cover image The Sky Above Us

The Sky Above Us

Natalie Lund. Philomel, $18.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-525-51803-7

The summer between junior and senior years, friends Izzy, Cass, and Janie attend a beach party. They awaken the next morning in the sand to witness a fatal plane crash in the water. In the plane were three boys: Israel, Izzy’s twin brother; Shane, Cass’s ex-boyfriend; and Janie’s neighbor, who was distant to Janie at school but close and caring outside of it. Questions abound: How did the boys get the plane? Who taught them to fly? Was the crash intentional or an accident? Lund (We Speak in Storms) incorporates two time frames in this story set on a Texan island, juxtaposing flashbacks of the boys’ states of mind before the crash with the girls’ investigation into what happened. Digging deeply into the characters’ psychologies, Lund reveals Israel’s nightmares about a former life, Shane’s feeling of hopelessness after an injury ruins his chances of a soccer scholarship, and Nate’s guilt over keeping his closeness with Janie a secret, fearing ridicule. Lund proves adept at smoothly navigating a complicated plot, building and holding suspense, and creating easily relatable, multidimensional characters. Ages 12–up. [em](Nov.) [/em]