In Sight of Stars by Gae Polisner took a bit for me to get through. Mostly because it deals with some very tough subjects: depression, suicide, family and love. Filled with many great observations there are some clichés as well. These can be overlooked due to the nature of the story. These also help break up the tension of a typically over dramatic teenager mentality. (Spoiler) The clues are there as to why the father commits suicide, why the mother is the way she is, and what other characters will eventually end up doing, but like Klee (pronounced Clay) we go on the journey with him learning about the big facts of life.
Filled with great lines: “sometimes we choose people for the wrong reasons, for what we want to see in them, rather than who they are.” And “Am I sorry for everything with her, or only the bad parts?” and interesting characters (a little person nun, a 12-year-old genius, a socialite mom) this book is a great new Young Adult read.
The adult, as I mentioned will have to suspend their dislike of the clichés (Klee is a little to “angsty” and the mother too much a “socialite mom” and their contrast of being “from the city” vs. “the small town” is a little much) but the teen will eat this up. I would have liked a slightly different ending with a few of the characters and more wrap up with others, but the way Klee comes to understand his mother is realistic, yet a bit over optimistic. The tie-in to Van Gogh is heavy handed, but also a thought provoking parallel.