is a typical on top of the world high school senior, enjoying high school and anticipating college, until she makes a devastating discovery about her family, and then her world falls apart.
Mira is taking an astronomy class and Jensen ties the whole book together by drawing on metaphors and images from space metaphors-- the moon, the Milky Way, constellations, the Hubble telescope. Her words are sad and haunting and powerful and hopeful. You can read an interesting interview of how Jensen uses imaging here.
FULL MOON, 24 DAYS LEFT
i don't take a cab
the end of March air coats me
it is cool breezy and my jacket is thin
but after the hospital i just want to walk and
savor time the moon is full follow it down
the city streets one month and almost a week's
passed already Dad's words about my future en-
circle me i know i need to use the time left
to grow love from something waning
to something waxing, watered,
bright, round, full
Definitely a book for older middle schoolers or high school students or adults. A book about family and loss. It would also be interesting for a study of how authors use repeated images and metaphors.