A heartrending, bold novel in verse about family, identity, and forgiveness
Mira is just beginning her senior year of high school when she discovers her father with his male lover. Her world–and everything she thought she knew about her family–is shattered instantly. Unable to comprehend the lies, betrayal, and secrets that–unbeknownst to Mira–have come to define and keep intact her family’s existence, Mira distances herself from her sister and closest friends as a means of coping. But her father’s sexual orientation isn’t all he's kept hidden. A shocking health scare brings to light his battle with HIV. As Mira struggles to make sense of the many fractures in her family's fabric and redefine her wavering sense of self, she must find a way to reconnect with her dad–while there is still time.
Told in raw, exposed free verse, Skyscraping reminds us that there is no one way to be a family.
Praise for SKYSCRAPING:
A 2016 NCTE Children's Notable Verse Novel
A Booklist Top 10 LGBTQ Book for Youth title
A YALSA 2016 Best Fiction for Young Adults title
A Booklist Essential LGBTQIA Book for Youth
A Los Angeles Public Library's Best Book for Teens
* "Exquisite free-verse poems...illuminating and deeply felt."—Booklist *STARRED*
* "[An] exquisite coming-of-age novel in verse."—School Library Connection *STARRED*
“This book should be popular with fans of Sarah Dessen and would be a worthy addition to most high school library collections.”—VOYA
"Jensen's spare free-verse poems and accessible imagery realistically portray the fraught moments of adolescent identity formation with great empathy. Compelling snapshots of contemporary family drama and the AIDS epidemic as captured through a teen's eyes."—Kirkus Reviews
"Written in straightforward, accessible free verse tinged with celestial metaphors, this storyset in a well-rendered 1993 NYCis sincere, touching, and heartwrenching." —Horn Book
"It left me speechless. Skyscraping is like a regular book with wings."—Becky Albertalli, author of National Book Award finalist Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
"In gorgeous poetic verse, Jensen captures the raw emotions and hard truths of a family dealing with forgiveness and love.... Your heart will soar and break and heal anew."—An Na, author of Printz Award winner and National Book Award finalist A Step from Heaven
" Skyscraping is brilliant, sharp and bright. A stellar story. Jensen has written a powerful tale about love and loss, a story that will stick with readers long after they’ve reached the end. Her poetry is vivid, tangible, and visceral. She’s a rising star with a breathtaking debut. This is a novel made of star stuff."—Skila Brown, author of Caminar
|Publisher:||Penguin Young Readers Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.50(d)|
|Age Range:||14 Years|
About the Author
Cordelia Jensen was Poet Laureate of Perry County, PA in 2006 and 2007. She holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and teaches creative writing in Philadelphia, where she lives with her husband and children. Follow her on Twitter @cordeliajensen.
Read an Excerpt
A UNIVERSE AWAY
I drop my backpack. Run.
Don’t wait for the elevator.
Chase the stairs down, like a slide.
Run past Jimmy, out onto Riverside.
I make it to the water.
Yell at a boat on the Hudson,
beg it to take me away, under a bridge,
out to the ocean, vast and wide,
beg someone to make me blind,
take me out of this shady city,
to a country, a continent,
a universe away from here.
My eyes blur,
I don’t know what I’ve just seen.
My legs shake,
the earth has shifted.
What People are Saying About This
Advanced praise for SKYSCRAPING:
“Skyscraping is brilliant, sharp and bright. A stellar story. Jensen has written a powerful tale about love and loss, a story that will stick with readers long after they’ve reached the end. Her poetry is vivid, tangible, and visceral. She’s a rising star with a breathtaking debut. This is a novel made of star stuff.”
—Skila Brown, author of Caminar
“In gorgeous poetic verse, Jensen captures the raw emotions and hard truths of a family dealing with forgiveness and love.... Your heart will soar and break and heal anew.” –An Na, author of Printz Award winner and National Book Award finalist A Step from Heaven
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It’s 1994 and Mira is a senior looking forward to her last year at high school. When she catches her father with his lover, a man she’s known for years, her whole world is being turned upside down. Her mother has recently returned home after a long stay abroad and she finally discovers the truth behind her parents’ marriage. Mira can’t process this news, she’s devastated that her whole foundation is apparently based on lies and she no longer knows who she is anymore. She stops caring and distances herself from everyone around her. Can she eventually find her way back to the Mira she used to be? Mira hasn’t had the time to get used to her father’s relationship when tragedy strikes. She has to help her father when he’s really sick and he tells her his next secret, he is HIV positive. The illness is progressing rapidly and Mira has to make a difficult choice, will she hold on to her anger or can she let go, so she can properly say goodbye to her father? Can she forgive her parents for their dishonesty and her father for shocking her to her core to make the most of the time they have left together? Skyscraping is an incredibly impressive emotional book. I was blown away by Cordelia Jensen’s beautiful verse and she perfectly describes Mira’s struggles and each emotional stage she’s going through. I had tears in my eyes while reading her story. Her whole life shatters, she has to deal with coming to terms with the family secrets, her father’s terrible illness and people’s reactions, both good and bad. Fortunately she’s surrounded with love, friendship and acceptance and this eventually helps her to cope. I loved how Cordelia Jensen describes her journey, it’s raw, honest and open and it completely took my breath away. Cordelia Jensen is a fantastic author. She has a rare ability to choose the exact right words, which makes every line she writes spot on. There’s so much depth in her story and each of Mira’s feelings are being throughly and beautifully explored. Skyscraping is poignant with many different layers and several easily distinguishable and precious kinds of love. It’s a strong story about the way a fractured, but close family deals with a heartbreaking disease. Cordelia Jensen’s writing moved and transformed me, Skyscraping is absolutely brilliant. It’s a compelling must-read that will stay with me for a very long time.