The set-up of Skylarks felt wonderful, fresh, and very much needed. The working-class backdrop of Joni’s world read extremely naturally, with no over-the-top exaggerations about modern poverty against privilege. Joni, for example, has a job because her family needs the money – not just for something to do, or for extra spending money. The opening scene in the restaurant is one I think about all the time.
At the heart of Skylarks is a romance between Joni and Annabel, and although it is an excellent use of the enemies-to-lovers trope, the romance does feel slightly instant-love at moments, though with so little wlw romance around in YA, that feels more a celebration of joy than an excuse, or poor writing. However, the ‘twist’ around Annabel fell a bit flat, as I guessed it before it became an issue in the plot.
This book felt very realistic, in that the young adult characters in it are active in their political and social awareness, and they take action, and have opinions they aren’t afraid to voice. There’s also the aspect of the ending, which, although heartbreaking, is true to life and is handled extremely well.