WHEN THE SKY FELL ON SPLENDOR
Written by Emily Henry
Published by Razorbill, March 12, 2019
My star rating: 4 stars
Almost everyone in the small town of Splendor, Ohio, was affected when the local steel mill exploded. If you weren’t a casualty of the accident yourself, chances are a loved one was. That’s the case for seventeen-year-old Franny, who, five years after the explosion, still has to stand by and do nothing as her brother lies in a coma.
In the wake of the tragedy, Franny found solace in a group of friends whose experiences mirrored her own. The group calls themselves The Ordinary, and they spend their free time investigating local ghost stories and legends, filming their exploits for their small following of YouTube fans. It’s silly, it’s fun, and it keeps them from dwelling on the sadness that surrounds them.
Until one evening, when the strange and dangerous thing they film isn’t fiction–it’s a bright light, something massive hurdling toward them from the sky. And when it crashes and the teens go to investigate…everything changes. Find it on Goodreads
I’m not going to lie – the first thing that caught my attention with this book was the cover – look at it! It’s amazing! Instantly gave me The Goonies and Stranger Things vibes…. but with a space ship! LOL! And that’s kind of what happened. But then I noticed that it was written by Emily Henry and I got even more excited! So many bloggers have been talking about her and I’ve been wanting to read one of her books and learn what all the hype was about. I get it now.
There was something to strangely urgent about the situation. Which is something that I really appreciated. This was a strange book! In a good way though! But the situation that they were in was just strange all around. These characters were out doing video for their YouTube channel at an abandoned house that belonged to a man that was said to have murdered people there. Then something fell from the sky, there was a bright light, they all had scars, the earth was scorched in a strange pattern, and animals were acting weird. On top of that, these characters were dealing with the loss of family members and an onset of strange abilities…….See, a LOT going on! But the way that it was written kept me interested the whole time. I don’t usually like a book that doesn’t consistently give answers. I hate being left in the dark and having a ton of questions. But it was written in a way that didn’t add questions per say. Bits of information and side plots were intertwined and made you consider the story in a different way. Things were added bit by bit, constantly making this book grow larger. And the whole time I was reading, I was wondering what they were going to do next and what was going to happen!
I will say though, I was a little put off by the characters in the beginning. I felt that the author was trying too hard to make each character vastly different from the next, and I felt that she was trying too hard to make the characters funny. But – I realized why this was. YES – these characters were VERY different! In the real world, they might never have been friends as there was no common ground. And YES – the characters were trying to be too funny…… but there was a reason for this. A town wide tragedy at the mill where a lot of the town worked, took many lives and injured many others. This group of friends came together in the midst of that tragedy and found a commonality within their grief. Their grief was also the reason for their over the top humour. So much of their lives was spent focusing on loss that, in an attempt to crawl out from under that weight, they used humour as a mask. In the end, I ended up really relating to them and their insecurities, and their humour is what made these characters great.
I really liked the story line of the aliens and a government cover up. I don’t know why I enjoy stuff like this so much, but I do! The video camera was still rolling during the event in question and went viral. They found themselves getting contacted by people who had claimed they experienced the same thing and that they should be careful. This was probably my favourite aspect of this book and I wish it was a little more prevalent through the whole thing.
The ending was unexpected and, in my own opinion, beautiful. I know that there will probably be some people out there that won’t like it. The book sets the reality up to be something completely different than what it is. But – I really feel like it gave closure, finality, and peace. I can’t say more (because – spoilers) but I really enjoyed it and I didn’t think I would!
In the end I am SO happy to have experienced this author FINALLY! I loved all of the elements, the characters, the pacing, and more. Though I wish there was a little more information about the characters families, and just a little more closure on the town tragedy, this was still a very entertaining and thrilling novel! I will DEFINITELY be reading more from this author!
Thank you so much to Penguin Canada and Razorbill for the chance to read this in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own and are uninfluenced.
Until next time, happy reading!