In Sophie Cameron’s debut novel, Jaya’s world is turned upside down when angels begin falling Out of the Blue.
With “beings” crashing to Earth, there’s little point in focusing on anything else. Who cares about work or school when the apocalypse could very well be imminent? In these probable dark times, Jaya doesn’t have many people to rely on. Her mom is deceased. Her dad is consumed with the falling beings because maybe–just maybe–one of them could be Jaya’s mother come back to Earth. Even when Jaya’s dad reaches out, the only thing on his mind is angel hunting. Jaya’s relationships with friends and not-quite girlfriend are in the past. Most of Jaya’s companionship comes from her little sister, Rani, and her dog, Perry. Well, that is until Jaya witnesses the unthinkable.
Late one night, Jaya goes on a walk with Perry and an angel crashes practically right at her feet. Unlike the dozens of other recorded incidents, this angel is still alive after the fall. Unsure of what to do, but positive she cannot leave the angel in the woods, Jaya takes it back to where her dad rented a space for hunting purposes. The woman renting to them is on vacation, so her home becomes an angel sanctuary. The angel looks young, in comparable human years. It doesn’t speak English and is quite frightened. Jaya, worried about the angel’s safety, decides not to inform her dad about her discovery. But as it turns out, babysitting alone turns out to be quite a challenge.
The concept of Out of the Blue is certainly an enticing one, but sadly, the book, itself, falls a little flat. I waited for a suspenseful plot–or any defined plot, really–to get rolling, but the story remained slow. I felt too many pages were spent addressing the same points–distracted, absent father; confused, living angel. Did Dad finally see the light and start to communicate with his girls more? What is to become of the angel Jaya found? I wanted answers, and I was going around in circles.
One aspect I was impressed with was the diversity in the novel. Jaya and Rani are biracial, and Jaya is homosexual. Neither qualities of Jaya defined who she was as a character, which made the inclusion even better. Allie, a character we meet later on in the novel, has cystic fibrosis, which is a chronic illness that affects the lungs and digestive tract. The representation in Out of the Blue deserves praise and is the reason I’d recommend reading.
RATING: 3.5 OUT OF 5 STARS
Sometimes, I imagine alternate endings to the story: last-minute miracles, touches of magic. I picture how things might have gone, if I wasn’t there. If I’d left just a few minutes later. If I hadn’t been alone. It doesn’t make any difference. One way or another, the crash always comes.
Ten days after Jaya Mackenzie’s mum dies, angels start falling from the sky. Smashing down to earth at extraordinary speeds, wings bent, faces contorted, not a single one has survived.
Hysteria mounting with every Being that drops, Jaya’s father uproots the family to Edinburgh intent on catching one alive. But Jaya can’t stand this obsession and, struggling to make sense of her mother’s sudden death and her own role on that fateful day, she’s determined to stay out of it.
When her best friend disappears and her father’s mania spirals, things hit rock bottom and it’s at that moment something extraordinary happens: An angel lands right at Jaya’s feet, and it’s alive. Finally she is forced to acknowledge just how significant these celestial beings are.
Set against the backdrop of the frenzied Edinburgh festival, OUT OF THE BLUE tackles questions of grief and guilt and fear over who we really are. But it’s also about love and acceptance and finding your place in this world as angels drop out of another.