Swimming Through Clouds by Rajdeep Paulus

I live in the in between. Between what if and what is. It’s how I manage. It’s the only way I know. Everyone has their way. This is mine.

When high school, cell phone disruption forces a classroom ban, the words on a Post-it note spark a sticky romance between two unlikely friends. Transfer student Talia Vanderbilt has one goal at her new school: to blend in with the walls. Lagan Desai, basketball captain and mathlete, would do just about anything to befriend the new girl. One Post-it note at a time, Lagan persuades Talia to peel back her heart, slowly revealing her treasure chest of pain—an absent mother, a bedridden brother, and an abusive father. In a world where hurt is inevitable, the two teens search for a safe place to weather the storms of life. Together.

Once again, I started this book having no idea what I was getting into. It seems to be a trend with me and books, to be honest(maybe I should start reading more just the first two sentences of the synopsis?) . In the first few chapters, I was kind of going "Oh, no, this is not what I thought it would be at all. What am I doing?" But that quickly changed.

Swimming Through Clouds turned out to be a time-well-spent kind of book. At times it was almost painful to read, but it was definitely worth it. 

The characters started off as a bit dull to me, but they definitely grew on me the more the story progressed. The book really only had four characters of importance: Talia, Jesse, their father, and Lagan. Without a doubt, I was always rooting for Talia, although, let's be honest, as the victim of an abusive father, I think it would be impossible not to. There were certainly times when Talia confused me and made me somewhat frustrated, but the more I got to know her the more I understood where she was coming from, even though it is impossible for me to relate to what she is going through. There was some definite character growth for Talia in this book and I really appreciate that. 

Jesse, Talia's younger brother, was another good character. He didn't make me frustrated or mad at all, and I really did sympathize with him for the entire story. Their father, though, I felt completely opposite about. 100% hater, just as we are supposed to. Some of he things he did made my stomach turn. As the synopsis says, he is abusive towards Talia and her brother. One thing that I would have liked is a bit more background on him. I felt like I never really got to understand why their father was the way he was.

Lastly, there was Lagan. He was truly a very sweet guy. The way he treated Talia was wonderful, although I do wish that, at least towards the end of the book, Talia had been able to become a bit more independent and not so... spookish. 

Also worth mentioning is Rajdeep Paul's's writing and storytelling, which were absolutely wonderful! It was all so detailed, and not in that please-stop-talking-about-the-exact-shade-of-the-neighbours-eyes kind of way, but in that I-can-totally-picture-everything-that-is-happening-in-vivid-detail way, and it was fantastic. Also, the pacing of the book was really really good. 

The one thing that I would have changed in this book is the ending. The ending itself was fantastic, but I think that an epilogue would have been just right to finish off. Swimming Through Clouds had one of those somewhat open-ended endings that lets the reader imagine what happens, but I think it is almost a bit too open in a way. Personally, I would have liked to have a bit more closure. There seemed to be a few things that could have been mentioned while still having that open-ended ending.

Overall, I think this is a book that I would definitely recommend. It was waaayy out of my normal comfort zone and yet I still thoroughly enjoyed it. However, I don't think enjoying this book is the main thing. Instead, I think the most important part of this book is that it made me think about this kind of situation in a way that was meaningful and not always 100% comfortable. It's one of those books that might not be light and happy to read, but is valuable and important.

The Good: Writing, overall story and meaning
The Bad: Possibly could have used an epilogue or something at the end
The Verdict: 8.5/10. Loved it!
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