Iris Dancy’s free-spirited mum has left for Tunisia, her dad’s rarely sober and her brother’s determined to fight anyone with a pair of fists.
When a family of travellers move into the overgrown paddock overnight, her dad looks set to finally lose it. Gypsies are parasites he says, but Iris is intrigued. As her dad plans to evict the travelling family, Iris makes friends with their teenage son. Trick Deran is a bare knuckle boxer who says he’s done with fighting, but is he telling the truth?
When tools go missing from the shed, the travellers are the first suspects. Iris’s brother, Sam, warns her to stay away from Trick; he’s dangerous, but Iris can no longer blindly follow her brother’s advice. He’s got secrets of his own, and she’s not sure he can be trusted himself.
Infinite Sky is a family story about betrayal and loyalty, and love.
Infinite Sky is a beautiful book that is written so wonderfully by C.J. Flood! The descriptors are very lush and I found myself daydreaming of kicking back in the countryside.
The characters are brilliant, but I found main character Iris to be the perfect teenager. I adored her journey through love, loss, discovery and finding herself along the way. Each page pours with a different sort of emotion and I really felt everything.
The storyline is quite a simple one but there in lies the beauty - you see these things could very easily happen to any one of us (directly or indirectly), so it makes for a really down-to earth and believable read that I enjoyed form start to finish.
Iris and her big brother Sam are left living with their dad after their mum takes off. Their dad is stressed and is desperately trying to hold things together, but when a bunch of travellers roll in to stay in front of their farm - things get heated.
Iris ends up secretly meeting up with one of the Gypsy boys (Trick) and the pair really do hit it off! But their secret haven in the corn fields can't stay secret forever.....
The ending is very emotional but really well handled. I couldn't help but feel sad but angry and frustrated at the same time. I think accidents like this happen all too often when things are taken too far and it's really quite upsetting the way society has changed!
I think Infinite Sky is a fantastic book that touches on a lot of tough topics that are very real to teens. It is filled with emotion and fabulous characters that will make you smile. I could very easily recommend this book!
4 / 5 Stars!
*Special thanks to Simon & Schuster for the review copy*
The Joy of Reviews…
The most nerve-wracking element of publishing a book, is wondering whether or not people are going to like it. The fact that you have gotten a deal with a big publisher convinces you your book must be good for about a minute, but the feeling soon fades. You begin to suspect that they got it wrong. That they took a gamble on a dodgy horse. That you are the dodgy horse.
Reviews are important not only as a gauge of what the reception for your book might be, but also in letting readers know about your book at all. Letting them know whether or not it is something they should spend their money on/downloading illegally, as the case may be. (The former please, guys!)
Young adult books don’t get a lot of coverage in the National papers. This is a fact much-spouted, and one that I repeated to myself often in preparation for Infinite Sky’s release date. I repeated it to myself almost as much as I wished to have big, gushing reviews in all the newspapers.
I was to be lucky. The first one came in on the day of hardback publication, Valentine’s Day. It was from Martin Chilton at The Telegraph, and was glowing. He called Infinite Sky “a powerful and impressive debut” and gave it four stars. I was ill with a chest infection, and hadn’t been out of the house for days, but I cheered up entirely when I saw that.
Next was the Guardian, a few days later. This was especially meaningful to me, as the Guardian got me through my many years as a surly waitress. The highlight of every shift at work was pouring a *large* gin and tonic, and gathering with the kitchen staff at the end of the bar to do the Everyman Crossword. So when I received a text from my agent saying “check out rave review in the Guardian” I was a l i t t l e excited.
Simon Mason, author of Moon Pie, gave Infinite Sky a review so generous I have to resist framing it daily. He empathised with my characters as much as I do, seeing ‘gentle’ Trick as ‘unlucky enough to know more about fighting than he should’, Dad as ‘bewildered’, Sam as ‘unsettled’, and Iris as ‘touchingly ready to meet the world with curiosity and hope’.
The review coverage has surpassed my expectations. After these early reviews, it has been picked as The Times Children’s Book of the Week, included in a round-up of books in the Daily Mail, and appeared in a Top Five summer reads on TV in Ireland. Bloggers have been kind too, including it in various top ten lists, writing insightful reviews, and running competitions.
One of the reasons for this, except the book being excellent (obvs) is down to my wonderful team at Simon and Schuster, and especially my publicist, Catherine Ward. She tweeted me photos of bespoke Infinite Sky parcels that she was sending to all of the influential children’s and adults’ newspapers and magazines; beautiful, hand-wrapped packages that summed up the feeling of the book, and must have made whoever opened them feel lucky and special. And remember the book.
I expect at some point in my career I will stop caring what people say about my books, and focus on the writing alone. Reviewers have been kind this time, but it won’t always be this way. It is unlikely that my novels will gradually get objectively better for the rest of my career. (Or is it? Fingers crossed!)
Either way, I look forward to this healthier, less narcissistic time wholeheartedly. A time when I will be so experienced, professional and balanced that I no longer find myself half-consciously clicking Next in a Google Search of my name and relevant book title.
Until then, it’s Infinite Sky C J Flood, click.