Monday, September 30, 2013

Sky Jumpers by Peggy Eddleman -- ESSENTIAL

Eddleman, Peggy Sky Jumpers, 290 pgs. Random House Books for Young Readers, 2013. $17. Content: PG.

Twelve-year-old Hope lives in the post-WWIII town of White Rock, where the citizens prize inventing above any other skill.  After all, how else will they return to the pre-war conveniences humans once had? Too bad Hope is completely inept at inventing. But when a group of bandits raid their town, threatening the lives of all the citizens of White Rock, Hope discovers that some things are more important than being a good inventor, and that there's more than one way to contribute to society. Only she and her friends are brave enough to sneak away through the cloud of deadly toxins the WWIII bombs left behind -- and smart enough to emerge alive. Together they set off to find help and save the town. Along the way Hope discovers that just one person can make a huge difference in unexpected ways.

Utah author Peggy Eddleman tells a wonderful and heartwarming story that had me rooting for the aptly-named Hope and the citizens of White Rock the whole time. After an exciting start things slowed down a bit, but once they picked up again it was nonstop action and adventure, especially in the second half. The well-developed characters and thoroughly-imagined world brought even more life into the story. Sky Jumpers is the first in a series, and some loose ends do hint at future story lines, but the book stands on its own quite nicely. The ending is satisfying and left me teary-eyed and smiling.

MS -- ESSENTIAL. Reviewed by: Caryn

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