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The Sky Above US
From the author of We Speak in Storms comes a twisty, psychological thriller about three friends searching for the truth in the aftermath of a plane crash.
The morning after their senior year beach party, Izzy, Cass, and Janie are woken by a thundering overhead. Then they and their classmates watch in shock as a plane crashes into the water. When the passengers are finally recovered, they are identified as Izzy’s twin brother, Israel, Cass’s ex-boyfriend, Shane, and Janie’s best friend, Nate. But Izzy can feel when her brother is in pain, and she knows he’s not really dead. So she, Cass, and Janie set out to discover what actually happened that day–and why the boys were on the plane.
Told in alternating timelines and points of view, this powerful and captivating novel follows the three boys in the weeks leading up to that fateful flight, and the girls they left behind as they try to piece together the truth about the boys they loved and thought they knew. A spellbinding story about the ripple effects of tragedy, the questions we leave unanswered, and the enduring power of friendship.
-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.
Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.
(3 / 5) “That’s the thing I’ve learned about grief—you both want to escape and to remember everything.”
This was heavy. It was so sad! It really was hard to read at times.
At a party on the beach, a small plane is driven straight into the ocean. It’s terrifying and scary but one teen believes her brother was on that plane.
We follow 6 teens back and forth from before the accident to after. We get the ins and outs of their thoughts and it’s painfully rough to read.
The book focuses on the belief of reincarnation. While somewhat fascinating, the premise of the story made it too sad. It was achingly difficult to read the teens inner thoughts and fears. Not only was reincarnation the focus, but suicide too. I don’t do well with books on suicide. It’s too raw and real for me. The grief was heavy. It was described well and so difficult to read about the family members left behind.
While the writing was done well, I just did not enjoy this read. It was too much and ultimately not an escape for me. It weighed me down. I did need to know the ending and I’m not sure if that ending made it better or worse.
Many could love this book but it was just not for me. I feel it romanticized suicide and that is not something I can condone. However, the writing really was done well and for that reason alone, I’m giving it 3 stars instead of much less.
Content Summary: Amazon labels this 12 years and up. I disagree. I believe the sex/intimacy details are too much for that age. Also the heaviness of the grief and suicide discussions may be too much. Alcohol (beer and hard liquor), and drugs are also normalized quite a bit in the book. One teen also starts to do extensive self-harm. There were 22 F words.
Thank you to Penguin Teen via NetGalley for the gifted copy in exchange for an honest review. This book releases April 13, 2021.
Detailed Content Review
Derogatory terms etc-
Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking
A group of teens have been drinking and smoking weed.
A young man starts drinking to “numb the pain.” His dad is an alcoholic.
A young man likes to “shotgun” beers and more.
A father goes to a bar for hours after work on a regular basis. He says he’s responsible for only drinking beer and not liquor.
Teens have pot and vodka.
A young woman is hungover.
A young man takes painkillers for an injury.
A young woman and young man smoke cigarettes.
A young man introduced a young woman to weed early. It helped her sleep so she kept buying more.
A group of older teens drink hard liquor at a party.
A father is regularly drunk after an accident.
Teens drink liquor and beer at a party.
Intimacy, Sex, Immodesty
*No LGBTQ+ aspects included*
A young woman and young man were previously on the beach, “lips swollen from kissing.”
A young man admires a young woman’s chest. She jokes he has to stop looking down her cleavage cause it’s nothing he hasn’t seen before.
When a young man vomits on a young woman’s shirt, she pulls it off. He notices her blue sport’s bra and soft, pale stomach.
“…quickies in the humid garage, legs tangled in swimsuit bottoms…”
A young man looks down a young woman’s shirt and sees “Her breasts bloomed over her bra cups.”
“…her gale-force kiss in return, the way she’d slipped her tongue into his mouth and raked her teeth against his lip. He’d grown hard instantly…..(he had to urinate)…saved him from shuddering against her and coming in his jeans right there.”
Two teens previously break up because one cheated on the other. The young woman snuck into another young man’s bed at night while his roommate put in headphones. No details.
A young woman and young man briefly kiss.
“I remember….the pulsing warmth of horniness in my groin.” “We dry humped here—before we understood what, really, our bodies were telling us to do. It was movement that felt good, pressure from his knee, hips, the center seam of my jeans.”
A young woman and young man kiss with tongues. She grinds against his groin. She kisses him again on a bed and unzips his pants, grabbing him “but his dick sort of flopped into (her) hand.”
A young man wanted to admire “the outline of her nipples under the fabric of the sports bra. He wanted to roll it up and off her, to gather her large breasts in his palms, to push them into his mouth.”
A young man kisses a young woman, then pulls her on top of him feeling her breasts against his chest. He wanted to rip her clothes off but stuck his hands up her shirt onto her back.
Violence, Weapons, Crime, Blood
Someone threw something hard at a young man’s head. He falls and scrapes his chin then is kicked in the side.
A man remembers being shot in front of his child.
Potentially Intense Themes
A plane crashes in the water in front of a group of teens. Many swim out looking for survivors.
A woman previously worked at a clinic that performed abortions. She had to wear a bulletproof vest to and from work.
A mother walks away from her husband and daughter and starts a new life. The daughter rebels at school and more.
A young man has difficulty reading and understanding what he’s read. So he cheats.
A young man is injured in a game and vomits from pain multiple times. He is rushed to the hospital.
A young man tells of falling under the train tracks and dying.
Suicide of young men is debated.
Grief is a large portion of the book.
A sister is caressing the face of her brother’s body in a casket. The funeral is highly emotional. It describes how the body looks (puffy) and the makeup covering his face.
A mother sobs next to her son’s casket. A young woman mentions he looks waxy and bloated.
Someone writes about falling underneath their horse during war. How his horse was dying then he noticed gun shots in his belly and knew he was dying too.
A young man relives the dream of a man dying on a nightly basis. He can feel the car accident and tells in detail what happens. From seeing the woman in the other car, to feeling the fire begin to take over his car.
A young man causes himself pain multiple times. He aggravates an injury or burns himself.
**Any quotes from the book are taken from the advanced copy and therefore may not be fully accurate or correctly compare to the final copy of the book.
**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.