Saving Sky by Diane Stanley

February 9, 2011

Saving Sky
by Diane Stanley
September 2010
Harper Collins
Goodreads summary: The country is at war, terrorists strike at random, widespread rationing is in effect, and the power grid is down. But thirteen-year-old Sky Brightman is remarkably untouched by it all. She lives off the grid on sixty acres of rural New Mexico ranch land with chores to do and horses to ride and no television or internet to bring disturbing news into her family's adobe house. Sky's schoolmates think she's a little weird.

Then a string of mysterious arrests begins, and her new friend, Kareem, becomes a target. Sky is finally forced to confront the world in all its complexity. Summoning her considerable courage and ingenuity, she takes a stand against injustice. With humor, hope, and fierce determination, she proves that even a child can change the world.

Review: Set in an alternate present day United States where the president was killed in the September 11th attacks and terrorists have decimated our countries refineries, wiped out bridges and left US citizens scrambling for even the most basic of supplies, this is a story that will leave you pondering the "what ifs".

The thought of the continual threat of terrorist attack on US soil seems surreal and terrifying. I remember the continual coverage of the actual September 11th attacks being replayed over and over and that alone brought on feelings terror and near hysteria. All of this makes it easy to see why Sky and her family have moved to a remote ranch in New Mexico quietly secluded from the red-alert level terrorist attacks.

Unfortunately as the attacks escalate, the pressure to get the "bad guys" is pushing homeland security into even the most remote parts of the US. In a move reminiscent of the Japanese internment camps during World War II  the president orders all Middle Eastern detainees to be held until the end of the war. Sky's world is turned upside down when her friend and classmate Kareem is falsely arrested. She is determined to stand by her friend she knows is innocent. 

This is a powerful and timely read that clearly shows how fear and paranoia can get out of control. Sky is the ever present light and heart in this story with her faith and hope that love conquers all.  Never overly depressing or too cheesy, this story is a perfect cautionary tale for us all. Awesome classroom conversation starter!