cover image Over the Moon

Over the Moon

Natalie Lloyd. Scholastic Press, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-338-11849-0

A 12-year-old struggles as her family’s sole breadwinner until a dangerous opportunity offers financial freedom. Mallie Ramble manages her work as a maid in the valley just fine, though her employer condescends to her about her artificial arm, an orange “Popsnap” in “a universal color that fits everybody.” Above the valley, Mallie’s dust-covered home on Coal Top is ruled by malevolent authorities who threaten to force Mallie’s beloved seven-year-old brother into the mines. When a flyer calls for “fellers” (“orphans preferred”) “unafraid to ride and race and fly in the fear of certain death,” Mallie bravely volunteers to fly Starbirds—airborne horses—and collect gold dust from distant mountaintops. The bond between Mallie and her Starbird, Leo, proves strong as an evil plot comes to light, as does her chemistry with her best friend Adam and the horse trainer Iggy. Though characterization can feel flimsy, Lloyd (The Key to Extraordinary) deftly sketches oppressive social and economic circumstances and firmly establishes Mallie’s bravery. Ages 8–12. [em](Mar.) [/em]