Monday, June 4, 2018

JUST UNDER THE CLOUDS by Melissa Sarno



From the publisher




JUST UNDER THE CLOUDS by Melissa Sarno  (June 5, 2018,  Knopf /Penguin Random House, 240 pages, for ages 8 to 12)


SYNOPSISIS (from the publisher):

Can you still have a home if you don't have a house?

Always think in threes and you'll never fall, Cora's father told her when she was a little girl. Two feet, one hand. Two hands, one foot. That was all Cora needed to know to climb the trees of Brooklyn.

But now Cora is a middle schooler, a big sister, and homeless. Her mother is trying to hold the family together after her father's death, and Cora must look after her sister, Adare, who's just... different, their mother insists. Quick to smile, Adare hates wearing shoes, rarely speaks, and appears untroubled by the question Cora can't help but ask: How will she find a place to call home?

After their room at the shelter is ransacked, Cora's mother looks to an old friend for help, and Cora finally finds what she has been looking for: Ailanthus altissima, the "tree of heaven," which can grow in even the worst conditions. It sets her on a path to discover a deeper truth about where she really belongs.
 


Why I recommend it:

I love finding a new MG author and a new book that touches me deeply while also appealing to readers who are looking for "issue books". This one is so much more than an issue book. It's bursting with character, voice, and a gorgeous sense of place. Even if you've never been to Brooklyn, you'll feel you've known it forever. Mostly, though, it's Cora who will grab your heart from the first page.

Imagine how thrilled I was to receive a review copy from Knopf of JUST UNDER THE CLOUDS. I've been following Melissa for many years on social media and I could tell by her posts that she's a wonderful writer. Now you can find out for yourself by buying and reading this lovely book. The story line is captivating. The characters feel ultra-real, the metaphors and similes are gorgeous. I can't wait to see what Melissa comes up with next.


Favorite lines:

From p. 3: Adare was born special, Mom always says. She tells the story like it's a legend. She talks about the wind that night, in its quickening swirl... She talks about the moment Adare came into the world without a sound ---Not blue, no, more like lavendar, like sunset--and in that moment all the oxygen gone from the world, the trees forgetting to breathe their gift, Adare forgetting, too.

From p. 86: Meredith Crane parades past, her friends cascading behind her like a frilly gown draping the floor.



Visit Melissa Sarno




14 comments:

  1. I completely understand that magical feeling of discovering a new voice! My experience was similar with my feature today, Where the Watermelons Grow. Thanks for sharing this--and love those fav lines!

    --Suzanne
    www.suzannewarr.com

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    1. I'll be sure to check out your Monday post (sorry it's now Friday. Had some headaches to deal with this week).

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  2. What a beautiful cover! I am always searching for stories about homelessness. It is a way to important issue and teens need to know. Sold. I'm going to get this gem!

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    1. Before reading this, my go-to book about homelessness was HOW TO STEAL A DOG by Barbara O'Connor. Have you read it?

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  3. I've heard some advanced buzz on this one. Thanks for your thoughts and for answering many of my questions about the story. I've added it to my future read list.

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    1. Hope you get a chance to read it, Greg.

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  4. I have been hearing about this book. I really, really want to read it soon, especially after reading your review. I LOVE the line you chose about Meredith Crane. What a picture that paints. Thanks for the post.

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    1. Exactly, Rosi! There are so many like that. This is one talented writer.

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  5. This novel sounds great! The quotes are beautiful, as is the cover (as Patricia T. mentioned). Thanks for the recommendation!

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    1. Glad you liked the quotes I chose. It was difficult to narrow it down.

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  6. Sounds like a great read. The homeless aspect really appeals to me.

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    1. There aren't too many books for this age about being homeless. In HOW TO STEAL A DOG, by Barbara O'Connor, the family is living in their car.

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  7. This has everything that tugs at your heart. Thanks for reviewing it.

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YAY for comments! I read and appreciate each one and I always try to answer. All opinions welcome. Let's have a conversation.