Sky (Ondine Sherman, Pantera)
Fifteen-year-old animal lover Sky has had her world turned upside down. Her mum has died, she is sent to live with Aunt Paula (a virtual stranger who cries constantly and calls her ‘sweetie’), and she has to start at a new school. This brings even more drama: body image worries, trying to fit in with the popular girls, and her animal liberation ideals being put to the test. Author Ondine Sherman is the co-founder of animal protection institute Voiceless, and Sky could be seen as a vehicle for the organisation (Voiceless is mentioned by name and the main character is a vegan). While this aspect may jar with some readers, the story flows well and Sherman authentically captures the YA vernacular and teenagers’ technological fixation. Sky deals with her uncertain circum-stances as best she can, and while she keeps secrets and misconstrues certain situations, the message that emerges is one of resilience, fighting for what’s right and being true to yourself—which may seem a little hackneyed but is important nonetheless. Readers who found Kate Gordon’s Girl Running, Boy Falling compelling will enjoy Sky, especially those with a leaning towards animal rights.
Katie Haydon is a former assistant editor of Books+Publishing and a vegetarian from age 14