Out of the Blue – Sophie Cameron

‘Another Being falls as we’re driving into Edinburgh. Not here – that would be lucky and luck doesn’t run in the Mackenzie family.’

out of the blue

When angels start falling from the sky, it seems like the world is ending. But for Jaya the world ended when her mother died, two weeks before the first angel fell.
Smashing down to earth at extraordinary speeds, wings bent, faces contorted, not a single angel has survived and, as the world goes angel crazy, Jaya’s father uproots the family to Edinburgh, intent on catching one alive. But Jaya can’t stand his obsession and, struggling to make sense of her mother’s sudden death and her own role on that fateful day, she’s determined to stay out of it. Then something extraordinary happens: an angel lands right at Jaya’s feet, and it’s alive…

 

What I thought

I really like the idea behind this, it’s a really good example of contemporary fiction with a touch of the supernatural. I wouldn’t class it as urban fantasy as that is normally about a hidden world and magic, this only has the slightest touch of supernatural with beings that are referred to as angels existing. And the whole world knows about them, but only because they are falling from the sky. Which makes complete sense, of course angels would only fall from the sky if there was something wrong with their wings, and if there is something wrong with their wings they would be unable to slow their descent and die; hitting the ground at maximum velocity. Looking at it logically like that it’s a fairly obvious idea and yet one I’ve never seen before.

The impact on the world and on individuals is a really interesting one. Some ultra religious people take it as proof that the Christian God is real, while others act as though humanity have done something wrong as heaven has clearly been closed, and another group do everything they can to try and catch/find an angel to make money as the feathers become a highly valued item. It is into this third group that Jaya’s father falls into. He starts to become obsessed with the angels and is determined to find one of his own. He becomes an anorak stalking every bit of information he can find on the internet about them and decides that the next place an angel will fall is Edinburgh and drags Jaya and her younger sister their over the summer holiday. Jaya believes he’s using the angels as a way of blocking out the grief from her mother dying a couple of weeks before the first angel fell.

The f/f relationship is a really nice one and grows from a friendship to more in a relatable way. You can imagine yourself watching these two fall for each other more, while Jaya can’t help but be distracted by her kind-of ex, where they had never officially named the ‘thing’ between them.

Love the relationship between the twins and the impact that Allie’s cystic fibrosis has on both of them, with her determined to do everything and never let it get her down while Calum is more cautious and watches for every small sign that Allie is getting worse. This is really realistic, when you’re the one with a condition you want to do everything you can to just get on with life and not let it hold you back from doing anything. You want to prove that it has no control over you. Whilst when it is someone else with the condition, especially someone you love, it hurts more. Cystic fib can be fatal and X almost doesn’t have to worry about that, yes this condition could kill her and nearly has done but it is Y who will have to live the rest of his life without his twin. It almost has more of an impact on him than it does her. This makes for a really interesting relationship between the two of them where neither one of them wants to properly acknowledge the elephant in the room and yet are still playing out the parts. You can tell that Y (Tom?) desperately cares for his sister and would do anything to ‘fix’ her and make her better while X just wants to be able to enjoy the time she has without cystic fib looming over her and getting in the way.

Teacake, the angel that Jaya finds, is almost incidental to this story. She’s the causation of a lot, and is the reason that the MC is in Edinburgh and meets X & Y. That doesn’t stop Teacake being a character in her own right who learns how to speak using the shipping forecast. But it’s quite similar to ET being hidden, we get to know and love her but she’s the reason for things happening rather than actively doing something. I enjoyed the fact that the supernatural aspect of this book with more coincidental than an active plot line. It was a really nice, different, way of dealing with it. Showing that even in worlds where angels fall they aren’t an immediate fix or perfect beings, they simply exist. Life continues, and so does normality. The angels become so much part of life, to the point that a large majority of the shows at the Edinburgh festival are dressing up and using them as a selling point.

Why I read it

I bought this as an emergency book. I finished ‘Leviathan Wakes’ on the train into work and realised with horror that my kindle wasn’t in my bag and that I had nothing else to read for the rest of the day. And as I commit my lunch hour and 45min commute to reading (at the time it was at least 1.5 hours due to the new timetable, which is better right now but still not good with my train often being the cancelled one) being without a book to read was a bad place to be. I went to the bookshop (which is adorably small) but as they didn’t have ‘Caliban’s War’, I looked over the YA and pulled this one off the shelf; mostly because it looked pretty. I had picked it up on previous occasions and then not bought it.
The idea of having a contemporary world with hints of supernatural and f/f really appealed to me.
So I bought it, ordered Caliban and then spent the rest of my lunch in the park, reading, as normal. (Normally I don’t start a new book on the same day I finish one unless they are part of the same series, to leave time between the different worlds. But when I finish it first thing in the morning? If I’d known I was going to finish it that early I would have brought another book with me that day but the last few pages were the beginning of the next book. I thought I had plenty left. )

Final thought

While the starting points of this book is the angels falling, it’s more about the consequences this has on the world and on Jaya and her family. This is a character book about love and grief, which was not something I was expecting when I started. It was a great twist on a normal supernatural book.
It’s a much slower pace than I’m used to and it was nice to have something different.

Would I recommend? Yes. A much gentler book than normal YA but still an emotional one.

Challenges

PopSugar: LGBTQ+ protagonist, favourite colour in the title, characters who are twins, published in 2018.

 

For a book that I picked at random because I was desperate I had great fun with it.
As always please leave a comment, it really means a lot to know that people are reading and enjoying my thoughts. I’ve gone past 1000 hits which is awesome and I never really thought it would happen.

Rea

P.S The next review is ‘Angels can’t swim’

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