Series: Sky Jumpers #1
Published by Random House Children's Books on September 24th 2013
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What happens when you can’t do the one thing that matters most?
12-year-old Hope lives in White Rock, a town struggling to recover from the green bombs of World War III. The bombs destroyed almost everything that came before, so the skill that matters most in White Rock—sometimes it feels like the only thing that matters—is the ability to invent so that the world can regain some of what it’s lost.
But Hope is terrible at inventing and would much rather sneak off to cliff dive into the Bomb’s Breath—the deadly band of air that covers the crater the town lives in—than fail at yet another invention.
When bandits discover that White Rock has invented priceless antibiotics, they invade. The town must choose whether to hand over the medicine and die from disease in the coming months or to die fighting the bandits now. Hope and her friends, Aaren and Brock, might be the only ones who can escape through the Bomb’s Breath and make the dangerous trek over the snow-covered mountain to get help.
For once, inventing isn’t the answer, but the daring and risk-taking that usually gets Hope into trouble might just save them all.
In Sky Jumpers, World War III has left the world less inhibited and the people of White Rock are protected by Bomb's Breath – an area of green mist that will kill those who walk through it. The town's emphasis is on inventions and every year there is a festival celebrating the inventions created by the children of the town. Unfortunately, Hope seems to lack a skill of inventing and her latest failure leaves her completely out of displaying her work. Her best friend Aaren is a brilliant inventor and she feels like she cannot hold a candle to anything he creates. Worse off, her own adopted father is a leader in the community and she feels ashamed of having failed her invention this year again.
Her chance comes to shine when her town guard leaves and bandits take over. Hope knows that she can escape and travel through Bomb's Breath to the town where the guards were sent so they can come back and help them. With the help of Aaren and Brock, they must brave a blizzard to save their town. The bandits are after an antibiotic that could leave the town at risk for losing everyone to illness, one that is only curable through this antibiotic.
Hope really steps up as a leader in this book and I loved the way she took charge and pushed forward no matter what obstacle stood in her way. The setting was so well done, treacherous yet with its hidden values and intricacies. The history and idea behind Bomb's Breath and the Green Bombs really added to the story and fleshed out the need for inventions and the importance it holds to the town. Beyond that is Hope's own strength even when realizing her weakness in inventing. I also loved her more tomboyish ways, and at first I did not even realize she was a girl until her name was revealed.
Part of me wishes this wasn't a series, as it wrapped up nice and neat, but I would love to see more of Hope and her world. I'm hoping the following books will take them further from White Rock to see how she fares outside of what she knows.
Final Verdict: Sky Jumpers is a fantastic novel with a strong heroine and a story that really keeps you reading.