Zorn, Claire: The Sky So Heavy.
** ZORN, Claire The Sky So Heavy UQP, 2013 296pp $19.95 pbk ISBN 9780702249761 SCIS 1616813
This is Claire Zorn's first YA novel, and it is a beauty. She knows how to bring action, thrills and tension to a story while making the characters the point, so that as readers we come to care what happens to them. It is set in a near dystopic future, mostly in the city of Sydney. The planet's biosphere and climate have been devastated, not by the consequences of climate change but by a nuclear conflict somewhere in Asia that leaves the rest of the planet in a post nuclear winter, with no electricity, no internet, and no viable source of food.
This novel is a type of thought experiment (how would we behave if we had to put aside our morality in order to ensure personal survival?), and at the same time it is a warning to all of us that our civilization is fragile in many ways. But beyond these serious purposes, there is Fin, falling in love with Lucy, the smartest girl in the class, struggling to like his father's new girl friend, and putting up with younger brother Max, as older brothers do. This trio finds themselves together, isolated from family, falling back on their own resources and courage if they are to survive. There are many experiences that might serve as lessons in being open to everyone's weaknesses and strengths without judging too harshly, and there are moments when judgment and action are required even if later these characters might regret what they have done. It is an exciting fide, and by the end we have hopes for them (but they will need at least a sequel or two). Highly recommended for 14-20+ year olds.
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All prices are recommended only.
** Book by an Australian author or illustrator
[dagger][dagger] Book by a New Zealand author or illustrator
[a] An outstanding book of its kind as recommended by the reviewer
[b] An outstanding New Zealand book of its kind as recommended by the reviewer