YA Review: Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron

out of the blue.pngFirstly, you should definitely read this book. It is awesome. And look at that lovely cover. Assuming, however, that you might want some more details and not just a vigorous but vague recommendation, here’s why.

Sophie Cameron combines two wildly different storylines to brilliant effect. On the one hand, you have the relatively familiar YA trope of a teenage girl, Jaya, mourning dead parent and LGBT themes. On the other, Jaya’s story takes place against a very original backdrop; as angels start falling from the sky, doomsday cults and fantasists all over the world get really excited, including Jaya’s dad, who drags his kids to Edinburgh to try to catch one. What nobody counts on is that it’s cynic Jaya who finds and saves a fallen angel.

 

I loved the diverse themes and plotlines of Out of the Blue; the supernatural/spiritual aspect of the book gives it something completely different to anything else I’ve read, especially in YA. It reminded me a little bit of Aliette de Bodard’s The House of Shattered Wings, which I also loved. It’s really refreshing to read something so beautifully strange, and Sophie Cameron’s writing is more than up to the task of matching this, managing to convey a convincing voice for a teenage girl while also creating some extremely highlight-worthy sentences.

The fact that the book is set in Edinburgh only added to my enjoyment; I’ve been a few times and it’s a city that I love, which is always a big advantage when the setting features ┬áso prominently. If you’ve never been, Out of the Blue will definitely make you want to. It’s set during the Edinburgh festival too, adding a tangible sense of creativity and chaos. Something else I liked: with big fantasy premises, I feel like writers either need a watertight explanation for events (which is often attempted but rarely achieved) or they just need to basically say “this is happening. Don’t ask why: the characters don’t know so you don’t need to either.” Here, Sophie Cameron seems to opt for the second option, and, rather than creating any sense of frustration, it all adds to the magic and mystery of the book.

Overall, I thought Out of the Blue was superb and I can’t wait for it to come out so other readers will experience its wonder too. I’ve already started bigging it up to my students and I’m writing this in November. Cameron is a really talented writer (as well as being extremely nice on Twitter) and I’m looking forward to seeing what she writes next.

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