Maybe if each person in the whole world contributed one tissue to the pile of mush that has become my life, I would be able to soak up the absolute river that erupted from my eyes after finishing Swimming Through Clouds.
But let’s just leave my mental health and tendency to get too attached to beautiful characters in novels behind for a moment, and cut straight to the point, shall we?
Swimming Through Clouds was phenomenal. It’s been a very long time since an author has stunned me speechless with the combination of an incredible storyline, impeccable writing style, and realistic, lovable characters. I highly doubt many books will be able to live up to the standard that Rajdeep Paulus has set.
I think that if there were one thing that I had to praise the author the most on, it would be her writing. Paulus’ writing was breathtaking. Honestly, if I could write like her, I would write all day, every day, and then gloat about it to every single person that I met. Not that it would earn me any friends, but then again the whole world would probably be in awe of my writing, so…
Anyway, I was completely ensnared within the first paragraph:
“I live in the in between. Between what if and what is. It’s how I manage. It’s the only way I know. Everyone has their way. This is mine.”
After reading those first few lines, I was convinced. I knew straight away that this was not simply the work of another wannabe writer with a simple, catchy idea for a storyline in her head. This was the work of a great novelist, who is able to capture the entire theme of a novel, to completely sum up a tormented soul’s heartache, within a single paragraph. This was the way to grab a reader’s attention, and damn was Rajdeep Paulus doing it all the way to Jupiter and back.
She could make me laugh with the flick of a pinkie finger, cry with the bat of an eyelash, and then absolutely bawl my eyes out right through the last chapter and leading into the epilogue. I don’t know how she did it. But she did. And it was incredible.
It was not only the writing style that impressed me, but also Paulus’ ability to make me feel like I could relate to a girl with whom I shared almost no common ground, and to make me entirely lose all sense of time and place when I was reading. I would tear myself out of Talia’s world to find that the sunlight had long since vanished, my nails had been bitten down to stubs, and that a chunk of the novel had just vanished into thin air. And as I said before, my attachment to her characters has proven to be most worrisome. I loved how they were real. Not “real”. REAL. I didn’t come looking for a plastic Barbie doll that cried when her vampire boyfriend dumped her - I was looking for bittersweet reality. And that’s exactly what I was given. Even though I have never been in a situation anywhere close to Talia’s, I have developed a strong bond with her, and feel like I can relate to her. That is another sign of genius writing at work.
One last thing: as a teenage girl, I have taken it upon myself to decide that – for the sake of the world – all boys now have the responsibility to write romantic sticky notes to girls all day, every day. On second thought, if I could just have a Lagan to lock up in my closet and force to write me sticky notes all day, every day, that’s also acceptable. Maybe those sticky notes can help me to hang on to what remains of my dignity and mental health until the sequel to Swimming Through Clouds is published.