This post-apocalyptic setting is a little unusual compared to most that I’ve read. So many novels today set in the future after a nuclear holocaust are dystopian novels of the tremendous struggles and meager existence of deformed survivors. But this book paints a slightly brighter picture – though not all is smooth skies (or there wouldn’t be any drama to the story).
Hope is a twelve-year-old living in a small town called White Rock in an age after the country was ravaged by the “Green Bombs” of World War III. White Rock is quite secluded, with few ways to get to the community. The community is in a crater left by one of the bombs and strange swirls of air create drafts through the crater referred to as Bomb’s Breath. Hope and some of her younger friends cliff dive into the Bomb’s Breath where the air currents cause the children to float gently to the ground. But catching the right current is tricky and a wrong move means a long fall to certain death, so sky jumping is forbidden by the parents. Still, Hope knows that she and her friends can do it, repeatedly and safely.
One of the results of the war is the loss of knowledge of how many things were done before the war. To encourage a return to knowledge, White Rock hosts an invention competition, hoping the youth of the day will come up with a wide variety of necessary and/or simply helpful inventions. Not only has Hope never won this competition, her inventions usually fail early on and she doesn’t have a project worthy of even entering the contest. She assumes it’s because of her failures that her father, much beloved in the community, won’t run for the role of leader in the village.
A band of thieves manages to make it into the village, holding the adults hostage, but leaving the children alone. The thieves want the antibiotics that the White Rock villagers have created and are willing to kill to get it. Hope’s father is willing to share, but the plant that the medicine is extracted from isn’t ready, and the thieves aren’t willing to wait.
The only hope for the community is for Hope and her friends to journey outside the safety of the crater and get a military force to save them. But escaping the community means going through the Bomb’s Breath and a heavy winter storm.
This book was a lot of fun. The description of the Bomb’s Breath is wonderful and certainly made me wish I could enjoy it…though I wouldn’t want to have to go through another world war for that to happen.
The descriptions of life after ‘the bombs’ feels optimistically realistic – almost adventurous fun – which of course is what it is trying to represent. This is ‘fun’ enough for school-aged kids to read, with plenty of adventure and CTPP (Cool Things Per Page).
The writing is generally swift and flows nicely, capturing and holding a young reader’s interest. There are moments when author Peggy Eddleman stops telling the story and just provides an information dump for the reader, but other than that the story is exciting for the younger readers and Eddleman does a very nice job of world building. This is the sort of book that is easy for younger readers to get excited about and I look forward to reader the next book in the series.
Looking for a good book? Sky Jumpers is an adventurous post-apocalypse story by Peggy Eddleman for younger readers and provides an exciting read.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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author: Peggy Eddleman
series: Sky Jumpers #1
publisher: Random House Children’s Books
hardcover, 288 pages