Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Where the Rock Splits the Sky

Where the Rock Splits the Sky

Philip Webb
For ages 12 and up
Scholastic, 2014   ISBN: 978-0545557016

Twenty years ago life on Earth changed forever. The moon broke up and the Earth stopped revolving on its axis. Billions died as the dark side of the Earth got colder and colder, and now humans are forced to live on the warmer side of the planet. Everyone knows that these changes took place when the Visitors arrived. These aliens abduct people and they often take over the bodies of the people they kidnap. The only way you can know if a person is a Visitor or a human is to look into his or her eyes. If there is a flicker of gold to be seen there, then you know that you are in the presence of a Visitor, and you better start running.

   Where Megan lives in Marfa, a small town in the Texas desert, the sun never sets and the ways of the old Wild West have returned in many ways. Megan has decided that the time has come for her to leave her home and to venture into the Zone to find her father. He has been gone for several years and she can no longer bear to sit at home waiting to hear if he is dead or alive. Megan’s friend Luis says that he will join her on her quest and reluctantly agrees to let him do so.

   Megan and Luis are arguing about whether Megan should tell her aunt about her plan when shots ring out. Megan soon finds out that Visitors, riding with the Jethro Gang, are after her and her exit from Marfa does not go the way she had planned. The sheriff is killed trying to help her, and she and Luis head for the Zone with their enemies in hot pursuit. All Megan has to help her find her father is a map that she does not understand, the name of a tracker she should try to find, and the knowledge that she has about the Zone and its ways.

   Soon after entering the Zone Megan and Luis are pursed by some starving wolves. They take refuge in a town that is, for some inexplicable reason, floating above the ground.  In the town they meet a girl called Kelly. She was abducted and has no idea what has happened to the world in the last twenty years, but this does not stop her from wanting to join Megan and Luis. At first Megan does not want Kelly to come with them. Kelly does not understand the Zone and will be a liability, but then Megan gets a vision and she accepts that she and Luis were supposed to find Kelly. For some reason Kelly needs to be a member of their group.

   Kelly soon learns that traveling in the Zone and being pursued by the Visitors is dangerous. The three young people are plagued by one problem after another, but they press on, determined to find Megan’s father and perhaps to uncover the real secret of the Zone. Perhaps if they know what the Zone really is, they will be able to find a way defeat the Visitors before it is too late.

   This beautifully written and thought-provoking book presents readers with characters who are brave, unique, and flawed, as all humans are. We can never be quite sure what is going to happen next as the world they live in is so unpredictable. All we can be sure of is that Megan and her friends are never going to give up.