Who doesn’t love a series? Peggy Eddleman’s Sky Jumpers plunges you right from the first page into a post World War III world where things have gone both wrong—and right—since the release of green bombs. There’s enough drama to keep the pages turning and this new series going. Book one releases from Random House on September 24—add a comment below to win a copy!
As the jacket blurb says, it’s the story about twelve-year-old Hope, who lives in White Rock, a town struggling to recover from the green bombs of World War III. The bombs destroyed almost everything that came before, so the skill that matters most is the ability to invent so that the world can regain some of what it’s lost. But Hope is terrible at inventing and would much rather sneak off to cliff dive into the Bomb’s Breath—the deadly band of air that covers the crater the town lives in—than fail at yet another invention. When bandits discover that White Rock has invented priceless antibiotics, they invade. The town must choose whether to hand over the medicine and die from disease in the coming months or to die fighting the bandits now. Hope and her friends, Aaren and Brock, might be the only ones who can escape through the Bomb’s Breath and make the dangerous trek over the snow-covered mountain to get help. Inventing won’t help them, but the daring and risk-taking that usually gets Hope into trouble might just save them all.
Peggy Eddleman, who lives at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Utah with her husband and their three kids, took some time to answer a few questions via email:
Mixed-Up Files: Sky Jumpers is post apocalyptic, but yet it’s more hopeful than some of the other books out there. Can you talk about that?
Peggy Eddleman: This came from two things: First, to me, if the world came close to ending and only pockets of people remained, one of those pockets would emerge to be very similar to White Rock. Mankind has an amazing ability to survive and fight to carry on and move forward. When devastating things happen, we emerge stronger. We stick together and we work together to make a life that’s worth living. We, as humans, have a lot of hope in us.
Second, I don’t believe that middle grade kids are as big of fans of dystopia. I think that dystopian conflicts in books work really well for teens—they are at a time in their life where they feel like they are constantly fighting against authority figures to move from childhood to adulthood, so conflicts with an uberly-controlling government are right up their alley. But middle grade kids have their whole lives ahead of them—the whole world ahead of them—and they want to know that the world is going to be one worth living in. That no matter what crazy things happen, they are going to flourish living there.
MUF: Hope struggles to be an inventor like everyone else, since inventions are so important to the survival of the community. How did you get your ideas for the inventions?
PE: The idea for Hope came first—I wanted a character who couldn’t do the one thing that mattered most. So then I asked what mattered most in White Rock? When the answer of inventions came to mind, it felt natural and right. When most of everything we had was destroyed, and there are people alive still who remember what things used to be like, of course inventing would be important. It’s what got us to the point we are at today, and it’s what will get White Rock back to that point in the future.
MUF: One of the other things I love about this book is the strong emphasis on family. Everyone sticks together. Was that important to you?
PE: Very. My husband and my kids mean the world to me, as do my parents and siblings and their families. I think strong families can make an incredible difference in the lives of children, and I wish every kid could experience that. When they can’t experience it in real life, I think they should get the chance to experience it in books.
MUF: Have you ever jumped off a cliff?
PE: Yes. But into water, not into the Bomb’s Breath. I think a more close representation to jumping into the Bomb’s Breath would be paragliding, which, sadly, I’ve never gotten the chance to do. But I do take every opportunity to jump into water that I can. And no—you’d never catch me jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. As fun and fascinating as that sounds, the part of my brain that controls my will to live speaks louder than the part that wants to experience that.
Like to win a free copy? Post a comment below by midnight September 24 to be entered in the drawing. The winner will be announced on Thursday, September 26.