Book one in a series
By Peggy Eddleman
Available now from Random House BFYR
This was a surprisingly charming book. SKY JUMPERS is set post-WWIII, on an Earth that has been decimated by "green" bombs. Technology is all but gone, because the magnetic fields are messed up, and sections of the world are permanently toxic.
Hope's community, White Rock, is one of the best to live in. They're in a valley, naturally defended by the mountains and the ring of deadly Bomb's Breath around them. The town's founders included a man with quite the library, enough to help them get started inventing new technology and medicine. In fact, everyone in the town invents things. But Hope's inventions never turn out quite right.
Then the town is invaded for its antibiotics, and it's up to Hope and her best friends to go get help. Their journey is rather harrowing, but still age appropriate. In fact, since their worst enemy is the cold, I can see this being a good bridge into speculative fiction for young historical fiction fans.
SKY JUMPERS was an original take on the devastated future world. The town council isn't always right, but they aren't sinister either. There's a sense that the people in this world aren't doomed survivors, but that their world will keep growing and eventually flourish again. Now, young readers are likely to be less tired of dystopias and might not be as concerned with that. But they will enjoy the characters.
Hope has her own strengths, and she must believe in them if she's going to save White Rock. Her strengths are complimented by those of her friends', who go on the dangerous journey with her. There's a lot to appeal in this story for both boys and girls. (And how much do I love that it's one of the boys charged with caring for his younger sister?)
I didn't know what to expect when I started SKY JUMPERS. But whatever expectations I had were certainly exceeded. It's a wonderful debut for Peggy Eddleman. I'm curious about this being the beginning of a series, since the story came to a satisfying conclusion. But it is an interesting world, so I'd be willing to spend more time in it.