cover image Sky Ropes

Sky Ropes

Sondra Soderborg. Chronicle, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-79-721564-8

It’s been five years since white-cued Breanna Woodruff and her mother left Breanna’s father, against whom they have a restraining order, in Detroit for Beecham, Mich. Now in sixth grade, Breanna has developed a reputation as a tough girl who’s willing to handle anything that’s thrown at her. When Breanna learns that she’ll have to climb the Sky Ropes—the highest rope obstacle course in Michigan—during a mandatory school-wide sleepaway camp, however, she worries that her secret fear of heights will be exposed. Though she tries to reason her way out of it, Breanna’s mother insists that she go. Despite her initial hesitance, Breanna finds herself enjoying the idyllic outdoor programming and developing an amicable softball rivalry with a fellow camper. But even as she distracts herself with the other activities, she can’t stop thinking about the Sky Ropes, and the traumatic memories the rope course triggers of her father’s past physical abuse. While Soderborg’s debut is slow to start, a riveting climax, quippy dialogue, and a keen sense of place propels readers to the novel’s gratifying conclusion, which offers sensitive depictions of trauma, healing, and friendship as experienced by a bold, multidimensional protagonist. Ages 10–up. (July)