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Posted January 3, 2013
This is a story of two pre-teens and their friendships with one another that help them get through life as well as some personal tragedies.
D.C. Blau and her family live in New Wellington but move to Old Westwood. It is summer in Long Island and D.C. goes to party at her Cousin Becky’s house. D.C. feels like the too tall out of town girl, and wears a bright yellow shirt with a rainbow lollipop on it, which makes her stand out that much more.
While at her Cousins party, she tells her Cousin Becky she thinks Rob is cute. Rob a very shy bashful dwarf, which D.C. calls all of the boys at the party, but unlike all the other dwarfs Rob is allot quitter that the other dwarfs that at the party. While D.C. is in the bathroom everyone spreads the word (via her Cousin), that D.C. likes Rob.
Rob and D.C. end up dancing at the party. When the party ends, they promise to meet up again over the summer. However, tragedies in both families make this almost impossible for them to get together.
As the new school year begins, their paths continue to cross and a friendship begins to ensue, that start sharing school projects, nature walks. As the two develop a friendship, tragic and joyous similarities in their lives reveal themselves.
Levine writes this in the first person narratives, alternating between D.C. and Rob. However, as the story develops a few other narratives enter the picture as the story progresses. This is a touching story about friendship, life and two friends coping with the tragedies that come their way. I would recommend this book to teens and adults alike.
I would like to thank Richard for giving me the opportunity to read and review his book. I would also like to thank him for sending me a book to giveaway to my readers.
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Posted March 26, 2012
Friendships, tragedy, life
Reviewed by Ben Weldon (age 14) for Reader Views (3/12)
“Island Eyes, Island Skies” by Richard Levine is the story of D.C., a tween girl, and Rob, a tween boy, as they share life experiences and learn to overcome tragedy. After first meeting at her cousin’s birthday party, Rob and D.C. were reunited at school when D.C.’s family moved to Old Westwood. Soon after they got to know each other, Rob’s father had a heart attack and D.C.’s mother had a miscarriage. D.C. and Rob found each other as kindred souls seeking explanations for the random tragedies that had struck their families. Will Rob and D.C. come to accept their disasters or will they continue to be haunted by these tragedies forever?
Just days after starting her new school and meeting Rob again, tragedy struck. Rob was playing basketball with his father when his father had a heart attack, collapsed and died right in front of him. That same day, D.C.’s mother had a miscarriage. After these great tragedies, Rob and D.C. were eventually drawn together because they could understand the magnitude of each other’s loss and offer each other sympathy. But little did they suspect the worse fate that was to befall them.
This was not the most suspenseful book, but had some redeeming features that made me want to keep reading. It had some humor and a little suspense thrown in for good measure. The book was not as much for-fun reading as for watching someone else struggle with tragedy and learn how to overcome it.
I would recommend “Island Eyes, Island Skies” by Richard Levine to people who like books where the main characters must overcome loss. I would especially recommend this book to people who have just had a tragedy in the family. The book had quite the surprise ending that will keep you on your toes, and you will have to read the book to find out what happens.
Posted February 7, 2012
Island Eyes, Island Skies – what a strange name! The synopsis at the back cover of the book says, “While at her cousin’s birthday party, young D.C. meets Rob. They have a great time and promise to meet again over the summer, but a father’s untimely death and a mother’s miscarriage keep them apart.” It might not sound interesting, but don’t be fooled by the name of the book and perhaps a non-interesting synopsis. Island Eyes, Island Skies by Richard Levine is a uniquely written juvenile fiction.
Juvenile fiction often deals with magic, romance, mystery, detective work, or adventure. The stories are also usually narrated by only one person. However, Levine’s book is a compilation of pages from diaries of its characters. It is also a book that mainly deals with the feelings, thoughts, experiences, and ideas of its two main characters – D. C. and Rob – growing up in twenty-first century Long Island, New York. They are like typical teenagers with cell phones they use to text with, and flat-screen TVs in their homes. They are conscious of the image they present to others, and they make fun of their teachers behind their backs. However, at the same time, they are teenagers who respect and love their parents and siblings, love to learn, and are interested in impressing their teachers and doing well in school. They like the outdoors and sports, are dreamers, creative and nostalgic, qualities oftentimes missing in many teenagers today who are more engrossed in their texting, tweeting, and Facebook activities. D. C. is a creative girl with extensive knowledge of softball and Queen Guinevere. Rob is a quieter, introspective and nostalgic type of boy who also has exhaustive knowledge of baseball and likes using not-so-common, impressive sounding English words taught by his teacher. Thus, this book will impart good English vocabulary to the younger readers. It will also teach young readers that one can be "cool" and at the same time good in studies; good in studies does not make one a "nerd."
The book is written in a flowing, lucid language, which children to adults, native English speakers to non-native English speakers - everyone will enjoy and understand. Rob’s father dies prematurely; Rob blames himself for his death and yearns for the presence of his father. Rob’s longing for his father creates sadness and an element of nostalgia in the book. The book is also funny and hilarious, with D. C.’s description of her alien father, Rob’s imaginative newspaper headlines and description of his litter sister Mattie, and the students’ descriptions of their teachers, the “Bogenator” and the “O-Man.” The author shows vivid imagination in his description of the feelings of young teenagers and classroom scenes. Often times, the descriptions are so vivid that adult readers will be transported back to their younger days and classrooms.
This book is a must-read for young-adults. It teaches vocabulary, encourages imagination, diary-writing, creativity, sports, love of the outdoors, and independent thinking. It imparts to younger readers the notion that one can be cool and popular in school, but at the same time be dedicated students, passionate, loving, and respectful. The book can be enjoyed by both juvenile male and female as the book upholds both male and female character equally, unlike some books where either the young male dominates or the young female dominates. Being a teacher, I would highly recommend this book to everyone.