The setting: The Brightman ranch, 60 acres of beauty in rural New Mexico. The joyful sounds of children playing, horses running, a dog barking.

The reality: A perilous war rages around them, threatening not only their existence, but their friends, neighbors and, ultimately, their beliefs.

Sky Brightman just wants to be a normal preteen. But nothing is normal in Sky’s world, and it hasn’t been for years, with terrorist strikes and widespread rationing. And even though Sky’s family is protected—living far off the grid that has long since collapsed—her world will soon become the epicenter of the melee.

An attack sends the Brightman family rushing to the grocery store for supplies. There they witness a hurtful and potentially dangerous confrontation, aimed at a family of foreign descent.

Then, mysterious arrests begin to occur—including the father of Sky’s close friend, Kareem. When Kareem himself is targeted, Sky is forced to look outside the narrow constraints of her sheltered world.

Sky takes on the forces of injustice and hatred herself, but ultimately her entire family teams up—exemplifying how resolve and the strong, sure voice of a young girl can have a big impact.

Diane Stanley’s thought-provoking novel is a timely take on the post-9/11 world, which is often rife with fear, ethnic/racial controversies and mistrust. The book is especially moving when readers witness the ever-protective and quick-witted Sky defending her friend amid dangerous circumstances.

Though Saving Sky addresses serious topics, Sky’s personality injects humor and hope into the story—making this book an insightful and conversation-opening read for preteens.

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