FICTION

When the Sky Fell on Splendor

352p. Penguin/Razorbill. Mar. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780451480712.
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Gr 6 Up—Calling themselves "The Ordinary," 17-year-old Franny and her friends form a tight-knit bond over their shared experiences of losing family and friends because of Splendor's steel mill explosion five years earlier. To keep their minds off the sadness surrounding them, the Ordinary spend their time investigating abandoned sites, writing and performing scripts based loosely on local ghost legends, then posting them for their small but loyal group of YouTube followers. But everything changes the night silver lights pulse across the sky. The teens' camera captures the image of a bright light, something massive hurtling down from the sky. When it crashes, curiosity overcomes fear, and they cautiously draw closer to the crash site, vowing to pursue the truth. Telekinetic powers? Crop circles? Menacing birds? An alien being that seems to invade Franny's body? Fraught with both hidden and not-so-hidden darkness, this plot has them all, and readers will be drawn to this fast-paced page-turner. Henry has crammed plenty of atmospheric, small-town spookiness into her book.
VERDICT Teens who enjoy films like E.T., Stand by Me, and The Goonies and those who devour quirky TV series like Stranger Things and Riverdale will be drawn to this novel. A worthwhile purchase for YA collections.

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