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Above Us Only Sky

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  880 ratings  ·  202 reviews
From the author of The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors, which Library Journal called, “ripe for Oprah or fans of Elizabeth Berg or Anne Tyler,” comes a magical novel about a family of women separated by oceans, generations, and war, but connected by something much greater—the gift of wings.

On March 29, 1973, Prudence Eleanor Vilkas was born with a pair of wings mol
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 3rd 2015 by Simon Schuster
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3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  880 ratings  ·  202 reviews

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Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the pure of heart
Sometimes when you finish a book you know you loved it but yet you can't fully explain why.

Above Us Only Sky relates the histories of women throughout the generations of one family who are all born with wings but focuses primarily on one, on a girl called Prudence. When she is born the doctor apologises for this "defect"... This aberration from the ordinary. And at a few months old her "bifurcated protrusions" were incised. The story then begs the question do we carry with us the ghost of who w
Book Riot Community
I picked up this book as a gift for my Lithuanian friends, and just had to take a peek before handing it off. Long story short: this book isn’t leaving my home! About a young girl in America from a broken home who one day discovers she was born with wings (yes, wings) and is then reconnected with her Lithuanian and German grandparents—omg. First, it’s told from multiple POVs, which works really well in this instance; second, it sneakily plopped me into WWII and I can’t bear ‘war books’ but this ...more
Mar 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Prudence was born with wings (surgically removed at birth).
This book takes us back to her ancestors on her fathers side and both grandparents histories in Lithuania and Germany (both grandparents had so much tragedy in their lives) and her connection to them...
Many threads and characters that all come together at the end.., with a touch of magic added to the story... I really enjoyed it.
Lolly K Dandeneau
Aug 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Oh so good. I picked this arc up hoping it would be the sort of magical realism that would fill the reader up and it does. So many emotions between the pages of this beautiful story about a young girl, Prudence Vilkas, who is born with wings just like her paternal great Aunt. Her parents have them removed, but the wings have a way of showing themselves to a certain boy with a special sight. The wings themselves, or scars of them, will bring to life the story of her estranged Lithuanian paternal ...more
Wow! I am just going to say it - I love this book and it may be one of my favorite books in a long while! What an amazing story! I could not put it down!

This is a beautiful book about a girl born with wings (but has them removed) and tells the story of her family, including an aunt who also had wings. This is a novel about family, identity, and loss. It also tells a story about Lithuania that really resonated with me and made the story all the more captivating!

I was so taken with this story an
Aug 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own, fiction
An incredibly beautiful and creative story spanning four generations. Lithuania and its difficult history are in part the center of this story. Prudence is another part of the central story. Prudence Vilkas is born with wings!

Her doctor and parents see them as an aberration, and are scheduled for removal at five months. Father Freddie, gives his daughter Prudence a pet name "little bird" and he loves her. But his first love is not his wife or daughter but music.

Steping back in the past... We see
Lily Beeson-Norwitz
I liked it- don't get me wrong. This is a book about a girl who was born with wings and had them cut off, and now she has remaining scars on her back. Her grandfather comes to visit her and tells her about her family's lineage. It goes through a number of perspectives including those of her family members.

Character: There were so many characters in this book it was hard to keep track. I was always going back to the front of the book to see who that person was and who that person was marryin
Kate Hall
Apr 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Not only is it a joy to see such a talented author from Richmond (now transplanted to the Outer Banks) become such a success with her first book-The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors, seeing her second book take off is a thrill.

The unique characters in this book drew me in immediately--I've never read about a winged girl and the Old Man was endearing--and as a lover of historical fiction, the Lithuanian backdrop was fascinating.

Unique and endearing, I would recommend this to any book lover
Aug 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
So emotional. Every nerve in my body is pulsating.

This author knows how to paint the picture of emotion and beauty. The book is also educational -- I knew little before about the plight of Lithuania, and will seek out more for sure.

The novel is caring and careful and imaginative and fulsome. I loved it. Loved, loved, loved it. I also loved Cassandra Campbell's narration (I listened to audio). She's always absolutely fantastic, but in this book she showed off her very best.

100% exceptional exp
Mar 17, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars - not quite the book I was expecting, the misinformed blurb makes you feel disappointed. And despite far too many changes in POV, there is an interesting story there about Lithuanian war time history. Full review at:
Melody Schreiber
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Stunning, spellbinding, gorgeous, enveloping - all that. Also, many many Feelings.
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Mar 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
When Prudence is born, she is born with a pair of wings on her back. Her father is relatively okay with this; however, her mother believes her wings to be a birth defect and has them surgically removed. Come to find out, Prudence is actually descended from it a family who has several women who were born with wings. And this is something to be celebrated! Split between 1863 and the late 1980s and early 1990s, this book has a great deal of magical realism and focuses on both Prudence and the winge ...more
Mar 26, 2015 rated it liked it
My full review can be found on the blog: http://greatreadsandtealeaves.blogspo...

On reading the description of “a family of women connected by the gift of wings” I presumed this to be a rather magical or paranormal tale, but it isn’t particularly. While the wings are certainly a part of the story and there are some hints at magical elements, these aspects almost feel extraneous – tacked on and, for the most part, unnecessary. At its heart, this is a story about family more than anything else, an
Tammy Parks
Jul 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"It is not easy to feel things, not pain or joy, because pain sits with you, and joy is fleeting, easily swatted like a bee."
This book took my heart out of my chest, broke it into a million pieces, and then put it all back together. I would describe it as historical magical realism. It tells a beautiful, sorrowful, epic, multi-generational story from many different points of view. The framework is the story of two women born with wings, Prudence and her paternal aunt Daina. Most of the story is
Casey Carlton
Mar 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a truly amazing book. So what makes a truly amazing book, you ask? Good writing, for one. Young-Stone evidences a command of language paralleled by few. Her writing is beautiful, unique and engaging. Her descriptions bring the book alive, both visually and emotionally. This book was definitely a page-turner, and I felt emotionally invested in multiple characters. For me, a book from which I learn something new is also a must for it to make my "amazing" list. This novel brings a new persp ...more
Samantha McLaughlin
Nov 11, 2014 rated it did not like it
As a lover of historical fiction, I was super excited when hearing that I won an ARC of this book in a contest here on Goodreads. However, I was unable to make it through the first ten pages. There is no striking detail or hook to draw the reader in. The novel jumps into the protagonist's life without giving much detail, character introduction, or valuable diction whatsoever. I had to put it down; there was no way I was getting through it.
Penny (Literary Hoarders)
One of the most beautifully written stories I've read this year. One of the most beautifully narrated stories I've listened to this year. Absolutely stunning - the characters, their stories - amazing storytelling.
Sandra Heinzman
What an unusual, beautiful book. Can't wait till book club tomorrow because the author is coming! Should be very interesting. I've never read about Lithuania before or known what happened there in the last century. Highly recommend this book.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Molly Bosscher
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a book about the mysterious, the things you know but can't name out loud, and living into those mysteries. It's about stories, about sorrow and how these parts shape us. It's about finding your true self, about knowing when that true self shows itself to you and then grabbing it. I loved it.
Amber M. McCarter
Sep 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The topic is a heavy one. That speaks for itself. But this story... This is feeling in words. Brilliant and helixed layers of metaphor. Both truth and ambiguity sharing the same sentences. There is so much in these pages.
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Can't get into it. Bird people? I dunno.
I'd really give this a 3.5 rating...
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was exceptional! The story through the generations of Lithuanian women, struggling to survive and also born with wings was wonderful!
E. Adeline
Per FTC guidelines: I received this book for review from the publisher and Edelweiss/Above the Treeline. I was not paid for this review; everything I write is completely honest.

Above Us Only Sky begins with a girl, Prudence Eleanor Vilkas, born with wings. Her parents, assuming them to be just a birth defect, have them surgically removed. As she grows older, though, she still feels the ghost pair of wings pulsing against her back, and meets a boy who can actually see them. While we follow Prude
Kathrine Grey
May 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is the kind of book that makes an aspiring author want to give up her craft, because she knows she can never achieve a story so rich with character and emotion and history. In my challenge to read 30 Before 30, I have been flying through books, eating them for breakfast. But this one I had to slow down for, to savor.

Initially drawn to what I thought was a novel of magical realism -- a story of a girl born with wings and a boy with gifted vision to see them despite her scars that prove they
Oct 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Great for fans of Alice Hoffman. Historical fiction mixed with fantastical elements, along with lots of heightened emotions. Young-Stone's men are sensitive and sympathetic (for the most part), and I love to swoon over genuinely good men. The women are interesting and strong - especially Daina. Daina and Stasys's storyline was my favorite, although there's one big revelation that never comes (which was a little bit of a letdown but I see where it might've been tough to fit it in).

The only thing
Jo Dervan
Aug 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The author, Michele Young-Stone, has another winner with this book. Like her first book, The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors, the main characters are flawed but appealing.

Prudence Vilkas was born with wings just like her long lost great aunt Daina. Prudence's parents split up when she was 5 and she did not meet her fathers' parents until she was 16. However once she met with the grandparents, Old Man and Oma, she was exposed to the sad history of Lithuania and the fiercely patriotic peo
Aug 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
A young woman, who was born with wings (her parents had them surgically removed upon her birth), meets her grandparents for the first time when she is 16 and learns a great deal about her family's sad Lithuanian history. She also forms a bond with her grandparents, especially her grandfather, that helps her become the woman she wants to be. In addition to the story of Prudence, the primary protagonist of the story, there are significant portions of the novel that are written from her grandfather ...more
Mar 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Prudence Vilkas yearns to understand what it means to be born with wings and who she is in Michele Young-Stone's Above Us Only Sky. Although I love fantasy, I don't read much literary magical realism, but the idea of women born with wings intrigued me. Young-Stone weaves a tale told from multiple characters spanning from the 1800s to more modern times. The main character is Prudence, a woman born with wings, ones considered a birth defect and removed. My heart went out to her and the other chara ...more
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Awesome read 1 7 Mar 08, 2015 06:48AM  
Thank you from Michele 1 13 Aug 05, 2014 12:02PM  

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MICHELE YOUNG-STONE is the author of LOST IN THE BEEHIVE, an O Magazine pick, ABOVE US ONLY SKY, and THE HANDBOOK FOR LIGHTNING STRIKE SURVIVORS. She is currently at work on a fourth novel.

Read excerpts from her novel at

In addition to being a writer, Michele is a mom, wife, animal lover, Zumba and Hip-Hop addict, crafter, Pinterest junkie, and bird watcher. Learn
“Like humans, birds mourn the loss of fledglings and mates. There are a thousand variant weeping songs to sing. I had to sign mine and get on with it. That is what I did” 1 likes
“Sometimes life is like this Ferris wheel. Even when everything seems wrong, the sky is black, it's starting to rain, and some lady throws up on you, the wheel will keep right on turning to spite you." (the Old Man)” 1 likes
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