Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Where Sea Meets Sky by Karina Halle


Title: Where Sea Meets Sky
Author: Karina Halle
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: March 31, 2015
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
A new adult novel that perfectly captures the existential angst of your early twenties with raw wit, fresh insight, and true feeling from a critically adored USA TODAY bestselling author.

Joshua Miles has spent his early twenties spinning his wheels. Working dead-end jobs and living at home has left him exhausted and uninspired, with little energy to pursue his passion for graphic art. Until he meets Gemma Henare, a vivacious out-of-towner from New Zealand. What begins as a one-night stand soon becomes a turning point for Josh. He can’t get Gemma out of his head, even after she has left for home, and finds himself throwing caution to the wind for the first time in his life.

It’s not long before Josh is headed to New Zealand with only a backpack, some cash, and Gemma’s name to go on. But when he finally tracks her down, he finds his adventure is only just beginning. Equally infatuated, Gemma leads him on a whirlwind tour across the beautiful country, opening Josh up to life, lust, love, and all the messy heartache in between. Because, when love drags you somewhere, it might never let go even when you know you have to say goodbye.

Books that feature travel are some of my favourites to read. So whenever I hear of a book where the characters are travelling, it automatically gets added to my to-read list. That’s how I found myself being interested in Karina Halle’s Where Sea Meets Sky. I knew the travelling alone would hold my attention. Though it didn’t hurt that the story completely grabbed me as well.

On the night he met Gemma, Josh never expected that his life would take an unexpected turn. Until that night, he was working dead-end jobs, saving money in the hope of being accepted to art school in order to pursue his dream of being a graphic artist. But after meeting Gemma and spending a night with her, Josh’s life changes. He can’t get the New Zealander out of his head, and before he has time to overthink it, Josh hops on a plane to New Zealand, hoping to see Gemma again. In New Zealand, Josh finds Gemma and together they go on a road trip, exploring the country. On the road together, Gemma and Josh can’t deny the connection they feel, but will they be willing to let the other in when they know whatever they have will end once Josh leaves?

I’m not going to lie, the traveling aspect of the story is what initially drew me to Karina Halle’s Where Sea Meets Sky. Well, that and the fact that it was New Adult. I read the description and it sounded interesting beyond just the traveling around New Zealand aspect. I figured this was a story that, if nothing else, I would likely enjoy. What I didn’t expect was how much I loved it and how much some of the themes and characters resonated with me. First and foremost, I would say that Where Sea Meets Sky is a love story. This is about Josh and Gemma opening themselves up to the idea of falling in love and basically falling in love in the process. But it was also about two individuals trying to figure out their lives. That’s the part that really resonated with me. Both Gemma and Josh are in this sort of transitional period, where they mostly know what they want to be doing with their lives, they’re just struggling with how to get there. That idea of having a goal and working towards it because that’s what you feel like you should be doing even if it’s not really what you want to be doing. That, right there, resonated with me so much. It’s the point I’m at in my life. I have a university degree, I have a job that’s related to my degree, but is it really what I want to be doing? I have goals, I more or less know how to make them happen, but I’m not necessarily going to extra lengths to make them happen. And Where Sea Meets Sky got me thinking about that. It got me asking myself what I’m doing with my life. And if only for that, I loved this story. There’s nothing better than a story that makes you think and question your own life. So needless to say that because of that, I was able to relate quite a bit to Josh and Gemma.

I was a little skeptical about Josh and Gemma when I first started reading. I mean, things between them happen pretty fast and escalate pretty fast. But granted, that’s the nature of a one night stand. Which is what both of them thought it was. Except it wasn’t really. And that’s where I got a little skeptical. Because both of them kind of became very much focused on the other even though they knew they would likely never see each other again. But even though I was skeptical, I admired Josh for his impulsive decision to just go for it. To hop on a plane to New Zealand and go for what he wanted. So often, I wish I could be like that. But I’m not. Though like I’ve said, the book definitely got me thinking about it. But as much as I admired Josh for that, Gemma I had a tendency to get a little more annoyed with. I wanted her to once and for all make a choice about who she wanted to be with and stop jerking Josh around. And I wanted her to stand up for herself and realize that she deserved so much better than her ex. But as the story moved along, I started liking her more and more as I understood where she was coming from and what she was trying to move on from. And I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say that by the end of the book I was completely rooting for Josh and Gemma.

Karina Halle’s Where Sea Meets Sky took me completely by surprise. This story made me think in ways I didn’t expect and gave me characters I could relate to in ways I didn’t know I would. I can't wait to read the companion, Racing the Sun, and finding out more about one of the characters I met in this story. In the meantime, excuse me while I go look up flights to New Zealand…

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