Book Review: Blue Sky Days

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Title: Blue Sky Days

Author: Marie Landry

Genre: YA Contemporary

Amazon Summary:

A year after graduating from high school, nineteen-year-old Emma Ward feels lost. She has spent most of her life trying to please her frigid, miserable mother – studying hard, getting good grades, avoiding the whole teenage rebellion thing – and now she feels she has no identity beyond that. Because she spent so many years working hard and planning every moment of her life, she doesn’t have any friends, has never had a boyfriend, and basically doesn’t know who she is or what she really wants from life. Working two part-time jobs to save money for college hasn’t helped her make decisions about her future, so she decides it’s time for a change. She leaves home to live with her free-spirited, slightly eccentric Aunt Daisy in a small town that makes Emma feel like she’s stepped back in time. When Emma meets Nicholas Shaw, everything changes – he’s unlike anyone she’s ever met before, the kind of man she didn’t even know existed in the 21st century. Carefree and spirited like Daisy, Nicholas teaches Emma to appreciate life, the beauty around her, and to just let go and live. Between Daisy and Nicholas, Emma feels like she belongs somewhere for the first time in her life, and realizes that you don’t always need a plan – sometimes life steers you where you’re meant to be. Life is wonderful, an endless string of blue sky days, until Nicholas is diagnosed with cancer, and life changes once again for Emma in ways she never thought possible. Now it’s time for her to help Nicholas the way he’s helped her. Emma will have to use her new-found strength, and discover along the way if love really is enough to get you through.

Personal reaction:

Blue Sky Days was a very sweet coming of age kind of story. There’s first love, first heartache (although not for reasons most people go through), deciding what to do with one’s life and standing up for one’s self. The romance is cute and sweet but not without struggles and hurdles to overcome.

I have to admit, this isn’t the type of story that I normally go for. I tend to like my romances a little more…intense, but this was a nice change of pace and it was certainly enjoyable. I think it will appeal to a very large crowd, especially those who enjoy a good love story but don’t want to blush while reading it.

Questions:

Q) Is Blue Sky Days your first novel?

My first published novel, yes. I’ve written several others, but none of them were worth publishing!

Q) What went into the making of the book? Did you need to do a lot of research?

There wasn’t a whole lot of research involved. Riverview, the setting for the book, is a fictional place in Canada, so I had carte blanche and was able to make everything up regarding the town. When it came to Nicholas’s cancer diagnosis, I had quite a bit of personal experience with leukemia because my dad had leukemia when I was little, but I did have to do a bit of research to make sure I got certain facts straight. I also did some research on construction, Nicholas’s profession – my editor helped me quite a bit with that.

Q) What prompted you to keep the story so sweet when a lot of today’s YA romances are more…let’s say, gritty?

Part of it was that I didn’t want to do what everyone else was doing. Sometimes it’s refreshing to read about a young adult relationship that’s not fraught with tension and angst and drama. The obstacles Emma and Nicholas faced were very different from the obstacles most other teens deal with, so I thought their relationship should be different to sort of balance it all out.

Q) What was the hardest part of Blue Sky Days to put on paper?

Most of the second half of the book was hard for me. Nicholas’s diagnosis, treatment, and then the whole climax – I would sit and bawl my eyes out as I wrote it because these characters were so real to me and I loved them so much, it hurt me to put them through that kind of pain, even though I knew it had to be done. I drew so much from personal experience that it was like re-opening an old wound and pouring it all onto paper. I tried to add in some fun and humour, though, to make it a bit less painful – if not for me, then at least for the readers.

Q) What or who inspires you to write?

So many things. I’m an avid reader, and always have been, so I draw inspiration from other writers. I also draw inspiration from real life – I’m a shameless eavesdropper and will often get ideas for storylines or dialogue from eavesdropping. My family inspires me every single day in a million ways. And music inspires me – U2 is my favorite band, and I’ve drawn so much inspiration from their music. They’ve been there for me when it felt like no one else was.

Q) If you could have dinner with any author, past or present, who would spend the evening discussing your book, who would it be?

That’s hard! For years, I’ve said I want to be Nora Roberts when I grow up because she’s such a beautiful, prolific writer. I have a million questions I’d like to ask her, and I’d like to hear about her personal journey as a writer. I’d also give just about anything to meet JK Rowling and pick her brain. To be in the presence of such genius would be mind-blowing.

Q) What are some of your favorite works by other authors?

I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, and have read the books multiple times. I also love Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery, the Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis, Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. Recently, two of my favorite books were Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson, and Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. (Ed. note: Amy & Roger & Anna & the kiss were two of my favorite reads from last year! Make sure you pick up Lola and the Boy Next Door too! Companion novel to A&tFK!)

Q) What can we expect from you next?

Right now I’m switching gears and working on an adult book. I guess it would be categorized as chick lit – there’s romance in it, but it’s not the main focus of the story. I had planned to write a contemporary adult romance with some minor elements of magic, set in Ireland, but this new idea came to me a few days before Blue Sky Days was released, and I just had to go with it. I do plan to go back to writing YA eventually, though.

Q) Where can fans follow and connect with you?

I’m everywhere! I have a book blog and an author blog – Ramblings of a Daydreamer, and Marie Landry, Author respectively. I’m on Twitter, GoodReads, and I have a Facebook fan page for my writing in general, and one for the book – Marie Landry, Writer, and Blue Sky Days by Marie Landry. I love connecting with people, so friend me, follow me, tweet me, chat with me, whatever!

Q) Lastly, for fun, if Blue Sky Days was being made into a major motion picture, who would you want cast to play Emma and Nicholas?

I’ve been waiting for this question! I originally got the idea for Nicholas from Ryan Gosling’s character in The Notebook, so ideally he would play Nicholas, even though he’s 31 now and Nicholas is 22. He’s got the look, the style, and he’s Canadian. I’ve also pictured Chad Michael Murray (from One Tree Hill) as Nicholas, but again, he’s a little older. It took me months to figure out who would make a good Emma, and I finally realized that Nina Dobrev (from The Vampire Diaries) would be perfect. Dark hair, dark eyes, beautiful, and she’s Canadian, too. I’m hoping that once people read the book, they’ll start giving me ideas for who they’d cast as Emma and Nicholas – I think I’m almost too close to it, because they’ve always been real people to me.

On a final note:

Marie would like to thank the people who have supported her by showing her appreciation in some small way. So, for every person who buys a copy of Blue Sky Days during the tour and sends Marie proof of purchase via email to irishstar_83{at}hotmail{dot}com she will enter you into a giveaway to win a book of your choice up to $12 CAN from The Book Depository.

If you’re interested in purchasing this sweet and touching romance, you can find it in the following locations:

AMAZON: here
SMASHWORDS: here

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