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Breaking Sky by Cori McCarthy (review)
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Reviewed by
McCarthy, Cori    Breaking Sky.    Sourcebooks Fire, 2015    406p
ISBN 978-1-4926-0141-8    $16.99                                                                           R*    Gr.9-12

As the most talented teen pilot in the United Star Academy, Chase “Nyx” Harcourt feels right at home screeching across the sky at Mach 3 in her Streaker fighter jet. On the ground, though, she’s completely lost, a rebel loner who masks a painful past with an irreverent attitude and a series of meaningless hook-ups. Now war with a powerful foreign tyrant is looming, a hot new pilot is on the scene, and Chase’s rule-breaking, heartbreaking ways are starting to have dangerous, unexpected consequences. With international tensions rising and romantic tension with Tristan “Arrow” Router heating up, Chase must change her ways fast if she’s going to protect her heart and save the world from World War III. This riveting near-future science fiction military adventure reads like a cross between Top Gun and Ender’s Game, blended with just the right amount of adolescent angst. The writing is emotionally charged throughout, moving seamlessly from scenes of mid-air acrobatics to edge-of-your-seat dogfights to interpersonal drama. With her faux-hawk and her self-protective sass, Chase emerges as a fascinating heroine, equal parts warrior and troubled teenager, whose entire life is a battlefield. An assortment of mentors, frenemies, flirtations, and friends, each with their own complex drives, secrets, and troubles, round out the memorable cast. Replete with fighter pilot jargon, plausible science fiction elements, and nerd-friendly literary allusions, this taut, well-crafted novel should have broad appeal, for fans of everything from Roth’s Divergent (BCCB 5/11) to Wein’s Code Name Verity (BCCB 6/12).

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