In Sight of Stars
Seventeen-year-old Klee’s father was the center of his life. He introduced Klee to the great museums of New York City and the important artists on their walls, he told him stories made of myths and magic. Until his death.Now, forced to live in the suburbs with his mom, Klee can’t help but feel he’s lost all the identifying parts of himself—his beloved father, weekly trips to the MoMA, and the thrumming energy of New York City. That is until he meets wild and free Sarah in art class, with her quick smiles and jokes about his “brooding.” Suddenly it seems as if she’s the only thing that makes him happy. But when an act of betrayal sends him reeling, Klee lands in what is bitingly referred to as the “Ape Can,” a psychiatric hospital for teens in Northollow. While there, he undergoes intensive therapy and goes back over the pieces of his life to find out what was real, what wasn’t, and whether he can stand on his own feet again. Told in alternating timelines, leading up to the event that gets him committed and working towards getting back out, Gae Polisner’s In Sight of Stars is a gorgeous novel told in minimalist strokes to maximal effect, about what makes us fall apart and how we can put ourselves back together again.

In Sight of Stars Details

TitleIn Sight of Stars
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 13th, 2018
PublisherWednesday Books
ISBN-139781250143839
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Contemporary, Health, Fiction, Death, Family, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Teen

In Sight of Stars Review

  • Jeff Zentner
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book from start to finish. It’s an achingly fierce exploration of the way the world wounds us and heals us. If you love exquisitely written coming-of-age stories that will leave you breathless, In Sight of Stars is for you. I wanted to underline every other passage.
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  • Aimee (Aimee, Always)
    January 1, 1970
    Whoops, I ended up not finishing this one. The choppy writing, manic pixie dream girl trope, and confusing AF narration were too much for me. At least I managed to uphold my 30-percent-before-I-quit rule. Mini review to come closer to the release date.[DNF @ 30%]
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  • Donalyn
    January 1, 1970
    I've read all of Gae Polisner's books and enjoyed them all, but this is her best so far. Her characters feel like people you know (or want to know) and the structure of this book is unique and thoughtful. I can't wait to share this book in my workshops this year!
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  • Monica
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent story! Fast paced, this book can definitely be completed in one sitting. I thoroughly enjoyed it!Our main character Klee is brutally honest. At only 17, he has faced grief, trauma, and adversity. At the heart of the book is the idea we most often see what we want, what is easiest. The truth is so unclear sometimes. Particularly when it concerns loved ones. We can twist reality to match our ideas of our life story. The difficult part is removing those rose colored glasses and living in Excellent story! Fast paced, this book can definitely be completed in one sitting. I thoroughly enjoyed it!Our main character Klee is brutally honest. At only 17, he has faced grief, trauma, and adversity. At the heart of the book is the idea we most often see what we want, what is easiest. The truth is so unclear sometimes. Particularly when it concerns loved ones. We can twist reality to match our ideas of our life story. The difficult part is removing those rose colored glasses and living in our true story, not just the one we dreamed for ourselves. Although definitely in the YA category, I recommend In Sight of Stars for all readers looking for an authentic account about youth, mental illness, and forgiveness. Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for this honest review.
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  • Kelly Hager
    January 1, 1970
    Finished In Sight of Stars by Gae Polisner. I received a copy for review. This will be published March 13. Klee (pronounced like clay) has been committed. We don't know why, and this book goes back and forth in time, explaining how he got there and, more importantly, how he'll find his way back.I want to make my book club read this, because I have so many thoughts. I think teens will love this---this book really showcases the way that everything feels so viscerally important but never makes it f Finished In Sight of Stars by Gae Polisner. I received a copy for review. This will be published March 13. Klee (pronounced like clay) has been committed. We don't know why, and this book goes back and forth in time, explaining how he got there and, more importantly, how he'll find his way back.I want to make my book club read this, because I have so many thoughts. I think teens will love this---this book really showcases the way that everything feels so viscerally important but never makes it feel silly or trivial, but I think it will also resonate with adults, because we actually really get the idea of having to decide whether to pursue your passion or to settle for a career you don't love so you can manage to buy food and pay rent and all the other delights of adulthood. I'm not sure I can even express just how deeply this book has resonated with me. Every character, every theme, every nuance is absolutely perfect. Most of all, it's about how art can save us temporarily while we become strong enough to save ourselves. And about how asking for help is not at all weak. The world is better with this book in it. Highly recommended.
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  • Oona
    January 1, 1970
    Please note that this review is written by a teacher with the intended audience of educators. I make specific recommendations for how to consider this novel for addition to curriculum, so if you don’t want to nerd out with me, skip this. I received an advanced reader's copy of this novel at the NCTE convention and was able to read the book in just a few sittings once I began it. I value this novel most for its reflection of real life, artistry in details and consistency in craft. The main charac Please note that this review is written by a teacher with the intended audience of educators. I make specific recommendations for how to consider this novel for addition to curriculum, so if you don’t want to nerd out with me, skip this. I received an advanced reader's copy of this novel at the NCTE convention and was able to read the book in just a few sittings once I began it. I value this novel most for its reflection of real life, artistry in details and consistency in craft. The main character, Klee (pronounced Clay), is simultaneously grieving both the sudden loss of his father and his mother's austere response to the death. His response to being uprooted from city life and transplanted, in his final year of high school, to a comparatively provincial northern suburb, is realistic. Klee's loneliness and longing for connection are palpable. Polisner writes Klee's internal monologues convincingly, and her use of flashback and flash forward is intentional. I especially liked the two strong female characters who aid Klee in his recovery, one of whom is a mental health professional, and the other of whom is a Catholic nun. I’ve read two of Polisner’s other novels, both of which appeal to middle grades or high school students. This novel is one I’d recommend exclusively for the high school grades, due to the maturity of the content. I rarely say this about a YA novel, but this one could work as a whole-class study for eleventh or twelfth grade. Before you pitch it as such to your supervisor or principal, make sure several of your current students have read it, and ask each student to write down three reasons it should be added to your school’s curriculum. I would pitch it as an alternative to a novel such as like Ordinary People by Judith Guest, since it has comparable themes. (Similar to swapping out The Perks of Being a Wallflower for The Catcher in the Rye.) In planning a full unit of instruction, I suggest collaborating with an art teacher and a psychology teacher. There are so many opportunities for interdisciplinary study with this text, and an English teacher cannot do it all! Before beginning the unit, definitely take the time to pre-assess what students already know about Vincent Van Gogh, and tap into any expertise in your classroom throughout the course of the novel study. Consider reading and analyzing the following short texts in class as students read the novel: "Hanging Fire" by Audre Lorde, "Richard Cory" by Edwin Arlington Robinson, and "Digging" by Seamus Heaney. An excerpt from Vincent and Theo by Deborah Heiligman would also help to frame the study of the novel. Playing the songs "Vincent" by Don McLean and "The Flight of Icarus" by Iron Maiden, and analyzing their lyrics in relation to the characters in the novel would be another germane learning experience for readers. If you offer this book as a literature circle choice, consider designing an instructional unit with these other thematically apropos novels as choices: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, Still Life With Tornado by A.S. King, Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero, The Gospel of Winter by Brendan Kiely, Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick, Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner and The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork. The language in this novel is colorful from its very first page, but have you heard how high school students talk? Stand in almost any high school cafeteria at lunch and listen — you’ll hear far worse in a shorter span of time than what you’ll see occasionally surface on the pages of this novel. To those who have gripes, I say: BFD. At its core, this is a novel about grief and shame, and when human beings try to navigate these complex emotions, language often becomes colorful. I wouldn’t suggest selecting a passage rife with profanity for a class read-aloud or book talk, but beyond that, my students' lives aren't censored, and by eleventh or twelfth grade, I would hope that they're not hyper-focused on f-bombs but instead immersed in the struggles and circumstances of the novel's characters.
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  • Dawn McNutt
    January 1, 1970
    I received an uncorrected proof from Facebook friend and author, Gae Polisner. This review, however, is written without bias and without a complete summary because...read the book. I hate spoilers. Without giving up the plot I can say it is beautifully written with characters that are still in my mind and even made me dream of them as I napped today. The nap was necessary because I couldn't put the book down last night and stayed up until I finished it this morning after 3 AM. The subject matter I received an uncorrected proof from Facebook friend and author, Gae Polisner. This review, however, is written without bias and without a complete summary because...read the book. I hate spoilers. Without giving up the plot I can say it is beautifully written with characters that are still in my mind and even made me dream of them as I napped today. The nap was necessary because I couldn't put the book down last night and stayed up until I finished it this morning after 3 AM. The subject matter, concerning mental health and recovery, complicated parental relationships and friendships was so real and handled with great care. There were a couple of gut punch parts but overall It gave me hope. It was deep enough to challenge adult and young readers alike. Definitely giving this book as a gift to others. I also think that this book could help people struggling with anxiety and depression even though the story does not necessarily focus on those diseases but rather tells a beautiful story of one teens journey. I love the characters and it's a really good book. The small stories within and the riddle were a nice touch. I liked the alternating perspectives used in the writing. A must read, for sure. I wonder how long these characters will be hanging out with me, making me think? Probably a really long time.
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  • Nora Baskin
    January 1, 1970
    I read this story in an early draft and my first response was..Damn, she nailed it. Ms. Polisner captures the truest sense and expanse of a young man's emotions-- his complicated relationship with his mother, the loss of his dad, and his romantic heart aches. She also beautifully renders his descent into confusion when all three collide, and his journey to redemption. Consider this book, ORDINARY PEOPLE for a new generation of readers..it's that good.
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  • Flor
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange of and honest review.More like 3.5 stars.It was good but that’s it, a quick read that help me get through a reading slump, so thank you book. This is the story of Klee, a boy who has to start over after a suicide attempt (this is not a spoiler as it happens in the first chapter), he gets into a mental facility and then we’ll switch from his healing to his memories.There are very important people in his life, his mom, his girlfriend a I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange of and honest review.More like 3.5 stars.It was good but that’s it, a quick read that help me get through a reading slump, so thank you book. This is the story of Klee, a boy who has to start over after a suicide attempt (this is not a spoiler as it happens in the first chapter), he gets into a mental facility and then we’ll switch from his healing to his memories.There are very important people in his life, his mom, his girlfriend and his dad, the latter being the most mentioned due to their closeness and the fact that he killed himself.I honestly find those flashbacks to be a little confusing, but once I got used to, I found myself waiting for them to appear.Towards the ending comes a revelation that it did not expect and would have liked to explore a little bit more.Overall a quick read that deals with heavy topics and a little mix of art and New York City. It was fine.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    I received an advance uncorrected proof version. I have read all of Polisner's books and enjoyed all of them. This book, however, feels quite different to me, stretching from young adult into adult, captivating and satisfying in a more nuanced style. There are different textual features depending on the stability of the narrator, art woven into and through the text and the plot, family, love, twists, and the grappling of all that is life. The story navigates therapy and recovery post a traumatic I received an advance uncorrected proof version. I have read all of Polisner's books and enjoyed all of them. This book, however, feels quite different to me, stretching from young adult into adult, captivating and satisfying in a more nuanced style. There are different textual features depending on the stability of the narrator, art woven into and through the text and the plot, family, love, twists, and the grappling of all that is life. The story navigates therapy and recovery post a traumatic psychological break, and readers bear witness to this process with the gentle guidance of a compassionate therapist and a clever nun. I don't think this will make it into the hands of my middle school students but I certainly hope it finds its way into the hands of upper teen readers and certainly many adults.
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  • Michele Knott
    January 1, 1970
    Brilliantly crafted. So many lines I want to return to and think about. This is a book that is worthy of many rereads.
  • Jennifer (JC-S)
    January 1, 1970
    ‘There was a time when I felt happy and normal.’Klee Alden is seventeen years old when the world he was comfortable in changes forever. His father, the centre of his universe, dies. He has committed suicide, and it is Klee who finds him. Klee (pronounced Clay) has explored New York City’s museums and art galleries with his father, learned about the lives and loves of great artists, experienced the magic his father could generate. We meet Klee in a psychiatric hospital for teenagers. And, as we f ‘There was a time when I felt happy and normal.’Klee Alden is seventeen years old when the world he was comfortable in changes forever. His father, the centre of his universe, dies. He has committed suicide, and it is Klee who finds him. Klee (pronounced Clay) has explored New York City’s museums and art galleries with his father, learned about the lives and loves of great artists, experienced the magic his father could generate. We meet Klee in a psychiatric hospital for teenagers. And, as we find out why Klee is in hospital, we learn about how his life changed after his father’s death and why Sarah, a girl he met in art class, has become so important to him.I was deeply moved by this story. There are two main reasons for this. First, I had some experience myself as a teenager in a psychiatric institution and although that experience is over forty years ago, I remember trying (and failing for a long time) to make sense of what was happening. The world had shifted, and my place in it ceased to exist. Secondly, and more importantly, Ms Polisner takes Klee through the journey he needs to make in a way which felt so real (at least to me). Relearning how (and who) to trust, adjusting to medication, realizing that there is usually more than one reality (and certainly more than one view of it). Klee’s struggles are never trivialised, his views are not discounted. But he learns (as we all do if we survive the journey into adulthood) that our knowledge is often incomplete, our interpretations sometimes flawed.Klee’s journey involves a number of different characters. We see each of them through Klee’s eyes, so our images are sometimes incomplete. I finished the novel hopeful that Klee would find a new ‘happy and normal’. I finished the novel knowing that I would be rereading it again at some stage. Why? Because there are several layers to Klee’s story, and I know that I’ve not yet absorbed them all.This is Ms Polisner’s fourth published novel. I’ve enjoyed each of the three novels I’ve read (‘The Summer of Letting Go’ is still on my reading list). Ms Polisner has a gift for creating believable characters in challenging situations, the kind of fiction many young adults can relate to.Note: Note: My thanks to NetGalley and St Martin’s Press for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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  • Gila
    January 1, 1970
    I read the ARC of this book and I was engrossed immediately. Without giving anything away, Ms. Polisner managed to write with a level of compassion I was SURE that no one could achieve. Character driven, the story resonated for me on many levels and I was left with many emotions when I finished.. which is how I like my reads!
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  • El (book.monkey)
    January 1, 1970
    I have many, many things to say about this book... First I'd like to begin by saying thank you to NetGally for providing me with a pre-publication copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book will be published on the 13th of March 2018.Lets begin with how beautiful the cover is before we get serious. I love the sunflowers in the cover and the first thing I thought of when I saw the cover was Van Gogh, and how right I was.This novel is about a young boy Klee (pronounced Clay) who I have many, many things to say about this book... First I'd like to begin by saying thank you to NetGally for providing me with a pre-publication copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book will be published on the 13th of March 2018.Lets begin with how beautiful the cover is before we get serious. I love the sunflowers in the cover and the first thing I thought of when I saw the cover was Van Gogh, and how right I was.This novel is about a young boy Klee (pronounced Clay) who's father (who was an artist and greatly inspired by Van Gogh) kills himself, Klee's this fact hard to deal with and he spends a couple of weeks in a psychiatric hospital working through what has happened. Let us begin with Klee, basically he was messed up in the head. In more detail, Klee had witnessed some terrible things and because of it he wasn't well. I really liked how Polisner portrayed someone who has recently lost someone, it was very accurate (I wonder whether Polisner was able to do that due to extensive research or because she has experienced it herself?). I felt very strongly for Klee due to that fact that I have been in a similar situation (not the same but similar) and know how it feels, blaming yourself and everyone. Not feeling like you are loved, and finding it hard to make connections with people. From my own experiences, I cried at times when Klee was particularly effected by what had happened to him and felt equally happy in the moments he did as well.Full: http://whosella.blogspot.com/2018/02/...
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  • Lmakler
    January 1, 1970
    I loved Gae Polisner’s previous book The Memory of Things , and was excited to be given an ARC of her new book, In Sight of Stars. The books are very different, but they are similar in that the characters are wonderfully drawn. The author has an amazing ability to write characters that are real, and multi-dimensional, and alive. I loved The Memory of Things because and in spite of the fact that I was brought back to the day of September 11th, the sights, the smells, the emotions. I loved In Sigh I loved Gae Polisner’s previous book The Memory of Things , and was excited to be given an ARC of her new book, In Sight of Stars. The books are very different, but they are similar in that the characters are wonderfully drawn. The author has an amazing ability to write characters that are real, and multi-dimensional, and alive. I loved The Memory of Things because and in spite of the fact that I was brought back to the day of September 11th, the sights, the smells, the emotions. I loved In Sight of Stars because the reader is thrust into the swirling emotions, shock and internal thoughts of a teenage boy who is trying to make sense of a life turned upside down. As a high school librarian, I thought that The Memory of Things was really important for my students to read because they really should be connected to the real life of 9/11; I think that it is really important for them to read In Sight of Stars because while Klee’s life experiences are not specifically universal, his teenage brain and emotions and reactions are.Sometimes when I read a book, and I especially feel this way with good books written for young adults, I am blown away by and in awe of the vast knowledge that the author has sort of intrinsically written into the book. I remember feeling this way when I first read Harry Potter (very long time ago- but it is so clever and so well written, and really actually deep), and I feel this way about this book, and about Gae Polisner. I know nothing about art, and what I knew about Vincent Van Gogh is limited to what I remembered from reading the Irving Stone book Lust for Life in high school. I know a little more now, and what Gae does is weave Vincent Van Gogh and art into the book effortlessly. Above all, though, In Sight of Stars is the story of a teenage boy navigating through heartbreak, trauma, and the accompanying mental illness. It is the story of the world through Klee’s eyes, and as in life, what he perceives as reality is not always accurate. His mother is not as he believes, and neither was his father. I highly recommend In Sight of Stars, and I am looking forward to using it as a book for one of my monthly book clubs.
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  • Kim
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book. I was confused at the beginning, but we meet Klee (Clay), the main character, at a personally confusing time of life. VanGogh is his favorite artist, and it seems that Klee has tried to mimic VanGogh's famous ear cutting off antics. The story goes back and forth from that introduction to Klee's life leading up to that event, and we meet his parents, his girlfriend, his doctor, and a very special nun who guides Klee in the darkest of hours with games like CandyLand and stolen s I loved this book. I was confused at the beginning, but we meet Klee (Clay), the main character, at a personally confusing time of life. VanGogh is his favorite artist, and it seems that Klee has tried to mimic VanGogh's famous ear cutting off antics. The story goes back and forth from that introduction to Klee's life leading up to that event, and we meet his parents, his girlfriend, his doctor, and a very special nun who guides Klee in the darkest of hours with games like CandyLand and stolen swims to cleanse his thoughts.The book is so much more than it seemed at the beginning. I loved Klee's character, and was intrigued to read about his life up to that crucial moment. The truth unfolds slowly as Klee recovers in the "Ape Can" mental health facility, and Klee comes to realize that what he thought he knew and saw was really never the truth.What a beautiful story. I am glad to have received a copy from Net Galley in exchange for a review.
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  • Elisha
    January 1, 1970
    IN SIGHT OF STARS is Gae Polisner’s latest young adult novel. It’s a contemporary story that tackles mental health in the wake of trauma and loss. The protagonist, Klee, hurts himself in the opening pages of the book and gets shipped off to the Ape Can, as he calls it. The plot unravels as he confronts the experiences that resulted in his break. With help from a caring therapist, an offbeat nun, and even the other quirky patients, Klee slowly realizes that this one moment does not have to define IN SIGHT OF STARS is Gae Polisner’s latest young adult novel. It’s a contemporary story that tackles mental health in the wake of trauma and loss. The protagonist, Klee, hurts himself in the opening pages of the book and gets shipped off to the Ape Can, as he calls it. The plot unravels as he confronts the experiences that resulted in his break. With help from a caring therapist, an offbeat nun, and even the other quirky patients, Klee slowly realizes that this one moment does not have to define his entire life. This book, yet again, proves how immensely talented Polisner is. Her use of first person point of view is unconventional, but realistic. Especially at the beginning, Klee doesn’t provide commentary of everything as it happens. Instead, we, as the readers, get his immediate thoughts, responses, and emotions. We experience his stream of consciousness that doesn’t include all the details of the situation, but does convey the feeling. IN SIGHT OF STARS is the first novel I’ve ever read that captures the exact way our minds shift, move, and react to what we are witnessing. With that being said, I was nervous to read this book knowing the subject matter. I expected it to be depressing, slow, and difficult. Conversely, I found it to be honest, inspiring, and relatable for just about anyone. Sometimes, books that tackle these themes can be overly positive or didactic, but this is neither. There is something deeply human about the way Polisner writes, and she really captures a slice of life in this novel. The way she breaks up the story, not in chapters, but in days and times that flow into one another also adds to this. Overall, there is a very strong possibility that IN SIGHT OF STARS could be triggering for certain individuals. However, it also has the potential to be very healing. There are many insights in this book and pearls of wisdom that I will take with me going forward. Not to mention, Polisner has certainly sparked my interested in Van Gogh and the other colors in yellow. This book is an absolute must-read and the best contemporary novel I’ve read since J.C. Geiger’s WILDMAN. Review originally published on YA Books Central: http://www.yabookscentral.com/yaficti...
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  • Julie Kirchner
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this book through a Goodreads giveaway. I was very excited to read Gae’s newest book and once I got started, I did not want to stop. The further I read, the more I had to know more about Klee.Klee is a seventeen year old young man dealing with the recent death of his father whom he adored and his mother moving him to a new home and school for his senior year. Something tragic happens to Klee and he ends up in a hospital, recovering on an emotional and physical level.The stor I received an ARC of this book through a Goodreads giveaway. I was very excited to read Gae’s newest book and once I got started, I did not want to stop. The further I read, the more I had to know more about Klee.Klee is a seventeen year old young man dealing with the recent death of his father whom he adored and his mother moving him to a new home and school for his senior year. Something tragic happens to Klee and he ends up in a hospital, recovering on an emotional and physical level.The story jumps back and forth in time, unveiling the events in bits and pieces that led Klee to the hospital. It broke my heart. The reality of Klee’s story is that many teenagers like him are dealing with heavy burdens they carry. What is being done to help them before they are placed in a situation that could turn tragic? In this crazy world we live in, there is not enough available help, in my opinion.I loved the connections with Vincent Van Gogh (just recently finished Vincent and Theo!) and the book Zoom. I also happen to know Gae enjoys swimming, so when Klee uses swimming as part of his recovery, it made me smile. I enjoyed the secondary characters, especially the different people Klee met at the hospital.I’m looking forward to sharing this with my #BookVoyage crew!
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  • Lesley
    January 1, 1970
    Researchers at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center found that “children who lost a parent due to suicide when they were teenagers or young adults had the highest chance of being hospitalized for a suicide attempt in the first 2 years after the parental suicide.” This highlights the vital importance of providing support to children who are grieving. Klee’s father committed suicide, and Klee was the one who found him. If that weren’t bad enough, his mother moves Klee away from his friends and Manhatta Researchers at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center found that “children who lost a parent due to suicide when they were teenagers or young adults had the highest chance of being hospitalized for a suicide attempt in the first 2 years after the parental suicide.” This highlights the vital importance of providing support to children who are grieving. Klee’s father committed suicide, and Klee was the one who found him. If that weren’t bad enough, his mother moves Klee away from his friends and Manhattan for a senior year in a new high school in the suburbs, away from the museums, art, and parks he loves—the museums, art, and parks where he spent time listening to his father’s stories about Van Gogh and life—and from his friends.Klee looks for support in Sarah, his one new friend, but he may be demanding more than she can give. When she disappoints him, he cuts himself with a knife and ends up in a psychiatric hospital.The reader lives through Klee’s hospitalization with him; as does he, we wonder what is real, what is imagined. Who can he trust? He already found that he cannot trust his perfect mother, or can he? Who is real, and whom does he fabricate. How much like his favorite artist, Van Gogh, is he?Gae Polisner creates a perfect puzzle. I was reminded of the sliding puzzles I played with in childhood. But in sliding puzzles, there always is a piece missing. And Klee finds he does have a piece of the puzzle that is missing and when he finds it, he may be able to build the picture and trust again.Once started, I literally could not put this novel down. (Picture me frowning at the doctor for taking me on time for my appointment.) The story is skillfully crafted, as each piece slides into the opening left by the movement of another piece. The characters—Klee, Dr. Alvarez, Sister Agnes Teresa, Martin, Sarah, and even Klee’s mother—are well-developed and are integral parts of the puzzle. There is a transcendental or ethereal quality that reminds me of A.S King’s Still Life with Tornado. There are so many pathways and levels offered by this novel that I know I will read it many more times.“…the sight of stars is always right there. Right in your line of vision. Even on the cloudiest day.”This is a novel for mature teen readers (profanity, sex).
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  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    I received an advance uncorrected proof version, and I first want to say that I am so glad that I did. I needed to say that before I made my first statement. When I chose this book, I wanted to love it, but when I started reading, I questioned whether I would actually finish it. Not one to reread when I am confused, I quickly realized that I was going to have to read carefully and thoughtfully to follow the diverging thoughts of Klee, the main character. I wanted to put together the puzzle of Kl I received an advance uncorrected proof version, and I first want to say that I am so glad that I did. I needed to say that before I made my first statement. When I chose this book, I wanted to love it, but when I started reading, I questioned whether I would actually finish it. Not one to reread when I am confused, I quickly realized that I was going to have to read carefully and thoughtfully to follow the diverging thoughts of Klee, the main character. I wanted to put together the puzzle of Klee’s mind before the author was willing to give me all of the pieces. But I kept reading because I quickly became invested in Klee. In finding out what caused the straw to break the camel’s back, and then in understanding how it got to that point. Gae Polisner created such a realistic teenage mind. One that YA readers and adults alike will find themselves relating to.As an educator, I can image so many different students seeing themselves in Klee, because I saw so many of my students in him. I loved that while this book has an incredibly serious tone and tackles the highly emotional and heavy topic of mental health, it does so without causing the reader to wallow in sadness. Too many YA stories focus on creating tears. This book creates hope, without being trite or corny. No matter who they are, what they look like, or where they live, young adults NEED this story in their lives.
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  • Stacey
    January 1, 1970
    "... with wisdom and bravery." Gae Polisner writes a powerful story about young love and family, loss and metal illness. Challenging emotions both positive and real.Not just for young adults.
  • Ayden Harton
    January 1, 1970
    In Sight of Stars is by far one of the best novels in years it's brilliantly written narrative and descriptive writings provide an incredible atmosphere that I couldn't put down. In addition the novel packed a powerful punch in that you truly feel for the characters within the novel whether it's our protagonist Klee or the supporting cast. In summation Polisner's work of art can and hopefully will stand among the greats of modern literature.P.S(I apologise for my God awful writing I'm running of In Sight of Stars is by far one of the best novels in years it's brilliantly written narrative and descriptive writings provide an incredible atmosphere that I couldn't put down. In addition the novel packed a powerful punch in that you truly feel for the characters within the novel whether it's our protagonist Klee or the supporting cast. In summation Polisner's work of art can and hopefully will stand among the greats of modern literature.P.S(I apologise for my God awful writing I'm running off of 4 hours of sleep but I couldn't get this out of my head)
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  • Olivia
    January 1, 1970
    This was my first time reading one of Gae Polisner books and I was not disappointed. This book is about a teen named Klee The story goes back and forth between the past and the present with moments with his dad when he moved to Nothhollow to where he is now in the psychiatric hospital. I usually don't like books switching between times but its hard not to with this book. You should pick this book up as soon as it comes out in March.
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  • Liz Overberg
    January 1, 1970
    I was assigned to read this one for School Library Journal.All in all the messages are very positive, but it goes to some dark places. Lots of sex (very descriptive scenes) and some gruesome scenes would make this one a better fit for older teens.Very reminiscent of Ned Vizzini's It's Kind of a Funny Story.
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  • Jenn
    January 1, 1970
    I adore Gae and all of her books. Each one gets better and better but in drastically different ways. This one has voice and passion that cannot be ignored. In this tumultuous time, a book about mental health and surviving life’s ebbs and flows could not be more important. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to read an advanced copy and can’t wait to share more of Gae’s work with my students.
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  • Patricia Keefe
    January 1, 1970
    In Sight of Stars by Gae Poliser is a young adult novel that will resonate deeply with teens and adults. Klee, (pronounced Clay), is grieving both the sudden loss of his father and his being uprooted from New York city life and transplanted in his final year of high school to a provincial northern suburb of New York. Polisner writes Klee’s internal monologues convincingly, her use of flashback and flash forward is intentional and makes the reader keep up with the pace of the story. This is a nov In Sight of Stars by Gae Poliser is a young adult novel that will resonate deeply with teens and adults. Klee, (pronounced Clay), is grieving both the sudden loss of his father and his being uprooted from New York city life and transplanted in his final year of high school to a provincial northern suburb of New York. Polisner writes Klee’s internal monologues convincingly, her use of flashback and flash forward is intentional and makes the reader keep up with the pace of the story. This is a novel for mature teen readers (profanity, sex), but a novel that adults could read and ponder about. I read the book in one setting as I could not stop reading it and recommend that you plan to have time to devour it completely before you turn the first page.Although fictional characters, they ring true with real life people and the reader will identify with and care about them. Strong female characters help Klee in his recovery. The humor and persistance of the Catholic nun is delightful and the perception of the mental health professional is uncanny. Both help Klee reach into his soul and rediscover himself. The use of the pool and healing therapy of water assist in his recovery. Art is a major factor in his life and his redemption. Klee has been committed to a psychiatric facility as a result of his behavior. As the reader sees the world through Klee’s eyes, he/she can sense his fear and confusion about the events that led to his breakdown. He completely idolized and adored his father and feels alienated by his mother, who he calls the “Ice Queen”.He hates the Ice Queen for moving him away from his school and friends in New York, and looks down on the people in his new suburb. He eventually comes to learn through the beautiful and seductive Sarah how aware the new high school classmates are of his disdain for his current setting. Klee makes no attempt to “fit in” but does hook up with Sarah’s free spirit and wild ways. The closer Klee gets to the reason he was committed, the sooner he knows he can get out. As Klee dives deeper into therapy, he begins to learn how to cope and pick up the pieces of his broken life.Eventually Klee uncovers pieces of his past that change the way he looks at his mother and father. Things are not always as they are percieved and the flashbacks allow us to follow along on his journey to discovering the truth about his family and his life. New facts give different interpretations to old memories.The references to VanGogh’s life and paintings are an interesting subplot in the story. Since VanGogh is one of my favorite artists, I was familiar with his life history and the significance of the paintings included. The reference to the book Zoom is metaphorical to the message of the book. Often we fail to look at the complete picture, we focus on a very small part of the whole. If we zoom out and look at all of the many factors that are making up a picture, life, or story, then we can put together what is really happening to the individuals involved. Klee and his family are parts of a larger segment of society and what happens to them is intertwined in misunderstanding and miscommunication. It’s hard to search for and find the truth, but Klee is a survivor that manages to put it all together and move on. Something for all of us to strive to do in our own lives.
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  • Kim Hutson
    January 1, 1970
    I always think that the good books are the ones where you kind of forget you're reading and there are other things gong on in your life. They're all-consuming. I definitely did that with this one. I kept thinking about it at work; when I was out and about and I'm still thinking about it now.It tells the story of seventeen year old Klee (pronounced Clay), and his struggles with some pretty traumatic stuff. It deals with suicide, loss, the fucked-upness of first love (or maybe I should say 'that f I always think that the good books are the ones where you kind of forget you're reading and there are other things gong on in your life. They're all-consuming. I definitely did that with this one. I kept thinking about it at work; when I was out and about and I'm still thinking about it now.It tells the story of seventeen year old Klee (pronounced Clay), and his struggles with some pretty traumatic stuff. It deals with suicide, loss, the fucked-upness of first love (or maybe I should say 'that first fucked-up love'?), as well as 'the usual' trasitions to adulthood - if any of those can be classed as 'the usual'.The opening chapter throws us right in at the crucial scene and the rest of the book really unpicks Klee's life to figure out how we got to that point - in true Vonnegutian style Polisner really starts in the crux of the action and then drips in the rest for us to figure out. The plot basically follows Klee's recovery from a breakdown. The narrative style is really clever and is used to great effect. It begins in a disjointed and confusing way - dialogue, dream and action blurring into one (impressionistic) noise which strikingly and personally quite painfully depicts the overwhelmingness of being in the middle of severe mental illness. As Klee recovers, the narrative style gradually clears up. The flashbacks go from flicking in and out of the present action, so separate paragraphs then they ultimately become dialogue between Klee and his therapist and we come out of Klee's head into his reality. It's very impressively done.The references to Van Gough and art throughout are wonderful - and it's great to see an artistic protagonist whose temperament and inner voice so perfectly reflects the reality of that.As you can probably tell, this book really struck a chord with me. And I suspect it will stay with me for a good while to come. The more I think about it, the more lightbulb moments I have. The fables that are used, the symbolic stuff - beautiful. Though I'm still pondering 'Annie'. At first I wasn't keen on Sarah as a character - and actually I'm still not, she's pretty awful - but I also see how she's just really a device to show how desperate Klee is to have something good in his life and how he wants to feel wanted. I thought she could have been a little more fleshed out as she does sort of pop out as a MPD cutout at times (I know another review mentioned that, though I tried not to let that influence my reading of her). Though now I've finished the book I realise that's because this is not her story. I'd like to know more about how she came to be the way she is... it's actually great to see the 'dream girlfriend' character be more real - not just either TOO wonderful, or secretly evil. I guess she's the latter a little (though we could see that all along, even if Klee couldn't) - so I do like how the whole relationship arc is left at the end. All in all, this is a beautiful, sad and traumatic story, but ultimately uplifting and healing.
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  • Julie Jaeger
    January 1, 1970
    Klee (pronounced Clay) is a seventeen year old who has been uprooted from his former life in the city and forced to move the suburbs following the death of his father. Gae Polisner creates an authentic, believable teen character who is struggling with depression and repressed grief over this tremendous loss. This book is moving in so many ways. The characters are well developed. I love that the women in Klee's life are the real heroes: one is a mental health professional, and another is a Cathol Klee (pronounced Clay) is a seventeen year old who has been uprooted from his former life in the city and forced to move the suburbs following the death of his father. Gae Polisner creates an authentic, believable teen character who is struggling with depression and repressed grief over this tremendous loss. This book is moving in so many ways. The characters are well developed. I love that the women in Klee's life are the real heroes: one is a mental health professional, and another is a Catholic nun. These two women are able to help Klee heal and move forward with his life. Klee's love of art allows Polisner to share loads of art history in an engaging way. I love little references to things like the "Zoom" books and specific paintings that allow readers to really connect with details. The plot jumps back and forth through a series of flashbacks intermingled with current time events in Klee's life. Polisner is able to make these jumps seem effortless. I never found it confusing; rather it added to the plot development in a way that really draws the reader into Klee's life. The entire novel is written in first person, present tense, but it totally works. It is definitely a young adult title. There are a few pretty explicit scenes that would prevent me from recommending it to my (7th grade) students. But high school kids and adults would not have issues with those scenes. Overall, it is an amazing work!
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  • Mrs. Krajewski
    January 1, 1970
    **4.5 stars**Klee—pronounces Clay—has been committed to a psychiatric facility. Seeing the world through Klee’s eyes, the reader can at once sense his fear and confusion about the events that led to his breakdown. As Klee begins his daily therapy, his life begins to emerge for the reader to dissect. It’s obvious that he’s still grieving the recent loss of his father, who he completely idolized and adored. Since then, his mother, or the Ice Queen as Klee likes to call her, has withdrawn into hers **4.5 stars**Klee—pronounces Clay—has been committed to a psychiatric facility. Seeing the world through Klee’s eyes, the reader can at once sense his fear and confusion about the events that led to his breakdown. As Klee begins his daily therapy, his life begins to emerge for the reader to dissect. It’s obvious that he’s still grieving the recent loss of his father, who he completely idolized and adored. Since then, his mother, or the Ice Queen as Klee likes to call her, has withdrawn into herself. When she moves him to a suburb outside of New York City, Klee feels his life can’t get any worse. Soon, in his art class, he meets the beautiful and seductive Sarah. Her free spirit and wild ways hook Klee immediately, but it’s soon clear that their relationship is veering down a bad path. The closer Klee gets to the reason he was committed, the sooner he knows he can get out. As Klee dives deeper into therapy, he begins to learn how to cope and pick up the pieces of his broke life.Another beautiful, yet heartbreaking, story by Gae Polisner. I’ve come to love her writing style and her unforgettable characters that anyone, at any age, can connect with. My students will love this one.
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  • Librarian Laura
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Net Galley for giving me an early ebook! Ohhhh I loved this one. This one is so sad and sweet. I could have read it all in one sitting if I didn't have to go to work during the day. Klee (pronounced "Clay) has a mental breakdown and is admitted into a hospital. The book flashes back and forth between him in the hospital and his memories. And I love the Van Gogh theme. There were a few things about Van Gogh I hadn't known! I really liked how the author wrote about Klee crying. I have re Thanks to Net Galley for giving me an early ebook! Ohhhh I loved this one. This one is so sad and sweet. I could have read it all in one sitting if I didn't have to go to work during the day. Klee (pronounced "Clay) has a mental breakdown and is admitted into a hospital. The book flashes back and forth between him in the hospital and his memories. And I love the Van Gogh theme. There were a few things about Van Gogh I hadn't known! I really liked how the author wrote about Klee crying. I have read way too many books where the guy character instead of crying, he just gets angry and frustrated. It's refreshing to see a male character crying - and there isn't judgement against him. His girlfriend does once or twice though, but I think it's a good point of view to show that the girlfriend can be the harmful one in a relationship too sometimes. The book has a sweet message at the end - that we all have highs and lows and we all have different ways of dealing with it. Sometimes we let it all build up to a point that it can come out in really harmful ways. The point is to remember that we aren't alone, and to not push family and friends away during the hard times. Definitely one of my favs this year!
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