Infinite Sky

Book review by
Barbara Schultz, Common Sense Media
Infinite Sky Book Poster Image
Compelling tale of first love, violent fractured family.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Teen readers will learn about the lives of "travelers," families that live on the road, parking their caravans for a while and then moving on to the next encampment.

Positive Messages

Love means more than blame.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Infinite Sky is populated with complex characters -- many with excellent qualities -- but none of them constitutes a great role model. Though she deceives her parents, Iris is probably the best, as she values the travelers on their own merits, without prejudice.
 

Violence

There's lots of teen-on-teen fighting, including graphic descriptions of incidents wherein a knife or brick is used as a weapon. There's also some backstory about a man battering his wife and pulling her by the hair.

Sex

Warm feelings grow between teens in a budding romance. The teens kiss and hug. Another teen girl says she wants to be the first in her class to have sex, but she doesn't have a boyfriend.

Language

"F--k" is used in anger a few times. Other potentially offensive words include "crap," "scrotum," "s--t," "prick," and "dickhead."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens and adults drink beer and hard liquor (vodka, whiskey), and smoke cigarettes. A 13-year-old girl is given hot cocoa with brandy during a hard emotional time.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Infinite Sky is a young adult novel about teens coping after their mother leaves their father to see the world. Iris, 13, and her brother, Sam, 15, are bereft, and their father, Thomas, feels lost and inept when they act out. Thomas drinks excessively, as does Sam. Thomas also takes out his frustration on the Irish travelers who have settled in a lot adjacent to the family's farm; he and others are prejudiced against travelers and want them evicted. Tensions in the family, and between families, result in extreme violence, including fistfights and the use of a knife and a brick as weapons. Adults and teens smoke cigarettes and use some foul language ("s--t," "f--k," "crap," "scrotum," "dickhead," "prick"). Teens kiss in the book; the very mild sexual activity is one of this novel's most innocent and endearing qualities.

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What's the story?

INFINITE SKY details the troubled actions of two teens and their father after their mother/his wife leaves the family. Thirteen-year-old Iris can't stand the excessive attentions of "concerned" friends and only feels comfortable in the company of a teen boy whose family of Irish travelers has temporarily settled in the vacant lot next to her family's farm. Iris's brother, Sam, falls in with some violent thugs, and he and the kids' father, Thomas, take their anger and frustrations out on the travelers. As Iris and her traveler boyfriend, Trick, grow closer, tensions mount between their families, and Iris ends up caught in the middle when everything explodes.

Is it any good?

C.J. Flood's debut novel, Infinite Sky, is an emotionally compelling story of first love and family tension. Iris' shy feelings about Trick are relatable and sweet, especially set against all the pain and violence in her life.

Flood's writing is long on details, and she perhaps overdoes it a bit, especially in the last quarter of the book, but the characters have lots of heart, and the story takes a refreshingly complex view of right and wrong.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about family breakups. How does Infinite Sky compare with other books you've read about families breaking up? 

  • Is the violence in Infinite Sky important to the story or is it over the top?

  • Why is Thomas so set against the Irish travelers? Why is it so important to him for Iris to side with him?

Book details

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