Gema is an 18-year old from Miami, FL. She loves reading and writing young adult fiction and claims to pass out in the presence of sterile wit.
300 pages, Sea Turtle Publishing, $20.95
“Sadness is a cloak that covers our heart, but it can never extinguish love.”
Butterfly woman turned queen, Rhiana (wife of King Muraten), secretly visits Zella, from the ancient seer Tribe of Zaren, in hopes of obtaining her help in conceiving a child. In order to save her own future daughter from a cruel husband, Zella agrees to help only if Queen Rhiana offers her first born to marry the prince of the Rugu tribe instead. Desperate for a child and ignorant about the future Zella has seen, the queen agrees.
Then there’s Kaela Neuleaf. She’s a thirteen year old red head who’s not afraid to stand up to a malicious classmate to defend her cousin, and best friend, Shawn. She loves her father despite his recent emotional withdrawal. She’s also willing to venture into the unknown in order to save a baby that she doesn’t know. However, Kaela Neuleaf isn’t perfect. Two years after her mother’s death, Kaela has bursts of tempers, daydreams about the sky and fantasies about finding out something special and supernatural about herself. After a series of eccentric events, she finds a butterfly pendant and her deceased mother’s diary that reads: “When you go through the hole in the sky, stay only as long as absolutely necessary.”
When a wizzen, tiny beings that can travel through the hole in the Sky, shows up in Kaela’s bedroom, she and her cousin are whisked away to another world, where they’re waiting for the arrival of the red haired girl.
The Hole in the Sky is just the first in a trilogy and needs to be on everyone’s shelf. Although written for the readers between ages eight and thirteen, anyone who’s struggled with loss and grief can relate to Kaela’s journey. Interestingly enough, this book was inspired by the September 11th tragedy. What I found particularly remarkable is that Barbara A. Mahler is able to demonstrate the power of love without sacrificing the characters’ adventures or personalities. Grief has affected Kaela with the death of her mother. Even though she risks her life in this new world, the real adventure is in overcoming grief, fears and allowing love into her heart. When we hear about “the power of love”, the stereotypical image of hippies and peace and love signs usually come to mind but that is not the case in this book. The Hole in the Sky is able to teach us about the dangers of a hardened heart and the benefits of love without having Kumbaya playing in the background.
I read this book from cover to cover in the span of a few hours. I felt like I was cheating myself of Kaela and her new extraordinary and supernatural friends whenever I put it down to eat. This book doesn’t contain an extraneous word or a boring scene. The story flows from page to page like a beautiful clear stream. In the end, I still craved for more of Kaela Neuleaf and her cousin Shawn. Thankfully, Barbara A. Mahler is working on the second book in the trilogy. In the meantime, I recommend you pass by your local bookstore and explore the hole in the Sky.
New FTC guidelines say that I must mention if I received a book I’m giving a thumbs up to for free or not. So for the record, all the books that I’ve reviewed/will review were given to me for free for the purpose of reviewing. I judge a book on its literary content and not on how well I know, or don’t know, the author. Essentially, I am here to tell you, the reader, if I think a book is worth your time and money or not. Until (if ever) the FTC realizes the error in assuming that blog-reviewers are less honest than newspaper reviewers, this disclaimer will appear in all of my upcoming book reviews.