The Sky at Our Feet
Jason has just learned that his Afghan mother has been living illegally in the United States since his father was killed in Afghanistan. Although Jason was born in the US, it’s hard to feel American now when he’s terrified that his mother will be discovered—and that they will be separated.
When he sees his mother being escorted from her workplace by two officers, Jason feels completely alone. He boards a train with the hope of finding his aunt in New York City, but as soon as he arrives in Penn Station, the bustling city makes him wonder if he’s overestimated what he can do.
After an accident lands him in the hospital, Jason finds an unlikely ally in a fellow patient. Max, a whip-smart girl who wants nothing more than to explore the world on her own terms, joins Jason in planning a daring escape out of the hospital and into the skyscraper jungle—even though they both know that no matter how big New York City is, they won’t be able to run forever.
When Jason falls and hits his head, he fakes amnesia to get out of telling the hospital staff and the cops who he really is. Here, he meets Max. She's the first person he tells his secret to (the truth of who he really is) and she decides to help him in any way possible, but Max has her owns secrets hiding within her. The two of the work harmoniously together but will it be enough?
I love the emotion in this story and it feels so realistic. Jason D's reaction and fear when he sees his mom taken was almost palpable. I love his friendship with Max and don't think Jason would be as strong as he is if it wasn't for her. The ending was perfect, but I'm not going to give away any spoilers.
Final Verdict: This story is perfect for middle graders being taught the differences between people. There's a lot to be learned from this book but the main thing is that "sometimes, you have no choice but to be brave". This was a sentimental story about immigration, hard topics like running away, and written for ages eight and up.