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When the Sky Fell on Splendor by Emily Henry
The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman and Peter Sís
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When the Sky Fell on Splendor: 09/20/19

When the Sky Fell on Splendor

When the Sky Fell on Splendor by Emily Henry is YA science fiction set in a small town that has been struggling since a tragic accident closed the local steel mill. Seventeen year old Franny has felt like a ghost since her brother was put in a coma during the blast. Now in this last summer before her core friends split as some go away to college, she's at a loss and an emotional nadir.

Franny's group of friends call themselves the Ordinary. They run a YouTube channel where they make videos of their ghost hunting activities. They are out one such night in a home abandoned since the explosion when they witness something fall from the sky, take out the top half of a high voltage electrical tower, and lose about six hours of their memories.

Soon after the Ordinary find themselves with new powers and new compulsions. Their powers, though, seem tied to reliving the events around the steel mill accident, and tied to the house where they saw the crash.

Without going into spoilers to this cosmic mystery, I will say that the novel fits in the road narrative spectrum.

Franny and her friends are marginalized travelers (66). They are marginalized by their youth. They are marginalized by the sheriff's interest in their involvement in the crash and subsequent disappearing materials relating to the crash site. They are marginalized by their grief and their families' treatment.

Their destination is uhoria (CC). There is the missing time. There is the mystery of the abandoned house. There are their vivid memories of the accident and its aftermath. There's the general feeling that Splendor hasn't been able to move forward since the steel mill exploded.

The route to uhoria is the cornfield (FF). The initial event takes place at a substation abutting a farm. The initial clues are in the burn pattern of the fields and the reorienting of the cattle away from their typical north-south axis.

Put all together, When the Sky Fell on Splendor is the tale of marginalized travelers going to uhoria via the cornfield in an attempt to understand the recent events as well as to come to terms with a tragedy.

Five stars

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