Author(s): Meg McKinlay
This coming-of-age story by multiple-award-winner Meg McKinlay is about loss and grief, dealing with change and fighting to hold on to what you can, while letting go of what you can't. It's 1979 and the sky is falling. Skylab, that is. Somewhere high above Frankie Avery, one of the world's first space stations is tumbling to Earth. And rushing back with it are old memories. Things twelve-year-old Frankie thought she'd forgotten. Things her mum won't talk about, and which her little brother Newt never knew. Only ... did he? Does he? Because as Skylab circles closer, Newt starts acting strangely. And while the world watches the sky, Frankie keeps her own eyes on Newt. Because if anyone's going to keep him safe, it's her. It always has been. But maybe this is something bigger than splinters and spiders and sleepwalking. Maybe a space station isn't the only thing heading straight for calamity.
CBCA Shortlist 2020:Book of the Year: Younger Readers
CBCA Review:This is an exceptional coming-of-age story which sensitively deals with loss, grief and change. Set in Western Australia in 1979, as the world waits for Skylab to tumble to Earth, the historical context offered is original and fascinating while the plot revolves around Frankie, her brother and her mother. Frankie establishes a strong relationship with the reader, revealing her thoughts and motivations clearly. The reader can understand her grief over losing her father, the difficulties of living in a single-parent home, and the deep responsibility she feels for her brother. Minor characters provide comic relief. The plot builds gently as the characters anticipate the landing of Skylab pieces. Other points of tension include the increasing conflict between Frankie and her friend Kat, Newt’s obsession with Skylab, which leads him to take greater risks, and the emotional buildup of suppressed grief. The strands of the plot are skilfully interwoven and the ‘falling’ metaphor works brilliantly. While there are many references to science and space stations, the story is ultimately about the human heart.