Between Sea and Sky


Nat has no wish to join his mother at sea. For starters it’s an alien world with possible poisons. Yet more than that, he’s his hidden treasure, the strange creatures he’s discovered beneath Billy Crier’s windmill. Nat knows that these are illegal and risk his and his mother’s futures.

Yet at sea, aboard the narrowboat, Pearl has her own reasons to reject the arrival of the ‘landlubbers’. Not only are there harbour porpoises visiting about the boats, but she and her family have a huge secret. Clover is a forbidden second child, shielded from the world, but now desperate to venture out, go to school and then welcome Nat and Sora. Furthermore, Pearl holds the land responsible for the loss of her mother.

Is it possible that these two might work together to reason their world, a world full of rules and restrictions, with a lurking prison ship of terror monitoring land and sea? After all, this generation need hope, if not strange creatures and porpoises, what else might they discover? Is it possible that sharing their secrets and then revealing them, offers a real chance of recovery after years of suffering from the Hunger caused by a climate crisis?

Between Sea and Sky is an outstanding novel. Not only is it possible and thoroughly well researched and considered, but the feelings that Nicola Penfold imagines for her characters and then ignites within us, are real and hurting.

Bookwagon urges intelligent, thoughtful, enquiring readers to choose Between Sea and Sky. This is a reasoned, compassionate and urgent novel that needs to be read, shared and acted upon.

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Between Sea and Sky

Nicola Penfold

(Little Tiger)

Nat knows there will be penalties if he’s caught on Billy Crier’s windmill. He and his friends check the board of ‘civil disobedience’ that lists families that have erred. However there is little to do in truth, except wait until an inevitable future in the Edible Uplands’ growing tower. Therefore when he chances upon something living, unexpected and obviously illegal, he is keen to investigate further. Unfortunately his discovery coincides with a huge change. It seems his mother’s been commissioned to investigate the sea as a place of Recovery.
However the sea is home to Pearl and Clover. What’s more they have a secret too, and it’s the younger sister, an illegal second child, who is overjoyed at the opportunity of change aboard their narrowboat. Yet Clover does not remember their mother, nor harbour thoughts that it was the land that poisoned her. Therefore, Pearl is hostile to the new arrivals. Thereafter, she’s curious about the secret box that Nat carries, while he is completely ‘at sea’ in this water world of secrets, porpoises, molluscs and sea glass.
Nicola Penfold took the reading world by storm with Where the World Turns Wild. Like that glorious novel, Between Sea and Sky considers the state of our world and thereafter projects us to a time after the Hunger. Therefore, we experience the world through Nat and Pearl’s eyes, turn by turn, each living through the cataclysmic effects of climate destruction, while hoping for some sign of life and regrowth. Our hearts and minds are full of longing for them, and therefore, awareness of our own precarious state…
Between Sea and Sky is a magnificent, empathetic, informed and challenging novel. Bookwagon recommends this title to all intelligent, curious, committed middle grade readers and adults.


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