The Towering Sky: The Thousandth Floor, Book 3

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
The Towering Sky: The Thousandth Floor, Book 3 Book Poster Image
Mystery series finale is a little less everything.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Meant to entertain, not educate.

Positive Messages

Real life has no endings, only moments of change. You never know what's coming, so you have to take the bad with the good, take chances, trust people. Things are always changing, but maybe that's a good thing. Just keep moving forward as best you can. It's no use running away from something you'll have to face eventually. Small choices, even ones that seem insignificant, sometimes build on themselves until they become something big that dominates your whole life.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Teen characters model good and bad behaviors: Rylin, who works to support herself, her younger sister; Watt, who uses a computer to figure out what people want to hear; Avery and Atlas, adopted siblings in a romantic relationship. As the series comes to an end, most characters grow up enough to start making better decisions about their lives and learn to stop running from problems. Adults, parents are mostly absent or too preoccupied with their own lives to be much help to the teens.

Violence

Dominant themes include an apparent suicide and two murders, mostly in context of main characters coping emotionally in the aftermath. A murder investigation by police involves several main characters as possible suspects. The deaths are frequently mentioned, along with attacks, drowning, and non-gory mentions of blood. 

Sex

Lots of kissing and light making out described briefly. A couple of times sex is implied but not directly narrated. Adopted siblings are in love, increasingly unable to suppress their desire for each other and hide their feelings from others. Undressing down to underwear mentioned. A couple of same-sex relationships are not a big deal.

Language

"Bulls--t," "s--t," "a--hole," and "boobs."

Consumerism

A few luxury brands establish location and character.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Legal drinking age is 18 in this future setting. Some characters are of age, some are 16 or 17. Drinking at parties and nightclubs mentioned. Past drinking to the point of blackout mentioned. A character in recovery plays beer pong with lemonade and struggles with using drugs again. Teens use a made-up device for delivering drugs called "halluci-lighters." Two teens smoke a marijuana-serotonin blend at school during lunch. It's implied that a group of teens at a party is looking for a discreet place to do drugs.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Towering Sky is the last of the popular The Thousandth Floor trilogy of mysteries set among glamorous, ultra-wealthy teens in the year 2119. The many characters exhibit good and bad behaviors, and most mature by the end into decent people capable of making better decisions for themselves. Alcohol and drug use are mentioned a few times but not described directly. Lots of kissing and light making out is described briefly; one romantic relationship involves adopted siblings, and a couple of same-sex relationships aren't remarkable in this future setting. Murder and suicide as central plot elements mean attacks, death, drowning, falling from a skyscraper, and blood are frequently mentioned, but there's no gore or detailed descriptions. Teens use a made-up device to inhale drugs called a "halluci-lighter." Swearing is rare and includes "s--t," "bulls--t," and "a--hole."

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What's the story?

In THE TOWERING SKY, teens Avery, Leda, Rylin, and Watt are still reeling both from their friend Eris' death and from the shocking events at the gala party in Dubai a few months ago. And they're still trying to hold on to their own, and one another's, deepest secrets. But when the police open a murder investigation into the death of Mariel, the air starts to get a little thin for the teens circulating in New York's highest society. How long can they keep things under wraps?

Is it any good?

This third and final series installment is not quite as compelling or suspenseful as the first two in the series. Maybe that's because by now, the structure of The Towering Sky seems pretty familiar, and so do the characters. That being said, there's still an intriguing whodunit element with a surprising resolution.

The Towering Sky also concentrates more on the characters as they reach maturity, and teens will relate to and enjoy rooting for Avery, Leda, Watt, Rylin, and even Calliope as their perspectives broaden and they learn the hard way how to make better choices for themselves. They still inhabit an intriguing vision of the future, with all the cool tech and luxurious lifestyles that go along with it, but it's less glamorous this time. The kids are learning that there are no trappings or gadgets that can make things right when you've wronged yourself and others.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about alcohol and drug use in The Towering Sky. Is it glamorized? Are there consequences? 

  • How does this book compare with others in the series? 

  • What about the sexy stuff? Is it realistic, or glamorized? Which couples model healthy relationships? What's wrong with the ones that don't?

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