Thursday, February 26, 2015

Review: The Same Sky

The Same Sky
By Amanda Eyre Ward
Published: January 20, 2015

In this heartrending and poignant novel, award-winning author Amanda Eyre Ward tells the story of Alice Conroe, a forty year old Texas barbecue owner who has the perfect life, except she and her husband long for a child. Unable to conceive, she’s trying desperately to adopt but her destiny is quickly altered by a young woman she’s never met.

Fearless thirteen-year-old Carla Trujilio is being raised by her grandmother in Honduras along with her four year old twin brothers. Her mother is sending money home from Texas where she’s trying to make a better life for her family, but she only has enough to bring one son to her. When Carla’s grandmother dies, Carla decides to take her fate into her own hands and embarks on a dangerous journey across the border with Junior, the twin left behind.

Two powerful journeys intersecting at a pivotal moment in time: Alice and Carla’s lives will be forever and profoundly changed. Heartbreaking, emotional, and arresting, this novel is about finding the courage to trail blaze your own path in life with faith, hope and love, no matter the struggle or the tragedy.

My review:

I think the best part of this book is the story of Carla Trujilio and her difficult life in Honduras and her struggle to make it to the U.S. where she hopes for a better life for her and her brother.  The author does a good job of describing Carla's circumstances and her determination to survive and the horrors of her journey. I felt sympathy for her even though her plan involved breaking the law by illegally immigrating to the States. I wanted to see Carla make it and thrive. I wasn't sure how Alice's story would tie in with Carla's but I thought maybe Alice would take her in and help her.

Alice is a cancer survivor dealing with the sorrow of not being able to have a baby and an adoption that fell through. She has the opportunity to help mentor an inner-city teen which proves to be harder than she thought. I liked how she tried so hard to be there for Evian but I didn't like how she didn't really take her husband's feelings about it into account. She also loses sympathy points by how closed off she is about discussing the loss of the adopted baby with her husband. It's like she feels he doesn't need to grieve. The parts of the story about BBQ and the troubles of the school and community with gang violence kind of seemed to take away from the time that could have been devoted to Carla's story instead or to developing Alice's character more. 

Compared to Carla, Alice's life is a walk in the park. The two separate narratives never fully merge into a story that works. Alice and Carla barely cross paths at the very end of the book which was disappointing for me as the description of the book suggests otherwise. Overall I liked this book but it could have been stronger without Alice's story. I would have liked to read more about Carla as she grows up and what her future holds. 

For readers looking for more fiction about the immigrant experience, I would suggest The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez.

Note: I received an ARC for review purposes courtesy of the publisher and Netgalley


  1. I am very intrigued about the immigrant experience, so I should probably check out this one and The Book of Unknown Americans. After reading The Red Umbrella and a few others, I have really enjoyed learning more about various cultures and their experiences coming to the US. Thanks for putting this book on my radar, Christina!

  2. I like immigrant stories. Such a lot of history, faith, heartbreak, both love and sadness in such stories


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