What happens when you can’t do the one thing that matters most?
12-year-old Hope lives in White Rock, a town struggling to recover from the green bombs of World War III. The bombs destroyed almost everything that came before, so the skill that matters most in White Rock—sometimes it feels like the only thing that matters—is the ability to invent so that the world can regain some of what it’s lost.
But Hope is terrible at inventing and would much rather sneak off to cliff dive into the Bomb’s Breath—the deadly band of air that covers the crater the town lives in—than fail at yet another invention.
When bandits discover that White Rock has invented priceless antibiotics, they invade. The town must choose whether to hand over the medicine and die from disease in the coming months or to die fighting the bandits now. Hope and her friends, Aaren and Brock, might be the only ones who can escape through the Bomb’s Breath and make the dangerous trek over the snow-covered mountain to get help.
For once, inventing isn’t the answer, but the daring and risk-taking that usually gets Hope into trouble might just save them all.
Peggy Eddleman is the author of the middle grade post-apocalyptic adventures SKY JUMPERS and THE FORBIDDEN FLATS (Random House). She lives at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains with her three hilarious and fun kids (two sons and a daughter), and her incredibly supportive husband. Besides writing, Peggy enjoys playing laser tag with her family, doing cartwheels in long hallways, trying new restaurants, and occasionally painting murals on walls.
First, let me say that I do totally get the idea of "suspension of disbelief." I read mostly fantasy and sci-fi. The idea of a MG post-apocalyptic (this is NOT a dystopian) was intriguing to me. Right up my alley. But my biggest problem ended up that I simply could not suspend disbelief.
Maybe it's because I have a science background, but I could not get beyond the wonky science of this book. Fine, it's for kids. Here's the issue: The book goes out of it's way to try and explain how and why all this stuff happened, how the Bomb's Breath formed and make it seem plausible. When a book does that, the author needs to make sure the science actually *could* work. Or, leave out all those details.
I could have probably moved past that. Because I do read a lot of MG books. But added to that are the completely unrealistic situations, like 12 yr old Hope traveling out of the town, through a blizzard, *with her mom's permission* and with a boy who only a few weeks before had had his stomach cut so deeply his intestines were nicked. Oh, and his 5-yr-old sister tags along too.
Also, if KIDS can make it through the Bomb's Breath by simply *holding their breath* while walking through it, why is it considered such a strong protective barrier for the town?
I could even have possibly let all that slide if this were not post-apocalyptic, which imho should not be written like some sort of Great Big Fun Adventure.
It also drove me nuts that the whole focus of the town was on inventing things, and the kids weren't allowed to ask for help with theirs? Because teamwork never works, right? Because kids can't learn from parents and need to be made fools of publicly when they fail at something they are not wired for.
And there was no consistency when it came to the level of technology these people understood and had. They needed to invent potato peelers, but they have guns? And while this is post-apocalyptic, and yes most of the population is gone, there is still *stuff*, things that may not work but are still around, left over, and yet no one is studying them to figure out how to regain the tech. Instead they are all starting from scratch, depending on the inventions of children.
Lastly, none of the characters came to life for me other than the main character, Hope.
All that said, the writing was pretty good. The author did a great job of capturing the voice of a 12 yr old. If the story itself were actually well thought-out I think this is an author I could enjoy reading. Hopefully Mrs. Eddleman will find it in her heart to write a non-science-based adventure story because I would absolutely give her writing another chance in that case.
Sky Jumpers is simply a breathtaking, fun- and suspense-filled adventure that kids will enjoy. I, myself, enjoyed reading it, hence, 4 stars. It has a rightful amount of action and thrill. I found it unique despite its post-apocalyptic theme since it showcased new ideas that I haven't read in any post-apocalyptic novels. Or maybe I had but I can't really point the difference. You know me.
Let me just commend the author for doing a very good job in establishing the world the story was set in. From the green bombs of the World War III that destroyed towns to a place called Bomb's Breath which is caused by the green bombs itself, I took it all in and understood without hurting my brain. And it's good thing, right?
There are also some ideas that you'll need a suspension of disbelief so you won't be dismayed or gone smart-ass to explain this and that. Just take it all in guys and enjoy. Okay, not all but at least most of it. Lol. That's what I do and boy, I like and appreciate more this middle grade novel.
Moreover, Sky Jumpers is also a coming-of-age tale which delivered an important lesson, not just to kids, but to everyone that one can help in unexpected ways. Just like what the main character proved to her community.
I had read this book some time ago, but I remember enjoying it. The plot is good and fast-paced. It is a great book to give to middle-school children. It is very easy to understand and there is minimal stress on anything but the main storyline. I would, however, have liked for there to be more surprises in the story.
Hope is the only person in her town who can’t invent, a much-needed skill after the green bombs of World War III destroyed everything above the surface and changed the world forever. But Hope is brave, a leader, and has amazing physical skills she hones by jumping into the Bomb’s Breath, a deadly band of compressed air leftover by the bombs that covers her crater-valley. When bandits attack her town and demand the only cure for a deadly disease, it’s up to Hope to escape over the mountain through the Bomb’s Breath and find help for her people.
Sky Jumpers was an incredible, amazing book. I don’t normally read Middle Grade because I find it too childish for my YA-preferred brain, but even from Hope’s 12 year old point of view the book was amazing. It had the most phenomenal world building and character voice, a big cast of characters (not all of them three dimensional, but Hope was, and that’s what’s important), heaps of action when the plot finally did kick in at about halfway, and in the mean time a very solid world history and setting.
Even though the plot did take a while to kick in, I really enjoyed reading about Hope’s life in her valley and learning all about the history of the world and meeting the other characters. Everything that happened previously to the plot actually kicking in was important to the plot (the inventing display where Hope fails miserably, collecting the cure for the deadly disease) or showed an important aspect of Hope’s character (her fearlessness, her leadership skills), and it contributed to the plot.
I was initially very confused about what exactly the Bomb’s Breath was. Maybe I missed some detail that explained it better, because I loved the book so much I tended to read ahead and had to keep reminding myself to slow down and read everything. I knew it was deadly compressed air that kills a person the instant they inhale it, but I couldn’t figure out if it was an isolated incident in a blow-hole like are (similar to what the cover shows)or what it was.
It turns out it’s actually a layer of compressed air that hovers over the crater/valley where Hope’s town is built, and to jump into it you first have to walk through it up the valley. The compression works by making the air heavier (and some other stuff explained in the book), so although you can’t breathe it, you can float through it and safely jump into it from a great height. I actually had to Google ‘bomb’s breath’ in the hope of finding the author’s hypothetical ‘inspiration’ Pinterest board (seriously, authors, you should do this when you have a difficult concept) but instead I found this image which for some reason made it all click:
This was also a strong feminist novel in that Hope’s sexuality or femaleness was NEVER mentioned. She could have been a male character (but I wouldn’t have read the book if she was, because there are already heaps of stories about male heroes and not enough about female heroes). There was absolute minimal romance (a crush is mentioned and discarded) and Hope’s femaleness didn’t preclude her from doing anything amazing or taking on the bad guys. Nothing was sexist. No one called her out on being a girl. It was really refreshing to see that. She was just as physically capable of anything her two male companions were capable of, and probably more so.
Even though I’m not normally a MG reader, I thought this book was all sorts of amazing and I highly recommend it to other YA readers who don’t mind a bit of a more childish voice at times. Or if you’re a parent, you should get this book for your kid: because of the way it’s written, with an active, daredevil female lead with no romance, I believe it can be equally enjoyed by girls and boys alike.
Thanks to Random House and Netgalley for providing this advanced reader copy for an honest review.
Peggy Eddleman's debut children novel targeted for 8 to 12 year olds is a winning science fiction juvenile tale.
Hope, lives in White Rock, a town in what was once Nebraska, 40 years after the "Green bombs" of World War III destroyed the world's civilization, electronics and lifestyle. Now White Rock has the Harvest Day Invention Day, where the children strive to use their ingenuity to make projects that will help their community.
White Rock's 917 person town is in a crater, ringed by mountains and the Bomb's Breath, an area of poisonous air that has odd properties. The only way into the town is through a single passageway cut into the valley by the White Rock River, which protects the town from roaming bandits.
Hope, an adventurous 12 year old, has discovered that you can ski jump from cliffs in the mountain range through the Bomb's Breath and the air will slow down your flight. As the novel opens, Hope is planning a 35 foot jump off a cliff with a couple of flips then through the Bomb's Breath. Although the jump is successful, less so is Hope's invention at the annual town festival.
Eddleman accurately captures Hope's feelings of triumph for the jump, hopefulness at her invention and disappointment at her failure. We feel for Hope.
Because White Rock feels protected, it sends its defenders to another local town to earn money for White Rock.
But, White Rock's feeling of invulnerability is put to the test when bandits find a way into the town and threaten to kill all of the adults unless the adults provide a special antibiotic used to treat a deadly disease. The bandits tie up all the older kids and adults, but Hope courageously leads a group of her friends in a daring escape from the bandits and through the deadly Bomb's Breath.
Can she use her skills in Sky Jumping to get the town's guards and save the antibiotics before they are stolen by the bandits?
Its an uplifting tale of a young girl, who learns her value to her community.
This was a surprisingly charming book. SKY JUMPERS is set post-WWIII, on an Earth that has been decimated by "green" bombs. Technology is all but gone, because the magnetic fields are messed up, and sections of the world are permanently toxic.
Hope's community, White Rock, is one of the best to live in. They're in a valley, naturally defended by the mountains and the ring of deadly Bomb's Breath around them. The town's founders included a man with quite the library, enough to help them get started inventing new technology and medicine. In fact, everyone in the town invents things. But Hope's inventions never turn out quite right.
Then the town is invaded for its antibiotics, and it's up to Hope and her best friends to go get help. Their journey is rather harrowing, but still age appropriate. In fact, since their worst enemy is the cold, I can see this being a good bridge into speculative fiction for young historical fiction fans.
SKY JUMPERS was an original take on the devastated future world. The town council isn't always right, but they aren't sinister either. There's a sense that the people in this world aren't doomed survivors, but that their world will keep growing and eventually flourish again. Now, young readers are likely to be less tired of dystopias and might not be as concerned with that. But they will enjoy the characters.
Hope has her own strengths, and she must believe in them if she's going to save White Rock. Her strengths are complimented by those of her friends', who go on the dangerous journey with her. There's a lot to appeal in this story for both boys and girls. (And how much do I love that it's one of the boys charged with caring for his younger sister?)
I didn't know what to expect when I started SKY JUMPERS. But whatever expectations I had were certainly exceeded. It's a wonderful debut for Peggy Eddleman. I'm curious about this being the beginning of a series, since the story came to a satisfying conclusion. But it is an interesting world, so I'd be willing to spend more time in it.
The idea of the plot intrigued me and the main character had good voice, but the execution of the story was not great. The physical description of the world was confusing and sometimes contradictory so that I could not accurately picture this world. Also, there were just too many plot points that were unrealistic, even for a sci-fi, post-apocalyptic world. The idea and characters had promise, but the story was disappointing.
Middle grade fiction tends to be mostly hit or meh with me. Either it’s blowing my mind with awesomeness or I could kind of take it or leave it. Sadly, Sky Jumpers did not jump its way into my heart. While I don’t have anything against it and definitely don’t think it’s a bad book, I’m neutral to it.
Sky Jumpers reminds me a lot of Z for Zachariah. Now, if you haven’t read the latter, let me enlighten you. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic landscape, in which a young girl is living in what may be the one safe valley from all the pollution. Things aren’t quite that bad in Sky Jumpers, but there’s Bomb’s Breath, a thicker, deadly gas all around. One breath of it and you’re dead. There’s a similar sense of isolation in Sky Jumpers, only there are whole towns, not the one teenage girl alone.
However, much like that teenage girl was beset by a deranged man who wanted her supplies, Hope’s town is attacked by nefarious bandits. Due to the adults underestimating children, Hope and her friends are the town’s only hope and have to face off against an enemy way above their skill level. This basic story works really well as an introduction to post-apocalyptic fiction for young readers, capturing some of the bleakness without getting into anything overly terrible or dark.
The actual sky jumping is pretty cool. Basically, Hope and her friends figured out that you can walk through Bomb’s Breath as long as you don’t breathe. Also, sense it’s denser, you can jump off a cliff, go through a cloud of it, and land safely in breathable air down below. The kids are daring in a way that the adults aren’t, and it does sound like the kind of stupidly dangerous thing children might do.
Hope and her friends are fun characters, and, as ever, it’s a delight to read about the focus on friendship and family in middle grade fiction. I particularly like Brock’s character, and how much they learned about him as the novel went along. By the way, I totally ship Brock/Hope, even if middle grade ships make me feel a liiiitle bit creepy.
Where the book lost me was in the inventions. Hope’s town forces everyone to be an inventor and, if you suck at it, like Hope does, everyone will judge you and be really mean. Apparently they know enough about the past to want inventions because they know things were better, but not enough to have great ideas of what to make and how to go about it. Also, it just seems like a horrible foundation for a society to force everyone into a scientific path when everyone isn’t wired that way. The fact that Hope was the only one who was so bad at inventing was totally not believable to me. Plus, I don’t really feel like it advanced the larger narrative; it felt more like a way to make Hope the outcast and underdog, and then give a message about everyone having different strengths. That’s a good message, but the execution here is clunky.
Sky Jumpers is an excellent choice for younger readers curious about post-apocalyptic fiction, but worried that YA ones might be too dark and scary. It’s definitely much less upsetting than Z for Zachariah, which I remember seeing on reading lists in elementary school, and which creeped me out as an adult. It might be more hit or miss with older readers.
I am a HUGE believer in the power of books, especially for younger readers, but a book must open up a whole new world and fuel the imagination. Sky Jumpers by Peggy Eddleman is a powerful read and acts like rocket fuel for the brain! World War III has surpassed all previous wars with its ‘advanced’ warfare methods and destroyed most of the world’s population in the process. Chemicals released by the bombs that were dropped chemically altered the atmosphere, creating much denser pockets of air that poisonous to anyone who breathes it in. Everyone is warned not to go near its vapors which play a protective role for a small town deep in a small valley. So what happens when a daring young girl and her friends hear this edict? They test their daring by holding their breath and jumping down through the cloud!
Hope doesn’t think she has many useful strengths to share in her community, she isn’t the smartest, isn’t good at inventing things that can help replace what was lost in the war, trouble seems to just find her, no matter what! When her small town is threatened by outsiders and everyone’s lives are at risk, not only does Hope risk her life to save those around her, but she discovers the unique talents and strengths she does possess!
Sky Jumpers by Peggy Eddleman has created a world full of rich detail and the exuberance of youth in a time when the world is struggling to re-build. She has achieved a remarkable feat by giving us a young heroine who finds her purpose in life and learns to embrace the uniqueness that is her. From page one the adventure is off and running, the perfect magnet to draw middle grade readers in, finding a character they can identify with is like the icing on the cake. Ms. Eddleman gives her readers something to cheer about and characters to root for all of the way as she feeds their minds with the reality that if you believe in yourself, anything can happen. If this book isn't in your children's library, it should be!
An ARC edition was provided by NetGalley and Random House Children's in exchange for my honest review.
Publication Date: September 24, 2013 Publisher: Random House Children's ISBN: 9780307981271 Number of Pages: 288 Genre: children's Fantasy Recommended Ages: 8 & up My Rating: 5 Stars Available from: Amazon / Barnes & Noble For more reviews check out Tome Tender's Book Blog or find us on Facebook.
When the prospect of a Middle Grade post-apocalyptic book was presented to me, I was over the moon. I'm a huge fan of MG fiction, but it seems like there's not a lot of it out there that stems into areas like this. Maybe it's because post-apocalyptic worlds aren't exactly happy places, but that just made me more excited to see how Peggy Eddleman would handle this in her debut novel.
What first struck me as odd was the fact that the science aspect of this book really doesn't make a lot of sense. I'm all for suspending disbelief to enjoy a book. If people can fly, and you explain to me why that's true, I'll happily follow along. In this case, Sky Jumpers tried its best to make sense of a world where very few people remain, and invention is the only thing that matters besides survival. I was tossed into a world where only primitive technology remains, and people put a heavy-handed emphasis on invention. If you don't invent, or you can't invent, you're an outcast. Or, you're our main character. Somehow she seems to be the only one who falls into this category.
That being said, I could have let most of that go, except that the questions that I had kept compounding. Characters in MG novels do all manner of amazing things. They set off on epic quests, save villages, and most of the time all by themselves. Nonetheless, my mind simply wouldn't wrap itself around the fact that Hope was in this role. Setting off into a blizzard with your very injured best friend and his five year old sister just doesn't make sense. Add in the fact that "Bomb's Breath", the very thing that kills people who try to enter the valley and is their only protection from outside, can be walked through by simply holding your breath? I'm so very confused.
Truthfully, this was a quick enough read. Hope and her friends were well written, and I could actually see the twelve year old persona in their thoughts and actions. That's where my enjoyment of this story hit a wall though. There was too much that just didn't mesh. I think if this were a Fantasy story, something where we're encouraged to let go of anything true (like scientific fact), I would have liked this more.
Go, Peggy Eddleman! Thank you for writing a fun post-apocalyptic story that features a strong female lead!
I love post-apocalyptic stories that focus on how humankind deals with the fallout, without necessarily focusing on the whys and hows. Let's see how we pick up the pieces. Eddleman does this beautifully.
I really enjoyed seeing humanity come together in the aftermath. It's not just dog-eat-dog in this world. It's tough and rough but people are helping each other out. They are loyal and love each other and they love science!
It's an adorable story and I'm really looking forward to more in the series as well as getting these books to read with my son as he gets older.
I'm honestly not sure how to rate this. I thought it was quite slow, and not terribly interesting. I tried to think of how my middle grade aged son would like it, since he is the target audience, and even still, not sure if he would.
It's easy to say I'm not the target audience, and it's only a middle grade book, so I should go easier on it. But there are some killer middle grade books out there.
The plot for this one was different, and there were some elements to it that I liked, but overall it was very forgettable, and I definitely wouldn't continue on with the series.
I received this book from Netgalley to review a very long time ago. My best intention was to read it right away, but it didn't work out that way.
This is a tween to YA dystopian book. It was very well written and really captured my attention and imagination. I wish that I had read it sooner!
This book takes place after WWIII. The Earth has been drastically altered and people live with little to no technology. People live in fortified villages to try to stay safe from bandits who roam and steal what they do not produce themselves. This book is full of adventure. Hope and her friends are early teens who have to use skills the cultivated on the sly to save their town when bandits strike.
I think this is a wonderful book for kids of all ages (that includes adults). It does contain non-graphic violence.
Note: An advanced reader copy was provided by the publisher.
Futuristic fiction set on Earth after World War III has destroyed most of civilization. I bet the word that immediately came to mind was ”dystopia”. Riding the wave of Hunger Games interest, there have been no end to the stories of oppressive societies, dark futures and technology run amok. Sky Jumpers isn’t any of those things. What we have here instead is a story that is pure post apocalyptic adventure.
The citizens of White Rock enjoy one of the few safe bastions of civilized life that are left on the WWIII ravaged landscape. The Green Bombs that were released destroyed buildings and human life, and left pockets of super dense Oxygen molecules that can kill any creature who tries to breathe within such a pocket. While the environment is rich and fertile, technology has all but vanished from people’s lives. The people of White Rock are slowly trying to rebuild parts of that lost technology and society by inventing–or reinventing devices that can help improve lives. Every White Rock citizen is expected to contribute to the invention process, down to the youngest school children.
Twelve year old Hope wishes she were good at inventing. She’s tried time and time again to create something for her school project, only to fail in disastrous and dramatic fashion. She yearns to make her parents proud of her but can’t seem to do anything right. The only things she’s any good at is jumping through the huge pocket of ”Bomb’s Breath” that lies outside her town. By holding her breath, she can jump into the super dense air and have it slow her fall so she can do all sorts of tricks and land safely. When raiders manage to take over the town and demand their precious antibiotic supply, Hope’s ability to get through the Bomb’s Breath safely may be their only salvation. Hope escapes with her friends on a daring and dangerous mission to get help before time runs out!
Peggy Eddleman delivers an action-packed adventure tale with a strong and likable female protagonist. Rather than an overbearing or oppressive society, Hope’s town of White Rock comes across as a fairly egalitarian place. Picture a frontier town style of setting, where the citizens are constantly working to keep their town protected and productive and you might have a clearer picture of White Rock. That’s not to say the author hasn’t created a satisfying science fiction story! This is a great book for introducing younger readers to this style of science fiction. Kids not ready for the dark revelations of The Giver or the violence of The Hunger Games will be able to sink their teeth into this story. Hope’s struggle is a relevant one to any reader–the desire to do something that her family can be proud of–and the need to be herself.
It seems that this book may be the first in a series, but the story wraps up nicely by the last chapter, so readers won’t be left hanging. I’ll be curious to see where Ms. Eddleman takes her characters in the next story. As I mentioned, the story is on the lighter side, and will work best for 3rd and 4th grade readers who are just beginning to try science fiction. It does not have the complexity or sophistication of something like The Hunger Games trilogy–and I’m just as glad it doesn’t. This fits soundly into the world of middle grade fiction, and gives younger readers the foundations of good science fiction. Unlike the action-adventure video game quality of many alien invasion and superhero stories, this will engage readers’ imagination and have them asking “what if?”
I do have to grumble about the cover a little. It’s not that the cover isn’t an interesting one, but it’s a little inaccurate. It appears to show our characters diving into a lightning and mountain clad landscape as if they will fly over it. I would have preferred something that felt more true to the actual story. Still, a great read for the right audience. I’ll be looking for more from this author.
The Dream Catcher by Monica Hughes (Atheneum, 1986)
Tomorrow’s Magic by Pamela Service (Random House, c1988)
Peggy Eddleman’s Sky Jumpers is a super captivating middle-grade read with exciting and refreshing post-apoc elements and breathless thrills. Twelve year old Hope lives in White Rock, a town located in a 10 mile wide crater, in a post WW III world. The green bombs of WW III left the world devastated and destroyed most of the technology, so the citizens of White Rock value inventing above all else. But Hope rather go sky jumping off the crater’s cliffs and into the deadly Bomb’s Breath- the deadly layer of air left behind by the bombs that one must hold their breath through. But when bandits invade, looking for White Rock’s life saving antibiotics, Hope and her sky jumping friends may be the town’s only hope.
Sky Jumpers is such a fun, entertaining read and I loved every minute of it! Peggy Eddleman has woven a smartly crafted post-apoc story for a MG audience with superb storytelling, wonderful word-building, and charming characters. This book has all the well thought-out and logical post-apoc world-building elements and the intensity; urgency; and unpredictability I love in great YA post-apocs, but crafted in ways that are appropriate for and easily understood by a MG audience. In fact, Sky Jumpers is the perfect book to introduce younger readers to the post-apoc genre! Eddleman explores both her post-apoc world’s history and its current state in-depth, but not in a way that will overwhelm readers. The WW III green bombs and their devastating effects make complete logical sense, and create a setting with such exciting possibilities and potential. Like me, younger readers will be fascinated by White Rock and its intriguing mix of 19th-21st century technology and way of life.
Sky Jumpers’ heroine, Hope, is a fun mix of feisty, clever, brave, and vulnerable. She’s such a relatable and lovable character, and I loved seeing this world through her eyes. Younger readers will easily connect with Hope and have no problems rooting for her. Hope’s friends and adventure companions, Aaren; Brock, and little Brenna, are just as lovable and well-developed as Hope, and I loved the genuine friendship among this quirky group.
Sky Jumpers is filled to the brim with thrills and excitement! Like me, young readers will love soaring into the deadly Bomb’s Breath, careening down a snow covered mountain, racing across the desolate terrain, and going up against a group of lawless bandits to save White Rock, with Hope and her motley crew.
The end is totally satisfying, but leaves plenty of room for future adventures, and I cannot wait for more!
MY FINAL THOUGHTS: I had such a fantastic time reading this book! Endlessly enthralling and never boring, Sky Jumpers, will have readers breathlessly turning pages until the very end. As a new author, Peggy Eddleman has certainly made a sparkling debut and gained a fan in me. A definite MUST read, especially for middle-grade readers.
Sky Jumpers is a post-apocalyptic middle grade novel about a group of cliff diving twelve-year-olds who need to save their town from invading bandits.
The narrator is a kickass heroine named Hope. She’s a natural leader with a passion for competitions and physical activity. There’s no challenge she won’t accept. She isn’t afraid to climb tall trees or jump from the cliffs that surround her home. Her classmates are drawn to her because of her athletic talents and leadership abilities. Unfortunately, her desire to push the limits often gets her in trouble.
With a narrator like Hope, this book does not lack action. The excitement starts on page 1 and rarely slows down. The quick pacing and spirited characters can easily hold the attention of young readers. Peggy Eddleman does an amazing job of capturing the voice of a twelve-year-old and making Hope relatable.
As an adult-aged reader, I have a few issues with the book. If you are a lover of science fiction, you may have to suspend your disbelief. A lot. The science and the actions of the adult characters aren’t always logical. These problems most likely won’t bother young readers, though.
This book is action-packed, but the main plot takes a long time to get started. The first half of the story is mostly just world building and character development. The world building is fascinating, but the story feels a bit directionless until the bandits finally show up. After the bandits overrun the town, the action really takes off. Unfortunately, some of the action scenes are difficult to picture. There is a map of the town in the front of the book, but it didn’t help me very much.
I also have a problem with the whole “inventing” aspect. The leaders of Hope’s town force all of its citizens to create inventions that will improve the lives of the townspeople. Hope seems to be the only person in town who has trouble inventing. Even the five-year-olds are genius inventers. Anyone who can’t invent is looked down upon. This does tie in to the story’s “Find your strengths” theme, but it comes across as unrealistic and heavy-handed.
The best part of this book is its theme. There is a lot for readers to take away from the story. Hope learns that everybody has different strengths and weaknesses. The challenge is figuring out how to use your strengths to accomplish your goals.
Sky Jumpers is book #1 of a trilogy (I think?). I really enjoyed seeing this post-apocalyptic world from Hope’s point-of-view, but I probably will not continue reading the series.
In Sky Jumpers, World War III has left the world less inhibited and the people of White Rock are protected by Bomb's Breath – an area of green mist that will kill those who walk through it. The town's emphasis is on inventions and every year there is a festival celebrating the inventions created by the children of the town. Unfortunately, Hope seems to lack a skill of inventing and her latest failure leaves her completely out of displaying her work. Her best friend Aaren is a brilliant inventor and she feels like she cannot hold a candle to anything he creates. Worse off, her own adopted father is a leader in the community and she feels ashamed of having failed her invention this year again.
Her chance comes to shine when her town guard leaves and bandits take over. Hope knows that she can escape and travel through Bomb's Breath to the town where the guards were sent so they can come back and help them. With the help of Aaren and Brock, they must brave a blizzard to save their town. The bandits are after an antibiotic that could leave the town at risk for losing everyone to illness, one that is only curable through this antibiotic.
Hope really steps up as a leader in this book and I loved the way she took charge and pushed forward no matter what obstacle stood in her way. The setting was so well done, treacherous yet with its hidden values and intricacies. The history and idea behind Bomb's Breath and the Green Bombs really added to the story and fleshed out the need for inventions and the importance it holds to the town. Beyond that is Hope's own strength even when realizing her weakness in inventing. I also loved her more tomboyish ways, and at first I did not even realize she was a girl until her name was revealed.
Part of me wishes this wasn't a series, as it wrapped up nice and neat, but I would love to see more of Hope and her world. I'm hoping the following books will take them further from White Rock to see how she fares outside of what she knows.
Final Verdict: Sky Jumpers is a fantastic novel with a strong heroine and a story that really keeps you reading.
Peggy Eddleman's Sky Jumpers is a terrific middle grade novel--it's easy to see why it's been getting all the buzz it has. It's got a great action sequence combined with heart, and should appeal to most young (and not-so-young) readers.
After the green bombs of World War III wipe out most of humanity (but don't destroy the planet because they're "green"), the survivors struggle to rebuild their communities. Some fifty years or so after the war, 12 year-old Hope lives in a unique community in White Rock, a rich farming community inside a bomb crater, protected from marauding bandits by a ring of deadly, super compressed air known as "Bomb's Breath." Because so much of the pre-war technology was lost, Hope's community values inventors and inventions above anything else. And Hope--who is smart, funny, and courageous--is a lousy inventor. What she likes to do, more than anything else, is jump through the "Bomb's Breath," where the denser air catches her and slows her fall.
But when bandits find a way into White Rock and demand the last of their critical medical supply, Hope realizes it's time for her to use her strengths. Since the bandits only count adults and youth 14 and up, Hope and her friends are able to sneak away. But it takes all of her considerable smarts and resourcefulness to find the help her town desperately needs.
Eddleman's writing is pretty straight-forward and unadorned, but that works perfectly for this novel, as it doesn't get in the way of the action. But what I liked best was that, in addition to the great concept, Hope has a rich character development, as she finds a way past her concerns about fitting in and making her parents proud. The central message--to find your strengths and use them--is one that all children need to hear.
WWIII Green Bomb aftermath leaves the earth devastated but Hope survives in more ways than one.
Daring to do what her settlement fears, 12 year old Hope defies death with her adventurous spirit. Being courageous is not Hope’s weakness, her insecurity of being different is. While the community applauds technical finesse and inventive creativity, Hope’s strength lies in leadership and problem solving. She overcomes the community’s collective fear of going into the Bomb’s Breath, a deadly aftermath area due to lack of oxygen. She plays in it by cliff diving through its invisible clouds but finds out it could save the entire settlement when terror comes knocking on the door. This story shows how a community can survive after an earth shattering mistake by scientists and warmongers. It shows the human spirit will find a way to carry on despite all odds, even when their own species turns against them.
While it is post-apocalyptic, the story doesn’t dwell on the hardships. It showcases the resiliency of human nature to survive. Eddleman crafts a wonderful coming-of-age tale that will delight more than middle-graders. It is a story full of heart, action, adventure that will transcend age groups. It is a wonderful story that highlights that everyone has something to offer the community with varied talents and strengths.
Those badass kids on the cover are cliff diving into a deadly band of air. I needed to find out more.
I've been excited about Sky Jumpers since before it was released, but I've continued to put it aside for other things. I came across the second book in this series on Overdrive, and I decided it was time to catch up.
The kids and the cliff diving completely lived up to the cover and my expectations.
Post-apocalypse. This is a middle grade post-apocalyptic. I have never read a post-apocalyptic book intended for such a young audience. For some reason I thought this would target kids a bit older, but my elementary kids could read this one. That's pretty exciting.
Friendships. Friendships are a big part of why I enjoy reading younger books. Everything doesn't dissolve into a romance. I like these kids.
Entertaining. Sky Jumpers was a fun read.
Stand alone. Sky Jumpers is the first in a series, but it is a full story that can stand on its own.
I'm too old to believe the science of Sky Jumpers. That's OK - it's still great fun, but sometimes it's easier to just "go with it" when you are still filled with the childhood magic that I no longer possess.
Would I recommend Sky Jumpers to others?
Absolutely, but more so to the younger readers in my life and adults who already partake in middle grade reads.
Meh... I found this one to be a little amateurish. I think a MG post-apocalyptic story is an interesting idea, and there was definitely plenty of action, adventure, and inventing in SKY JUMPERS to engage me. But the story just didn't. I think that's probably because the characters didn't have a lot of substance and often thought in a gratingly juvenile way---despite the gravity of their situation and the maturity of their actions. (Case in point: Hope believes that her father will not run for head of the town council because he is embarrassed of her---even though he has never said or even remotely indicated this---but she is able to escape from bandits, hike through a blizzard, and save her town.) I will note that I listened to a good bit of this book as an audiobook, and the narrator's dreadfully immature voice certainly didn't lessen these thoughts for me, but still I felt that the authors' writing and character development left much to be desired.
As other reviewers have noted, the science also requires a serious suspension of disbelief. That, for me, is not the kiss of death for a book, but it definitely demands a stellar story. And this was not that. I think there will be plenty of kids who enjoy the story, but I was disappointed.
This post-apocalyptic for young readers was a bit too heavy handed for my taste. We have a society that only values inventions, since the explosion that caused everything to fail to work left them in a semi-pre-industral environment. The science didn't sit well with me, the obsession with inventing as the only way to make a positive contribution to the society, and then the threat that shows up demanding "all the medicine" just made me want to quit reading. So I did. The characters weren't compelling enough for me, and the story was driving me bonkers. For younger readers, maybe 12-15, this story might resonate well. But for those of us who have been around the post-apocalyptic block a few times, it feels trite and uncompelling.
There were so many things to love about this book; the cool world, the awesome conflict, the relatable characters, but I think my favorite part was the loving family dynamics. It is so rare to find a MG book where the kids aren't orphaned, neglected, or left to there own devices. And that all makes sense, because to have a book with great conflict kids need to find a way to solve their own problems and most good parents step in before they can :) But Peggy Eddleman found away to have awesome believable conflict and still have a functional family. Bravo. I loved it!
The title and book cover is completely misleading. Other than that; great read! Post Apocalyptic world. Bandits come to their town an she leaves to get help. strong female lead with deficiencies. Good tension, and slightly different from most dystopian reads. Instead of technology moving forward, its gotten stunted. Solid read with satisfying conclusion.
Question: How does one take a premise like escaping from bandits who've taken a town hostage and having to go through a blizzard and a cloud of nuclear fallout to get to safety and turn that narrative into something as dry as day-old toast? This book is the reason "meh" was invented.
I am giving it 5 stars because I liked it well enough to look forward to #2 and I think my students will as well. It looks and sounds like a book for boys but is written with a strong female character and plenty of suspense and action, making it appealing for all.