Title: As Big as the Sky
Author: Amy Aislin
Publisher: MLR Press
Length: 140 Pages
At a Glance: As Big as the Sky is very cute and charming. I’m so glad I took a chance on this novella, and I hope some of you do, too!
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Sam wants nothing to do with his irresponsible, sarcastic neighbor…or does he?
Sam McAuley is having a rough start to the summer: Not only is he being sued, but the new guy running the animal rehabilitation center next door has no idea what he’s doing and his runaway chickens constantly end up in Sam’s pristine yard.
Everything is temporary for Bo Novak. For as long as he can remember, it’s been one town to the next, one school to the next, one job to the next. Even his current job—running his sister’s animal rehab center while she’s away on a four-month leave—is temporary. And he does know what he’s doing, thank you very much. Sure, things don’t always run smoothly, but the stick-in-the-mud next door could be a little nicer about it.
One overheard conversation, an olive branch, and a baseball game might show these guys that being at odds isn’t really what they want, and that what they want might just be each other.
Review: Aren’t you guys so glad when you take a chance on a new-to-you author, and it pays off? I love it when that happens. Because we all know how much it stinks when it goes the opposite way instead! In this case, though, I needn’t have worried. Amy Aislin’s As Big as the Sky was a delight. Well-written, cute premise, very low angst, and likeable main characters. All in all, a nice romance, and a fun read.
Bo and Sam are not on friendly terms in the beginning of the story. Bo is taking care of his sister’s animal rehabilitation center, but a particularly unruly chicken has him periodically chasing it into the neighbor’s yard. Said neighbor, Sam, isn’t at all happy about these intrusions. At first it seems that perhaps he’s just cranky, and doesn’t want anything to wreck his garden, which is being featured in a local magazine spread, but we come to find out that Bo’s sister actually colored Sam’s view of Bo by calling her brother a flake and unreliable. However, when Sam overhears Bo talking one day—saying how much he had been looking forward to being Sam’s friend—and starts getting to know him, he realizes how unfair Laura’s characterizations had been.
I enjoyed both of these characters so much. Sam, who we learn early on is also S.P. McAuley, author of Bo’s favorite web comic, is an extremely talented graphic designer; his work began gaining him recognition even before he graduated from university. Currently, though, he’s in the midst of a law suit over one of his designs. The stress of the lawsuit is definitely starting to take a toll on Sam. Aislin does a great job of showing how much the whole thing is hurting him. And, how it’s maybe one of the reasons Sam is so short-tempered with Bo at first. And, B, though he is unsure what he wants to do with his life, is anything but flaky. He quit his job and uprooted his life in Ottawa to come and help Laura by running the center while she’s away. In fact, he has always come to her aid, no questions asked. So, the fact that she treats him like crap is so sad, not to mention offensive, and pisses Sam off to no end. I loved this bit from Sam when he was defending Bo to Laura:
“He has the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever met,” he said to Laura. “It’s as big as the sky he loves to look at.”
The reference to Bo loving to look at the sky stems from the fact that Bo loves astronomy. He frequently sets his telescope outside and stargazes, which became a thing that he and Sam did together. I loved that. I also always love when we get the scene with the title reference. So, there that was. 😉
I so appreciated how sweet these guys were to each other, and the care they took of each other. There’s a lovely scene where Sam takes Bo out to meet his family at their horse farm, simply because he knows Bo could use some good family time, and because he thinks the horses will cheer him up. He’s correct on both counts, but especially about the horses. And, I really liked where the author took their relationship, and the sweet ending.
As Big as the Sky is very cute and charming. I’m so glad I took a chance on this novella, and I hope some of you do, too! If you’re in the mood for an easy read that’s low on angst and drama, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
You can buy As Big as the Sky here: