The Year We Fell From Space

Scholastic//Arthur A. Levine Bks. Oct. 2019. 272p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781338236361.
Gr 5-7–The night a meteor falls near the home of 12-year-old Liberty Johansen, her parents announce their separation. As life as she knows it crumbles, she is left to grapple with her own conflicting emotions, which may stem from something deeper, possibly clinical depression. This compelling upper middle grade title offers an honest window into struggles with childhood and adult depression. Her father has been suffering from it for years, and Liberty fears that she may also have it. Her impulses shift from the desire to protect and nurture her younger sister to throwing a toaster out a window in a fit of rage. She finds solace in speaking to the meteor that she collected on the night of its fall from space, and, finally, with a trusted therapist. Bullying, puberty, and the protagonist’s father’s infidelity are also addressed. This title will resonate with middle graders searching for deeper understanding of their own or their family’s experiences with these or similar topics.
VERDICT Recommended for most middle grade collections, especially where realistic drama is in demand. Fans of Ali Benjamin’s The Thing About Jellyfish and Esther Ehrlich’s Nest will devour this one.

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