Partly Cloudy: Poems of Love and Longing
In free verse, National Book Award finalist Gary Soto channels the voices of teenage boys and girls in love and sets their relationships against a backdrop of the seasons. One girl thinks of her boyfriend while eating alphabet soup; she spells out, "I love you," then drinks the sentence to find warmth on a "cold day, cold without you." A boy, longing for his girlfriend, scans the clouds for some semblance of her face. "Love," he reflects, "is like weather, cold or hot, / Nothing between."
JLG Release: Mar 2009
Praise & Reviews
Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Booklist, The Horn Book Magazine, The Horn Book Guide^, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
Junior Library Guild
Soto’s assorted teenage narrators—representing a range of ethnicities and backgrounds—struggle to make sense of their obsessions, disappointments, and romantic successes in any way they can. Often these attempts lead to superstitious, even magical, thinking—and Soto’s acknowledgment of this tendency gives Partly Cloudy most of its realism. In the opening poem, a girl studies her boyfriend’s palm and fears what its lines suggest. In another, a girl meditates on hand lotion; she fantasizes about having hands so rough that when she holds her boyfriend’s, he can’t “slip away.”
This is a world alive with intense, urgent emotion. Desperation mingles with romanticism, and heartbreak with euphoria. Unrequited love hones the senses and instills its sufferers with an almost animistic respect for the objects around them. In the book’s second half, devoted to the male point of view, a young man stares at the objects on his crush’s lunch tray as it moves down the conveyer belt, thinking, “Lucky fork touched your lips.”
Teenage readers will find both kinship and relief in these pages, and older readers will be struck by how vividly Soto recreates the best—and worst—moments of their youth.
5 1/2" x 8 1/4"
Scholastic Reading Counts
Level 5.7; Points: 6;
Potentially Sensitive Areas
Sexual Content: Mild Sexual Content/Themes
Poetry, Crushes, Relationships, Attraction, Waiting, Feelings, Love, Jealousy, Impermanence, Sacrifice, Talent, Obsession, Longing, Endings, Differences, Control, Time, Clumsiness, Contentment, Memories, Parents, Loneliness, Music, Lies, Promises, Rejection, Nature,