Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Crack in the Sky

A Crack in the Sky

Mark Peter Hughes
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Random House, 2010   ISBN: 978-0385737081

For thirteen years Eli Papadopoulos has had a charmed life. He has never been hungry or thirsty, he has never had to experience what it is like to live outside the comfortable world that he calls home. Though most of the planet is an arid scorching desert, Eli is one of the precious few who lives in a dome-city where food, water, and cool air is plentiful. His grandfather founded InfiniCorp, the company that built the cities and maintains them. InfiniCorp also controls every aspect of the lives of the people who live in the cities.

Though Eli should be happy with his life he is not. Something feels wrong. He has noticed that the artificial sky that covers the interior of the Providence dome-city is malfunctioning. The dome is also not as cool as it used to be. When Eli asks his family members about these problems, they tell him that there is nothing to worry about. In their opinion he should be focusing on his studies and not seeing problems where there are none.

Then Outsiders, people who live in the wasteland outside of the dome-cities, start contacting Eli. They tell him that he is being lied to, that everyone in the dome-cities is being deceived. The residents of the dome-cities have been told that the planet is repairing itself, and that someday things will go back to the way they were. The truth is that the planet is getting hotter. The seas and oceans are acidifying, and plants and animal species are dying out.

Eli has no idea who is telling the truth. Should he trust what InfiniCorp tells him, or should he believe what the Outsiders are saying? Who can he trust? Just when he thinks he has everything figured out, something new happens and he is once again thrown into a state of uncertainty, fear, and worry.

In this extraordinary novel we travel to a future that is very grim and more than a little terrifying. As we read, we see how Eli struggles to understand what is happening around him, and how he is being used by the very people he should be able to trust. Readers will find it impossible to figure out what Eli is going to do until, at the very end of the book, he makes a radical decision that may just change his world forever.