When a book is pitched as “like Stranger Things…” well, hi, I want it.
I definitely tumbled into the Stranger Things hype when it started (Mum-Steve is the best character, don’t @ me) and I was curious to see where When The Sky Fell On Splendor would take that inspiration. It’s definitely it’s own story, but it has the vibes. Most importantly: it has an epic squad of character-friends who experience something unexplainable and extraordinary. And like ugh I love reading that.
It reminded me of a few sci-fi films too, like Super 8 and the Iron Giant.
And the thing I liked best? It’s also a story about grief and loneliness, even when you’re surrounded by people, because as much as I like odd plots and potential alien-contacts…I love complex characters more. And it so delivered there!
Huge thanks to MTMC Tours for the ARC! You can also catch a giveaway going on over on my Instagram! It publishes on March 12th 2019.
➸ did odd stuff go down? it most certainly did
We go into these sci-fi books waiting for the weirdness to start and YEAH, it delivered. Basically we have our squad of six teens who have a sucky Youtube channel where they post crappy videos…so they’re filming in a creepy abandon house when something crash-lands outside. SO OF COURSE THEY GO INVESTIGATE.
We get weird flashes of light…the teens losing 6 hours…creepy scars appearing…
Odd talents happening, like being able to flicker lights and hear music and get visions.
It did ring true of a ton of movies I’ve seen, but I hadn’t read a book like this before and I enjoyed it immensely. Also it is so captivatingly written, and when there’s good writing = you got me.
➸ Let’s talk about our squad of misfits, shall we?!
Look, I loved them. They’re odd and splendid and all craving things and struggling with grief. There was a terrible accident 5 years ago that bound them all together. They’ve lost people. They’ve felt lost, abandoned. They suffer together with grief but also…silently…it’s saaaad. Look at these hurting babies.
✧ Franny: She narrates (I think she’s 17) and she’s really the quiet one, the “baby” of the group almost. And honestly she has some great quips, but I often felt she wasn’t as complex as the side characters.
✧ Arthur: older brother of Franny (18) and I LOVED HIM. He was intense and single-focused and a daydreamer and extremist. Like he bounced from obsessions to obsessions and kept his pain at losing his brother and mum wrapped deep. I loved his personality the most!! (Would’ve picked him as the narrator haha.)
✧ Sofia: our Sensible One. She’s like the squad’s super smart girl, but I loved that she was also really sporty.
✧ Levi: he’s the rich kid who wears really fancy and flamboyant clothes and has the video camera.
✧ Remy: he’s Franny’s secret ~crush~ and the sheriff’s kid. Has nightmares and PTSD and is soft.
✧ Nick: resident compulsive liar/kleptomaniac and basically has to work full time to support his mentally ill mother. He’s the quickest to doubt people and be like “I’m out”.
I loved them! They had great dynamics and brother/sister relationships are kind of my favourite thing to read, so yessss. However, I do have two points to make: (1) they could’ve been four, easily. Some of the boys just didn’t do enough tbh. And also (2) they acted very young. This isn’t a diss at younger-YA because, in fact, I think we need more of it. This would’ve been perfect for that. See, it gives us a bunch of characters on bikes, using walkie-talkies, avoiding swearing, having no romances, and sneaking around the woods…they should’ve been 14. The story felt like the simplicity of childhood.
➸ I definitely was rooted to the page!
I wanted to knooooooow!!! And since they did feel all really young, I just went into Protec The Kids mode (I AM STEVE FROM STRANGER THINGS) and wanted them to not all turn into alien-possessed supervillains. I mean that would’ve been cool. But my kids….be safe omg.
➸ It’s also emotionally complex.
Which I love and crave while reading stories. This isn’t just a creepy sci-fi story…it deals deeply with grief. Franny and Arthur’s older brother is in a coma and their mum just couldn’t handle the grief and just left. The book really explores the depth of their motivations and emotions and reactions. None of it felt cheap. And I’m absolute trash for found-family where they realise they’re here for each other. No matter what.
It’s good writing…!!!!
Some of the math parts totally lost me. When they start talking about Fibonacci codes and the physics behind black holes and pseudo-science…ya, lmao, I left my brain in a bucket.
this is a story of grief and loss and damage, and how isolating yourself is how you fall down without energy to get back up. It’s creepy and chilling…but also heartfelt and loving. I loved the tense scenes and the plot twists at the end about what is really going on in Splendor. It definitely has the stranger things vibe I hoped for too! This book??? It’s good.
Almost everyone in the small town of Splendor, Ohio, was affected when the local steel mill exploded. If you weren’t a casualty of the accident yourself, chances are a loved one was. That’s the case for seventeen-year-old Franny, who, five years after the explosion, still has to stand by and do nothing as her brother lies in a coma.
In the wake of the tragedy, Franny found solace in a group of friends whose experiences mirrored her own. The group calls themselves The Ordinary, and they spend their free time investigating local ghost stories and legends, filming their exploits for their small following of YouTube fans. It’s silly, it’s fun, and it keeps them from dwelling on the sadness that surrounds them.
Until one evening, when the strange and dangerous thing they film isn’t fiction–it’s a bright light, something massive hurdling toward them from the sky. And when it crashes and the teens go to investigate…everything changes.
➸ You should also try…
anyone a fan of Stranger Things?! do you like books in small country towns where odd alien things happen? or stories with big friend-squads? tell me your thoughts on this one if you’ve read it!