The Sky is Mine

Rock the Boat. May 2020. 304p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781786078643.
Gr 9 Up–Izzy was raised by a single mother. Her father comes into her life briefly, but is killed in a car accident. Then her mother marries a charming man who looks like George Clooney, but who turns out to be a controlling abuser, and who has recently begun touching Izzy inappropriately. At school, she is the victim of a social media blackmailer who threatens to expose lewd pictures of her unless she sleeps with him. She does so, and cannot find the strength to call it what it is: rape. At the same time, her best friend is increasingly involved with her new girlfriend, and Izzy feels abandoned and alone. When her mother finally leaves her husband to seek refuge in a shelter, Izzy disobeys orders and returns home to retrieve a gift from her late father, with fairly predictable results. Izzy speaks in an authentic teen voice and acts in an authentic teen manner. Her speech, with British slang and idioms that may trip up U.S. readers at times, is lyrical, but sometimes obscures the action. Near the end, as Izzy finds the strength to say no, her narration becomes appropriately more open and direct. The author takes on so many issues that the plot loses focus, making it more difficult to absorb and appreciate all of Izzy’s story thoroughly. Nonetheless, there can never be too many books dealing with rape culture, LGBTQ identities, teen sex, reproductive rights, and female voices.
VERDICT Mildly specific sexual content makes this a recommendation for older YA patrons. Anyone looking for a story packed with teen problems and angst, this is it.

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