Book Review: Even if the Sky Falls by Mia Garcia

Title: Even if the Sky Falls
Author: Mia Garcia
Page Count: 309 pages
Genre: YA Romance
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: May 10, 2016

Publisher’s Summary: One midsummer night. Two strangers. Three rules: No real names. No baggage. No phones. A whirlwind twenty-four-hour romance about discovering what it means to feel alive in the face of one of life’s greatest dangers: love.

Who would you be if you had one night to be anyone you want?

Volunteering in New Orleans was supposed to be a change, an escape from the total mess Julie left at home and from her brother’s losing battle with PTSD. But building houses surrounded by her super-clingy team leader and her way-too-chipper companions has Julie feeling more trapped than ever. And she’s had enough.

In a moment of daring, Julie runs away, straight into the glitter, costumes, and chaos of the Mid-Summer Mardi Gras parade—and instantly connects with Miles, an utterly irresistible musician with a captivating smile and a complicated story of his own. And for once, Julie isn’t looking back. Together Julie and Miles decide to forget their problems and live this one night in the here and now. Wandering the night, they dance on roofs, indulge in beignets, share secrets and ghost stories under the stars, and fall in love. But when a Category Two hurricane changes course and heads straight for NOLA, their adventure takes an unexpected turn. And, suddenly, pretending everything is fine is no longer an option.

My Thoughts: I borrowed this book from my local library last year because the opening pages about the MC, Julie, building houses in New Orleans hooked me. I knew Julie had some shadows in her past and I thought this book would be something like Sea (recently retitled Where I Found You) by Heidi Kling, which is one of my all-time favorite bittersweet YA travel romances. I appreciated that Julie and Miles are diverse characters, Latina and African-American, respectively. The writing itself was gorgeous in its descriptions of New Orleans, like a love letter to the city. For whatever reason, I couldn’t get invested in the romance. I was instead driven to keep turning the pages to piece together the mystery of Julie’s backstory, and what happened to her brother who returned from the war. Spoiler Warning: The story culminates in a hurricane and not everything is neatly resolved by the end, although this is true to real life. I didn’t think it was the best choice, from a YA standpoint, for Julie to sleep with a boy she’d only known for one evening, whose real name she didn’t even know. I recommend this book to readers of YA romance who are interested in an atmospheric setting wherein the city itself is like a character of its own, and books that explore themes of PTSD.

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