When the sky fell on Splendor

Emily Henry

Book - 2019

Seventeen-year-old Franny and her friends, The Ordinary, fill their time in traumatized Spendor, Ohio, filming their investigations of local legends for YouTube, but when they investigate a cosmic event, everything changes.

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Genres
Magic realist fiction
Science fiction
Novels
Published
[New York] : Razorbill [2019]
Language
English
Physical Description
340 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780451480712
0451480716
Main Author
Emily Henry (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

From Henry, one of YA's preeminent voices (A Million Junes, 2017), comes another exquisite, genre-bending novel. Five years after a deadly explosion at the local steel mill devastated the small town of Splendor, Ohio, six unlikely friends are still united by their shared grief. As "The Ordinary," the group films amateur ghost-hunting videos and posts them online. They stumble onto actual supernatural phenomena when they encounter a being made of light who imbues each of them with a strange power. As the most directly affected by the being, Frances bears the burden of the most power: she can control anything that runs on electricity. Six main characters make for a large cast, but each voice is distinct and nuanced. Fast-paced and intricately plotted, the story rockets toward an unexpected, sublime conclusion. Though resting comfortably in sf, it becomes clear in the end that this book is about so much more. Topics like theoretical astrophysics, existentialism, and empathy will resonate with inquisitive readers. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 6 Up—Calling themselves "The Ordinary," 17-year-old Franny and her friends form a tight-knit bond over their shared experiences of losing family and friends because of Splendor's steel mill explosion five years earlier. To keep their minds off the sadness surrounding them, the Ordinary spend their time investigating abandoned sites, writing and performing scripts based loosely on local ghost legends, then posting them for their small but loyal group of YouTube followers. But everything changes the night silver lights pulse across the sky. The teens' camera captures the image of a bright light, something massive hurtling down from the sky. When it crashes, curiosity overcomes fear, and they cautiously draw closer to the crash site, vowing to pursue the truth. Telekinetic powers? Crop circles? Menacing birds? An alien being that seems to invade Franny's body? Fraught with both hidden and not-so-hidden darkness, this plot has them all, and readers will be drawn to this fast-paced page-turner. Henry has crammed plenty of atmospheric, small-town spookiness into her book. VERDICT Teens who enjoy films like E.T., Stand by Me, and The Goonies and those who devour quirky TV series like Stranger Things and Riverdale will be drawn to this novel. A worthwhile purchase for YA collections.—Cheryl Blevens, Cunningham Memorial Library, Indiana State University Copyright 2019 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Struggling to cope in the years after a steel mill explosion injures a large number of people in their small town, a group of teens investigate local ghost stories before the appearance of a mysterious light in the sky causes them to manifest strange powers. By the author of A Million Junes. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Seventeen-year-old Franny and her friends, The Ordinary, fill their time in traumatized Spendor, Ohio, filming their investigations of local legends for YouTube, but when they investigate a cosmic event, everything changes.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

"Exciting, heartbreaking, and far from ordinary." --KirkusEmily Henry is "one of YA's preeminent voices....an exquisite, genre-bending novel. --BooklistThe Serpent King meets Stranger Things in Emily Henry's gripping novel about a group of friends in a small town who find themselves dealing with unexpected powers after a cosmic event.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 hurtling toward them from the sky. And when it crashes and the teens go to investigate...everything changes.