The Sky Above Us

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The Sky Above Us
Author(s)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
April 13, 2021
ISBN
978-0525518037
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From the author of We Speak in Storms comes a twisty, psychological thriller about three friends searching for the truth in the aftermath of a plane crash. The morning after their senior year beach party, Izzy, Cass, and Janie are woken by a thundering overhead. Then they and their classmates watch in shock as a plane crashes into the water. When the passengers are finally recovered, they are identified as Izzy's twin brother, Israel, Cass's ex-boyfriend, Shane, and Janie's best friend, Nate. But Izzy can feel when her brother is in pain, and she knows he's not really dead. So she, Cass, and Janie set out to discover what actually happened that day--and why the boys were on the plane. Told in alternating timelines and points of view, this powerful and captivating novel follows the three boys in the weeks leading up to that fateful flight, and the girls they left behind as they try to piece together the truth about the boys they loved and thought they knew. A spellbinding story about the ripple effects of tragedy, the questions we leave unanswered, and the enduring power of friendship.

Editor reviews

2 reviews
The Sky Above Us
(Updated: June 19, 2021)
Overall rating
 
3.7
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
3.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
What worked: Unique coming-of-age story that tackles grief and tragedy. Told through the eyes of six teens, this story starts with a horrific tragedy and later with those who remain trying to make sense of what happened.

What happened that fateful day is a mystery to those who thought they knew the teens that died. There's Izzy, the twin of Israel, who refuses to accept his death. Janie, who has a secret and blames herself for what happened. Cass, who's recent breakup causes her to also blame herself.

The story goes back in time to show readers the complex relationships between all of the friends and then jumps into the future with those who did remain behind trying to make sense of it all. Add to the mix is a conspiracy theory and an online group that believes in a sort of reincarnation in which people have lived various different lives. The Remembered Souls forum is the place where Israel goes when he tries to make sense of a nightmare that has haunted him his whole life. Then there's the topic of depression after Nate's whole dream of getting a soccer scholarship is dashed after an injury.

At times the story is confusing with all the jumping back and forth into not only time, but into different points of view. It's when the conspiracy theory and the Remembered Souls forum is mentioned that the story moves quickly. The leader of the forum is similar to an online troll with his way of 'helping' people deal with their dreams of previous lives. The girls who are left behind try to make sense of the tragic in their own ways. The tension builds until the final climax.

Some sensitive topics are woven throughout--depression, suicide, grief, conspiracy theories, and online trolling. At the end of the book is a list of resources for those who need help.

Haunting at times coming-of-age thriller where teens come to grips with a horrific tragedy and with their grief.
Good Points
1. Engrossing physically thriller
2. Coming of age story that tackles grief
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YA drama about grief, loss, and hope
Overall rating
 
3.3
Plot
 
3.0
Characters
 
3.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
THE SKY ABOVE US is a YA drama about grief, loss, and the search for something better. The book follows three boys and three girls in alternating chapters. Israel, Shane, and Nate took a plane and crashed it into the ocean - the ending watched by the three girls who orbit their lives, Izzy, Cass, and Janie. Izzy is Israel's twin, Cass is Shane's ex-girlfriend of 5 years, and Janie is Nate's best friend. The boys' perspectives are given from before the crash, while the girls' perspectives are given following the crash.

In the lead up, we witness the decisions that led to the crash, and the troubles that contributed. In the aftermath, we see the three girls torn apart in their grief, their search for answers, and their hope for meaning in it all. As they follow the leads they can find, they hold hope that the end was not really the end, particularly with Izzy's twin-sense that tells her that her brother is not truly gone and the dolphins that she spotted around the crash.

What I loved: This was a heart-breaking story of loss, grief, and hope. The book is very heavy, as before the boys are wrapped up in their individual troubles and afterwards, the girls are consumed by their grief. I appreciated both sides of the perspectives, which give the reader answers they could never have gotten without it. The book did showed depression and the need for help that can be difficult to see.

What left me wanting more: Neither before nor after do the characters get the help they need, and the boys and girls felt like they were struggling with worries and grief. I would have liked to see more of that, even in the wake of the accident for those left behind but heavily touched by the accident. Although this was billed as a thriller, there was not really any part of it that felt like a thriller to me - it was more of a contemporary/drama. It was much slower than I expected, but this may have been because I expected a thriller.

There are some really heavy themes/topics in this book, and I would recommend also giving resources to teens who might read this. Beyond the depression and grief that we see, there is also troubling internet conduct, forged documents, some bullying, and other things that would be helpful to discuss with precautions and to create awareness of the problems there and how to handle them if you see them.

Final verdict: THE SKY ABOVE US is a heavy YA drama about grief, depression, and hope. This is a heart-breaking read that will definitely stick with me.
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