YA book review: The sky so heavy

'The sky so heavy' by Claire Zorn has been my favourite read of the past term. It's aimed at young adults although I think if you can cope with a bit of swearing it would be OK for 12+.

'The sky so heavy' is set in the lower Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. The story starts off with a normal school day for Fin against the backdrop of looming tensions in an Asian country north of Australia. There is a major nuclear attack that destroys all of Asia leaving Australia devastated by the aftermath of a nuclear winter.

Of course, the parents are quickly dispensed with and the three teenagers, Fin, Lucy and Arnold, are left on their own to survive.

It is powerful reading a book that is set in such familiar places. The kids have to negotiate their way down the mountains into the edges of Western Sydney that has been barricaded to protect any outsiders coming in. It's the realism that makes it so rivetting. So much that is normal and familiar but in this horrendous and terrifying context.

One of the main characters, Arnold, is from a Christian family - his parents are missionaries who have been in on short-term mission somewhere in Asia and are assumed killed because of their proximity to the nuclear attacks. It's very interesting reading how Zorn uses this character to address issues about suffering and where God fits into this. It's good. Not overkill but helpful I think.

Great read - highly recommend it for grown-ups too. And it will make you want to rush out and stock your pantry with as many canned goods as you can fit in your house!


Tamie said…
Do you think it's this generation's 'Tomorrow When the War Began' Jenny?
Jenny said…
Yes, it has been likened to it.
Jean said…
Thanks Jenny. I was going to make the same comparison! Hopefully less explicit though - my 14 year old has been allowed to see the film, but not read, the "Tomorrow" series.
601 Iymbilis
Jenny said…
Hi Jean,

Aside from the language, younger kids could read it than I'd recommend for TWTWB. There's almost no teenage ansty relational stuff - they're too busy trying to survive. More suspense/action orientated. My 11 year old did read it. I do tend to err on the more conservative end for my age recommendations.
Megan said…
Yes we loved it - my 15yo and 12yo and me (40+) and I hope there is a sequel.
Samantha said…
Thank you so much for your reviews. Last year, you posted about Wonder - and I bought it for my niece who loved it so much she read it 3 times in a row! I think we'll try The Sky so Heavy as a gift this year...

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