Lily is a troubled thirteen year-old girl faced with the fact that she must grow up far too soon. Her mom has run off to travel, her brother is making dangerous friends, and her dad drinks himself into a stupor most nights a week. When Lily braves her fears and meets Trick, a teenage gypsy boy, she makes a new friend, falls in love, and faces challenges she couldn't have imagined.
INFINITE SKY isn't just about romance and family. The issues of discrimination and prejudice haunt the pages. Lily's dad and brother are disgusted by the gypsies who moved in to the field behind their house. They want them gone, and they'll do just about anything to get their way. Lily, however, is intrigued by the gypsies, and she can't stop asking questions about them. Meanwhile, Lily's family is slowly falling apart due to the absence of her mother, who is off traveling exotic locales while attempting to reconcile her falling out of love with Lily's father.
These issues are intense, they're very real, and you'll feel for Lily. She is innocent and honest to a fault, until she meets Trick. Now she has to keep secrets from her dad, who would react violently if he knew the extent of Lily's friendship with Trick. Lily's internal struggles over lying to her dad and sneaking out with Trick, her best friend and someone she can actually rely on, are so relatable to young teens. So is the trouble between Lily and her dad: she realizes that all along she's been doing what he wanted. What does Lily even want? She must figure this out, and be brave enough to stand up for herself, even if it creates rifts between Lily and her dad and older brother, Sam. Middle grade readers will find this story especially compelling, as they struggle through all of the new and painful issues that Lily goes through as well.
The only part of the story that left me wanting more was an aspect of the writing style. It was very distant, unaffected, and indirect. We often heard Lily describing dialogue, instead of reading the dialogue outright. Too much telling and not showing created a distance between the reader and the strong emotions of the story. A more direct story-telling method would have bridged that distance and allowed readers to really connect with Lily's intense feelings.
Overall INFINITE SKY was a surprisingly deep story, confronting issues of parenting, first love, and loyalty. Highly recommended for middle grade readers looking for a touching romance.