cover image Nadya Skylung and the Cloudship Rescue

Nadya Skylung and the Cloudship Rescue

Jeff Seymour, illus. by Brett Helquist. Putnam, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-5247-3865-5

Seymour’s debut middle-grade novel, the first of two set in a fantastical universe, follows resilient, sensitive protagonist Nadya Skylung. She is one of several orphans who comprise most of the crew family on the Orion, a cloudship that roams the skies. Nadya’s job is simple but specialized (she cares for the plants and animals that keep the ship aloft) and she has aspirations of one day rising captaining her own vessel. As in all families, however, there are squabbles—especially since Nadya and her crewmate Tam are both angling for the position of first mate. Those family bonds are stretched taut when pirates, rumored to be searching for Nadya, kidnap the adults. It’s up to the five youngest crew members to figure how to save the rest. Seymour creates a world with a complicated history and a looming darkness, and the narrative champions community, responsibility, and overcoming obstacles. A tense conclusion will leave readers curious about Nadya’s background and place in this absorbing universe, which is given further dimension in Helquist’s appealing black-and-white illustrations. Ages 8–12. [em]Agent: Danielle Burby, Nelson Literary Agency. (May) [/em]