The Sky So Heavy is a post apocalyptic story set in New South Wales in Australia. This is the first post apoc I've read set Down Under and it was a nice change of pace, to see what a disaster of nuclear proportions might look like from the Aussie perspective. Fin is a teenager who is forced to survive the onset of nuclear winter when an unnamed country launches a missile strike and everything changes.
I really enjoyed this book. Fin is likable- to a point- and he has an impossible task trying to take care of his younger brother Max when his father leaves and doesn't come back. Fin's parents are split up- his mother works for the government and is apparently in Sydney when the disaster strikes, and his father follows his girlfriend Kara when she leaves abruptly. Presumably he planned on returning, but he never does. As the nuclear winter descends Fin and Max are on their own in a world changed beyond recognition.
Fin eventually finds Lucy, the girl he has fallen for, and together with another school mate they set out to find Fin's mother. Society has begun to break down, of course, with people resorting to more and more desperate measures to find food and stay alive. Lucy and Fin provide the one bit of hope in the story, as they continue to get to know each other amidst the chaos. Lucy has to make a tough decision- does she stay with her family or go with Fin, to try their luck in the city, and I felt for her as she made this wrenching decision.
This story in the end was a bit depressing, if I'm being honest, but at the same time there were moments that were strangely uplifting and empowering. You know the odds are stacked against Fin and Lucy from the outset but you desperately want them to succeed, and to be honest my favorite moments were probably the quiet moments, when the two of them were just together and hoping for the future. This is the kind of book that also makes you think- what would you do to survive? Would you steal from someone- or worse- if that was the only way for you to eat, or protect your loved ones? Thought provoking stuff.
No electricity, very little food, a government that realizes there aren't enough resources so they transition from serving the people to harshly deciding who lives and who doesn't- pretty heady stuff. And there are some surprises along the way that make you wonder- even if and when you reach your goal, or find your missing people- what happens next? And how does surviving the end of the world change you?
Lucy was a great character- easily a favorite- and there was an underlying sense of tension throughout. It's also a quick read, with short chapters that handle the passing of time well. I thought it was realistic the way life changed with no power, and with neighbors turning on each other, in some cases- not everyone does- and there was also a nice examination of faith and how it holds up or is challenged when the world is literally disintegrating around you. Faith can sustain hope but not everyone has, or wants, faith and I thought the subject was handled very well.
All in all this was a solid read. Thought provoking, a little chilling, it had me on the edge of my seat hoping that Fin and Lucy were going to make it. And I loved how it ended. A solid read.