cover image The Sky over Rebecca

The Sky over Rebecca

Matthew Fox. Union Square Kids, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-45495-189-6

In Fox’s historical fantasy debut, set in contemporary Stockholm, a lonely girl must help strangers from the past find their way back to their time. Eleven-year-old Kara Lukas, an only child being raised by a single mother absorbed in her work, relies on her elderly star-gazing grandfather for companionship. She soon notices odd details in her community and its surrounding woods, such as a snow angel with no footprints nearby and a coin from 1942 marked with a swastika. The clues lead her to Rebecca, a Jewish teen hiding with her younger brother Samuel on an island in the middle of frozen Lake Mälaren, which Kara comes to realize is a “gateway to another time, another place.” She also learns that the siblings are from 1944 and they’re hiding from Nazis. The youths’ friendship and Kara’s family relationships are sensitively depicted, and the pervasive ambiance of the dark Swedish winter is captivating. Through Kara’s understated voice and the novel’s thrilling, quietly building suspense, Fox delivers a thoughtful meditation on the expansiveness of time, melded with Holocaust history and a solitary girl’s personal growth, making for an enthralling read. Major characters cue as white. Ages 8–12. (Nov.)