Hey guys! Today I’m bringing you a review of the awesome new YA novel, In Sight of Stars, by Gae Polisner. This haunting, beautiful, and heartbreaking novel follows Klee (pronounced Clay), a high school senior bound for art school. Our story begins when a series of events ultimately ends with Klee being hospitalized after a breakdown. This gripping book looks at art, love, and mental health in a truly nuanced and original way.
Klee has grown up surrounded by art. His father loved Vincent Van Gogh, and Klee grew up hearing stories about Van Gogh and seeing his artwork everywhere. Klee and his father would visit all the art museums in New York, discussing the art and finding their favorite pieces. But when Klee’s father takes his own life, Klee is left reeling.
One of my favorite aspects of this story is that we don’t really know all the facts of Klee’s life from the beginning. The story begins when Klee is hospitalized, and we see what has happened to him as he works through it himself, learning more about himself and understanding what has happened. It gives the story a really organic feel, and it feels so natural as we get to know more and more about Klee. The plotting doesn’t feel at all forced or unnatural.
Klee was an incredibly realistic and engaging character. Sometimes I feel like I have trouble connecting to male protagonists, but that definitely wasn’t the case with Klee. Using art as a means of connecting the reader to Klee’s past and his emotions was extremely clever, and I really liked it. In fact, I think the motif of art in this book in general was exceptionally done. I really enjoyed the way that Van Gogh was worked into this plotline so seamlessly. It really felt like it was a natural fit.
This book covered some very intense mental health issues, but I felt like it did it pretty well. Unfortunately, in pop culture today there’s been a big upswing in glorifying mental health issues such as suicide and eating disorders. This book didn’t do that at all. In fact, it took a very realistic look at them, and didn’t shy away from giving us some real talk about mental illness. I really appreciated that.
In some ways, this book felt kind of reminiscent of “It’s Kind of a Funny Story,” by Ned Vizinni, but the use of art throughout really made it feel original. It didn’t feel derivative at all, and I really enjoyed the story.
Overall, this book was a hard read because of the topics, but it carried them out well and the prose was beautiful. Fans of “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” will enjoy this book.
Final rating- 4/5
Thanks for reading my review, and until next time, happy reading 🙂