Where the sky lives

Margaret Dilloway

Book - 2022

Struggling with grief over her uncle's death, twelve-year-old amateur astronomer Tuesday Beals makes a discovery that could save her favorite astronomy spots in Zion National Park from the threat of a new housing development.

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jFICTION/Dilloway Margaret
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Action and adventure fiction
New York, NY : Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollinsPubishers [2022]
Main Author
Margaret Dilloway (author)
First edition
Physical Description
323 pages ; 22 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Tuesday lives in Zion National Park with her archaeologist mother, where her dearest pastime is stargazing with her mom and uncle Ezra on Hedges Ranch, the pristine land adjacent to the park. Then Tuesday's idyllic existence is shattered by a double blow: Ezra passes away, and the Hedges is purchased by a developer eager to turn it into a bustling neighborhood. Ezra leaves behind a cryptic poem, and Tuesday is certain that her scavenger hunt--loving uncle left it as a clue to a new archaeological site that could shut down the development and save her beloved Hedges. Tuesday is an immediately compelling protagonist, and the seemingly neurodivergent (sensitive to touch, struggles with metaphor and social cues) 12-year-old is given plenty of room to stretch and stumble while never losing sight of her values and identity. Dilloway, a former artist-in-residence at Zion, paints an intimate and affectionate portrait of the park in this stirring story that gracefully explores the complexity of grief, inevitability of change, and beauty of perseverance and love.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

As a former artist-in-residence at Zion National Park, Dilloway (Five Things About Ava Andrews) displays her deep love of Utah's landscapes in this introspective story. Twelve-year-old pale-skinned Tuesday is grieving the sudden death of her beloved uncle Ezra and fixated on the meaning of his riddle, the last gift he left her. His death has caused her tan-skinned mother Dana, an archeologist and park ranger, to withdraw into her work, leaving Tuesday longing for connection ("At least, I tell myself, we're together"). Their already tumultuous lives--plagued by furloughs and park overcrowding--are further unsettled when a company buying up a bordering preserve threatens to encroach on park land. With the help of a visiting social media celebrity, Tuesday is determined to stop the development and to solve Ezra's riddle. Tuesday's aversion to change, dislike of touch, literal interpretations, and heightened observational skills (" 'Have you been crying?' I blurt out") make for a detail-oriented narrative about learning to forge ahead in the face of uncertainty. Readers will feel like Tuesday's trusted confidante as she delves into the park's beauty, adventures, and secrets in this bighearted and leisurely paced novel. Ages 8--12. Agent: Patricia Nelson, Marsal Lyon Literary. (Mar.)

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Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 3--7--This heartwarming story follows Tuesday Beals as she works to save the preserved property surrounding Zion National Park, where she lives with her mother, the park's head archaeologist. Tuesday, who has light skin and dark hair, is an adventurous girl grieving the loss of her beloved uncle Ezra, who taught her about astronomy and conservation; now Tuesday finds herself trying to solve a riddle he left her right before he died. After picking up a discarded camera, Tuesday learns about photography and activism and, with her friend Carter, begins an Instagram campaign to save the property from becoming a residential development--and to preserve the ability to observe the stars. She learns about the positive and negative aspects of social media, and that things are not always as they appear. Throughout the story, readers learn about Zion National Park and meet many of its caregivers, from various scientists to the artist-in-residence, all of whom work passionately to preserve the parks. After Tuesday learns that she and her mother will be moving, she becomes more motivated to save the land and solve the riddle. All of this is interwoven with a sweet mother/daughter story that focuses on the positivity of friendships and how small steps can make a big difference. VERDICT A gentle novel especially suited to students interested in the environment, careers in conservation, or the national parks.--Christina Pesiri

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

A story of grief, growth, and perseverance set against the magnificence of Zion National Park. Twelve-year-old Tuesday loves living in the Utah wilderness with her archaeologist mother. Over the course of one unforgettable summer, with the help of an artist-in-residence, a local photographer, a social media celebrity, and her best friend, Tuesday learns to accept change while also fighting to find solutions to save the pristine land and solve the last puzzle left by her recently deceased uncle. Written by a former Zion National Park artist-in-residence, this novel showcases the natural beauty of the park throughout. Like Tuesday, who is known for communicating in a frank fashion, the writing is detailed and straightforward. While this observant perspective develops the setting, the writing can at times feel more expository than engaging. The story gets off to a slow start, but persistent readers will be rewarded with an emotionally compelling second act. Most characters default to White. Tuesday, who prefers not to be touched and has been told by adults to work on her emotional intelligence, may be intended to be neurodivergent. She was conceived via a sperm donor. The book discusses the Paiute and other Native American people who first inhabited the area as well as the settlers from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who enslaved them. A call to action and for acceptance wrapped in a love letter to a national park. (Fiction. 9-13) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.