BookBrowse Reviews Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron

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Out of the Blue

by Sophie Cameron

Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron X
Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron
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  • First Published:
    May 2018, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2019, 288 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Grace Symes
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A YA novel in which angels falling from the sky prompt a teenage girl and her family to rethink what they believe in and to face the truth.

What does it mean when angels start falling from the sky? Are they from heaven? Are they a sign? A blessing or a curse? Teenage Jaya, living in Britain, has just lost her mother when this begins to happen. For her father and sister, the angels represent a connection to her mother, a desperate hope of hearing from her from beyond the grave. But what do the angels mean to Jaya and the rest of the world? In her debut novel Out Of The Blue, Sophie Cameron creates a fantasy world filled with angels while simultaneously tackling vital life questions as Jaya narrates her experiences.

When angels, or Beings, begin falling to earth, they quickly inspire a legion of followers, including Jaya's dad. He obsessively gathers information and evidence about the Beings, convinced that they are a sign from Jaya's mother. He makes endless calculations and predictions, trying to find and save a Being in order to get answers. But not one of them has ever survived the fall to Earth. That is, until a Being crashes directly in front of Jaya, hurt but still breathing.

Unsure of what to do, she hides the Being away and names her Teacake. Worried about the strength of her father's obsession, Jaya keeps Teacake hidden from her family. With the help of two new friends, she sets about healing her in secret, determined to keep her safe and get her back to wherever she fell from.

As Jaya's father gets increasingly desperate in his hunt for a Being, Jaya hides Teacake right under his nose: "There is only one thing in the world that my father wants—and I have her hidden downstairs, sleeping on a table and listening to Radio 4." Instead of coming clean, Jaya distances herself and throws all her energy into protecting Teacake. And in healing Teacake, she begins to heal herself. The fear and guilt she has carried since her mother's death slowly begin to ease as she finds joy in helping restore Teacake's health.

This YA novel might be written in a straightforward style and intended for younger teens, but it doesn't shy away from the bigger questions about belief, religion, and symbolism. Out of the Blue instead faces them head on. The surreal events force the main characters to rethink their beliefs and reconsider their lives. Each character uses the Beings to confront their own fears and cope with loss.

"Sometimes, I imagine alternate endings to the story: touches of magic, last-minute miracles...one way or another, the crash always comes," Jaya thinks in the beginning. By the novel's end, we learn that it is possible to recover and rebuild from tragedy. Jaya begins to learn that loss does not always have to mean an ending.

Cameron's debut is a gratifying tale that successfully encompasses love, loss, and faith. The fairly simple language serves to make the novel feel frank and candid. Jaya's perspective is honest and engaging and allows readers to become attached to the characters. One can truly believe that this story is being narrated by a teenage girl.

As Jaya and Teacake grow and heal together, the novel follows their progress with a gentle compassion. Out Of The Blue is just as much an internal story about healing and finding peace within, as it is a story about angels that fall from the sky. The novel strikes a superb balance between external plot and internal progress that is sure to appeal to fans of YA fiction and fantasy.

Reviewed by Grace Symes

This review was originally published in The BookBrowse Review in June 2018, and has been updated for the August 2019 edition. Click here to go to this issue.

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