Dear Blue Sky

Mary Sullivan. Penguin/Paulsen, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-399-25684-4
After Cassie’s larger-than-life older brother, Sef, leaves to fight in Iraq, the seventh-grader struggles without his stabilizing influence. Cassie’s family is faltering, too: her sister rebels with a new boyfriend; her mother drinks and has terrifying premonitions about Sef; and her younger brother, who has Down syndrome, stops speaking entirely. A school assignment prompts Cassie to find a blog written by someone her age in another country, and she begins corresponding with a 13-year-old blogger in Iraq who goes by the name Blue Sky. The teenager named her blog for the peaceful Iraq of the past, and she shares painful details about deaths, power outages, and having to stop attending school because of bombing. In her first children’s book, adult author Sullivan (Ship Sooner) effectively sketches Cassie’s growing confusion as she learns more and cultivates a more balanced view of the war while making new friends and resolving her own conflicts. Sullivan doesn’t sugarcoat how hard things are for Cassie’s family on the home front, yet captures the resilience and hope that keep them going. Ages 10–up. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/02/2012
Release date: 08/02/2012
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 248 pages - 978-0-14-242667-8
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-101-57502-4
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