Saving Sky

Diane Stanley, Harper, $15.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-06-123905-2

Against a backdrop of war by terrorism, with suicide bombers successfully destroying refineries and wreaking havoc with the U.S. power grid, the Brightman family battles the forces of prejudice, fear, and hate in Sante Fe in the not-too-distant future. Thirteen-year-old Sky's parents have created an alternative lifestyle on their solar-powered, sustainable farm. Aiming to foster peaceful coexistence with nature, they incorporate spiritual rituals into their daily lives, such as offering blessings for the terrorists' victims and celebrating the winter solstice, when "Light will begin to drive out the darkness." Stanley (Bella at Midnight) smoothly blends old-fashioned, contemporary, and futuristic story elements: Sky rides a horse-drawn sled for fun, carries a cell phone for emergencies, and protests against the internment of Middle Eastern neighbors, which has become official government policy. The personal becomes political when Sky's mother's colleague is detained, and the family decides to hide the man's son, Sky's classmate. This thought-provoking novel explores both the frightening power of mob mentality and fear tactics, along with hopeful possibilities offered when individuals take courageous stands for justice. Ages 10–up. (Sept.)