Friday, 2 August 2013

The Sky So Heavy

Edit: this post now contains a review and a bookish manicure.

The Sky So Heavy by Claire Zorn
Published July 24, 2013 by UQP
Source: the publisher
Rating: 5 stars
From the blurb: For Fin it's just like any other day--racing for the school bus, bluffing his way through class, and trying to remain cool in front of the most sophisticated girl in his universe. Only it's not like any other day because, on the other side of the world, nuclear missiles are being detonated. When Fin wakes up the next morning, it's dark, bitterly cold, and snow is falling. There's no internet, no phone, no TV, no power, and no parents. Nothing Fin's learned in school could have prepared him for this. With his parents missing and dwindling food and water supplies, Fin and his younger brother Max must find a way to survive all on their own. When things are at their most desperate, where can you go for help? This haunting dystopian novel thrillingly and realistically looks at a nuclear winter from an Australian perspective.

The Sky So Heavy is Claire Zorn’s debut novel. Set in the Blue Mountains and then Sydney, the story revolves around seventeen year old Fin Heath and his younger brother Max. Life is normal for them, if you ignore the threat of nuclear war, until one day Fin wakes up and the world has changed – snow is falling, the electricity is out, his parents are gone.

I loved this book. I loved it so much that I read it in about three hours – I was unable to put it down and from the moment Fin gets a panicked call from his mother my heart was racing and it did not stop.

Fin is an average guy in his final year at high school. He lives with his dad, his young step-mum, and his younger brother. His mum left them two years ago for a job and a boyfriend in the city. Fin has a crush on classmate Lucy Tenningworth and their teasing and flirting was adorable and amusing. Fin’s devotion and protection of his brother and later Lucy was admirable, he steps in when no one else will be there for them. I really liked the depth of his character, he has a hobby (drawing) which he continues to do during the war, and he also turns to music; rationing out his iPod battery so he can listen to a song a day.

The setting was vivid, I could easily picture snow falling in an isolated small town in the mountains, as well as their dangerous journey to Sydney. The actions of the characters felt realistic; the stockpiling of food, the fear, the time frame – it all felt well thought out and thoroughly researched.

The book has been billed as similar to Tomorrow, When the War Began and it definitely had a similar vibe, as well as feeling similar to The 5th Wave (minus the aliens). If you like these two books, then you will like The Sky So Heavy, because it is even better! If you had issues with The 5th Wave (the most common I've read about are the insta-love and the POV switching) then you will be pleased to know that there is no insta-love as Fin and Lucy were already friends, and the story is told from Fin’s perspective only.

I liked that we got a snapshot of life before the nuclear winter hit, we saw Fin at school, at home, his dad’s attitude towards them, and his friendship with Lucy. We also got some history on Arnold ‘Noll’ Wong and the racism and bullying he’d been subjected to since year three.

The book has a lot to say on our present situation involving asylum seekers, it definitely left me thinking about the attitudes we see here, and the similarities between the fence that goes up around Sydney, and the way we guard our country against people seeking refuge.

Like all books involving survival, I started to consider what I would do in the characters’ situation, here are my top tips:

1. Hide your food supplies around the house, not just in the kitchen. This way, if people raid your house, they won't get all your food
2. Raid your local school - the canteen will have supplies
3. Be compassionate, help others, stick together

The Sky So Heavy is a thrilling and thought-provoking read. It highlights a lot of the issues we're seeing in our country at the present time while providing the reader with an engaging story.

Seeing as Fin has such a love of music, I thought I'd pick a song to pair with the book. I was listening to this the other night and not only did the mood seem right but the lyrics "oh no, not me. We never lost control" really stood out to me. Here's the Nirvana version of The Man Who Sold the World (bonus: Dave in a skivvy!)

Thank you to the lovely people at UQP for my review copy.

Happy Friday! Today I want to share a mani that matches the cover of one of my new fave books! The Sky so Heavy by Claire Zorn involves a nuclear winter and the cover for this is so atmospheric.

I started with a base of Barry M Gelly Watermelon - it was the perfect deep green shade to match the patches of sky.

I took a make up sponge and dabbed on Ulta3 Lily White followed by Zoya Dove. I concentrated on tip and up to the middle of the nail. Then I sponged Ulta3 Black Satin onto the top third of each nail and along the tips.

For the kids I used Glam Nails nail art pen in Jet Black and roughly drew the shape of the 4 of them.

And finally I used a dotting tool and Ulta3 Lily White to add the snow

I really loved these! I don't always feel that way about how my book manis turn out but I really liked the depth that all the sponging created and I found myself staring at these often.


  1. You you captured that book cover perfectly! Love it :)

  2. Look at the little people! This manicure is fab!

  3. Hey, your work is pretty amazing :) I was wondering if you would create some nail art for a Zoe Marriott book - Shadows on the Moon or Daughter of the flames?

  4. this looks awesome, mandee! i love the sky and i can't believe you drew in the people. awesome job!

  5. wow that is very cool! its like a painting!

  6. The perfection of the kids...oh my God these are lovely.

  7. I love how this turned out!! Such a cool design. :)

  8. Holy crap, this may be my new favorite of your manis. I'll be over at Vegan YA Nerds to read your review on this book soon.


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