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Dear Blue Sky Hardcover – August 2, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-8–Cassie's world started falling apart even before her brother left for Iraq, her family fragile and a friendship broken, but the seventh grader finds some healing in correspondence with a young female Iraqi blogger whose world has been destroyed in much more devastating ways.α(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review

"The complexity of war is a challenge in a book for middle-schoolers, but Sullivan gets it right. Cassie's family, honest and hurting, behaves in ways disjointed, unpredictable, and also occasionally heroic. . . . Just as in war, Cassie finds there are no easy answers." — The Horn Book

"Effectively captures the messiness of life in a loving family, when outside-world events intervene. Through it all, Cassie discovers her own strengths and rallies everyone around her. . . . A compassionate portrait of a family struggling with painful changes." — Kirkus Reviews

"Effectively sketches Cassie's growing confusion as she learns more and cultivates a more balanced view of the war. . . . Doesn't sugarcoat how hard things are for Cassie's family on the home front, yet captures the resilience and hope that keeps them going." — Publishers Weekly

“Absorbing. . . . Shows how being forced to face the deadly realities of war can deepen a teenager’s understanding of life. . . . Cassie discovers both a dark truth about the world and a way to appreciate her own life.” — The New York Times Book Review

“Both timely and timeless. . . . The struggles that Cassie goes through are applicable to any era. Sullivan’s prose allows us to feel the bittersweet acceptance and love each family member has for the others, and we leave feeling the same for Cassie as she must feel for her brother: hope for her future well-being and the joy of living in the present.”

“Sullivan’s first novel for younger readers bears her trademark spare delivery, a good choice for Cassie’s tension-filled life. Fully dimensional characterizations bring depth to the story as Cassie matures and begins to understand the hard truths.” — Booklist

“Works on many levels. . . . Cassie is strong and level-headed. . . . Hand this to readers who are interested in family dynamics and who understand what it’s like to send a loved one to war.” — Library Media Connection
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books (August 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399256849
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399256844
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,625,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Annie on August 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just finished Dear Blue Sky and loved it! I could not put it down. While I always felt bad for the soldiers fighting for our country, I never thought about the affect it would have on Iraq. This book is highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Hoodie Sullivan on September 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although Dear Blue Sky is written for young adults, it is an excellent book for all over twelve. Any situation is helped by listening to the other side. Ms. Sullivan has done this beautifully . How else will we ever have peace in our beautiful world?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Frank on November 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I like to read the books my daughter is reading so we can have discussions and I can see some of what she is learning. I thought this book was extremely well written and was surprised to learn it was the author's first novel for young people. It is both accessible to younger readers and challenging on topics where most early teens are not challenged - distinctly looking at different cultural perspectives in a way many adults fail to do. It was difficult for me to put down!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Small Press Picks on October 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I got pulled right into this book, and I love how Cassie forms a meaningful connection with someone whose life might seem so distant from her own under other circumstances. Despite all the difficulties Cassie and her family face, the book really gave me hope--something we could all use in these difficult times. Also, I could see this as a book that parents and kids might enjoy reading together and discussing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Audrey on October 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This made me think about the way different people view the same event. I wanted to find out what happened. I like Cassie and cared about Blue Sky. It was interesting to see the war from the viewpoint of a kid. This is way better than most of the books kids have to read for school.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Samantha McManus on October 23, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Cassie's family may have seemed a little crazy before, but it begins to unravel when her older brother Sef joins the marines and is shipped off to Iraq during the worst part of the war. Her mother spirals out of control, flirting with her best friend's dad, drinking way too much wine, and taking pills to relax her. Her younger brother Jack, who has Down's syndrome, talks about nothing but going off to join Sef and help him fight the war, until he just stops talking at all. Her older sister Van begins drinking to impress a boyfriend she is barely hanging on to. Her father throws himself into his work and is never home. Cass can barely breathe. All she thinks about is her brother dying in Iraq, that's all her family thinks about too. Then, her social studies teacher assigns her class an assignment. They must find and read a blog from someone in another country who is close to their age, and learn about that person's life experiences. Cass discovers Blue Sky, a girl living in Iraq as the war wages. Through Blue Sky, Cassie learns more about the dangers of the war but also begins to feel closer to her brother Sef. Throughout the novel, Cassie and her classmates are also reading The Giver by Lois Lowery and begin questioning how free they actually are and consider a world without memories, color, and experience. Cassie wonders if it would be easier to live with no memories of Sef or if those memories can help her and her family find some sort of normalcy while Sef is away. A good story about the effects of war and loss, told from two different points of view, that relates the damage that war can do to families both in and outside the fighting zone. Good for grades 7 and up.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on October 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I just read it ... couldn't put it down. Family goes through hard situations but wonderful story... great writing. I was taken back to the time my brothers were in the Vietnam war. Great read for anyone! Thanks so much for sharing the challenges felt by families on both sides of a war.
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Format: Paperback
Cassie enjoys 7th grade and running with her older brother Sef. When he joins the Marines and goes to Iraq, her family begins to fall apart. Her mother distances herself by taking pills and drinking, her autistic little brother Jack has suddenly stopped talking, her father tries his best to keep everyone together while her older sister Van begins drinking and rebelling. Cassie feels like her world is ending, missing the comfort of talking with Sef while also missing her best friend who is angry at her and not speaking.

When her Social Studies teacher gives an assignment of locating a blog written by someone in another country, Cassie finds Blue Sky’s blog. Blue Sky is a young Iraqi girl who tells Cassie a different story about the war in Iraq. As Cassie learns more about the war from Blue Sky’s point of view, and the hardships suffered by ordinary Iraqis, she begins to change her own feelings about the war. Cassie is torn, as she wants to support her brother, but feels having American soldiers in Iraq are causing more problems than they’re solving. Her feelings of confusion threaten to overwhelm her, but Jack becomes the anchor in her life and helps her realize what she needs to do to keep going.

Mature elementary and middle school readers, especially those with military family members in Iraq, will learn much from Cassie and Blue Sky. They, too, will draw strength from their experiences.
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