Sky Jumpers by Peggy Eddleman

Random House, 2013

Hope is impulsive, a daredevil stuck in a town full of inventors who take their time, think things out, find better ways to do things, even if it takes years. Hope can’t bear to wait minutes, much less years, for things to change.

Hope just doesn’t fit in. She loves nothing more than the thrill of jumping off a cliff. If her parents knew she was doing it, she’d be grounded for life – especially since she’s jumping into bomb’s breath, the deadly substance left behind after the green bombs were dropped. People can’t breathe bomb’s breath and live, that’s why it’s so dangerous. But Hope knows she can hold her breath long enough to get through it. Plus, though it’s invisible, the bomb’s breath is denser than air and cushions her fall.

The thrill of each jump lets Hope forget, if only for a little while, that she’s a failure. Every year at fall festival Hope’s the only one in the whole town who hasn’t managed to make a successful invention. Even the four-year-olds seem to manage it, but not twelve-year-old Hope. Soon enough, however, the town encounters something that all their inventions can’t fix, a situation that calls for action, impulse, and extreme bravery. Will Hope’s unique skills be enough to save an entire town?

I was fortunate to be approved to read this cracking adventure through Netgalley before publication. I read the book straight through and loved it. The characters are well drawn and sympathetic. The world building was beautifully woven into the story, and the danger is real enough to be thrilling. The action drives the plot so that even reluctant middle grade readers will pick this one up and go along for the ride.

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