'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
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Thursday 16 January 2020

Review: The Year We Fell From Space

Just because separation and divorce is so common in our society that it barely raises an eyebrow, it does not mean that children are equipped to deal with it. Family is messy, divorce is messier still. 

And the fall-out for children and young people can be devastating, particularly when depression and re-partnering are added to the mix.

Liberty is a precocious twelve-year-old girl who is trying to make sense of her life. She lives with her mother and sister. She has not spoken to her father for months, as he has cancelled all of their scheduled access visits at the last minute.

Liberty is obsessive about astronomy and developing her own constellations which are more meaningful to her than those that have been around for hundreds of years. 

But there’s only so much she can do about changing the universe to suit her –Liberty’s journey is about accepting what can’t be changed.

One night, she literally catches a falling star as a fragment of meteorite lands on her lap. But this does not change her life. Liberty still has to do all the hard emotional work to deal with her out-of-control life – or, the parts of it what were within her control. Liberty starts to realise that the adults in her life are flawed, such as her Dad having depression, that he has a new partner and that her mother simply does not want him back.

I quite liked that Liberty was also flawed. She felt different from her classmates and was judged by some. But she also made some very poor decisions throughout the story, and had to manage her own anger. Her behaviour further isolated her from her class peers, compounding her issues. Despite her meteor giving her advice that only she could hear, Liberty had to make the tough choices for herself. In the process she learnt that the differences between her and her peers was not as great as she thought.

This is a poignant story, which unfortunately many children would be able to relate to.

Title: The Year We Fell from Space
Author: Amy Sarig King
Illustrator: Nina Goffi
Publisher: Text, $16.99 
Publication Date: 5 November 2019 
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781922268853
For ages: 8+ 
Type: Middle Grade Fiction