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4.9 out of 5 stars41
4.9 out of 5 stars
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 18 April 2013
This seems to be part of a growing trend in young adult fiction for tales where a young character dies.
We find out on the first page there has been a death but only find out who at the end. The journey of Iris over one summer, as her family struggle to cope with the absence of their (travelling, free-spirited) mother and the arrival of a family of travellers on their land.
I enjoyed the exploration of Iris and her brother as they miss their mother, but didn't find her budding relationship with the traveller boy Trick very realistic (it seemed to come about all of a sudden).
Still, the ill feeling towards the travellers is scary, nasty and all-too-real and the denouement shocking and very sad. Especially as you may feel ambivalent towards the 'victim'.
A good YA dramatic story.
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4.5 stars

Ever since her mum left Iris's family has been falling apart, her dad has been drinking too much and her brother Sam has become angry and withdrawn. Iris is only 13 years old but she is the one who is trying to hold them together, she does her best to take care of the house and cook for them all but it isn't easy and she's left feeling sad and alone. The day a family of travellers move onto their land changes everything, her father and Sam are both angry and want the travellers gone but Iris can't help but be curious about them. As she secretly gets to know Trick she realises that her family's prejudices against him aren't true and they form a close friendship that helps them both through some difficult times. As tensions increase between the two families Iris and Trick are caught in the middle but when tragedy strikes who will be the last one standing?

Infinite Sky is the kind of book that doesn't come along very often, one of those stories that touches your heart and will make you shed a few tears but that will also make you smile along the way. It's very clear from the prologue that something terrible has happened, Iris is at the funeral of someone she is close to but you are given no indication of who it is that died. The story then begins several months earlier and you spend the summer watching Iris blossom from a child into a young adult as she falls in love for the first time. At the back of your mind you always know that something bad is coming but that sense of foreboding doesn't make the journey any less enjoyable, in fact I think it is what makes this quite such an addictive read.

I don't want to go into much more detail about the story because I think it is a book that needs to be savoured and is best read with as little knowledge as possible. I'd rather talk about how much I loved the characters, Iris is a young girl that I think most people can relate to. She is going through a difficult time at home and is at that age when you start to question the things you are told and stop believing everything just because a parent tells you it's true. She is learning some hard truths about family and friendship and her experiences help shape her into the woman she is going to become. Iris is constantly being told that the travellers are bad news but she wants to make up her own mind about them by getting to know them. She is smart enough to realise that no family is perfect and that we should react to people based on the way they treat us not because of someone else's prejudice.

I didn't feel we get to know Trick as well as we know Iris, probably because the story is told from her point of view, but we know enough about him to hurt on his behalf when he is bullied and picked on by local teens. The events that unfold towards the end are heartbreaking and I think it was made even worse by the fact that that people who are most to blame are the ones who walk away from the incident unaffected. Infinite Sky is a book that will make you think, it touches on difficult themes but does so in a sensitive manner. The writing is beautiful for it's simplicity and it's hard to believe that this is C.J. Flood's debut novel, I know I'll automatically be reading anything she writes in the future. If you haven't already fallen in love with Infinite Sky then I urge you to pick up a copy as soon as possible, the setting makes it a perfect book for reading on a lazy summer afternoon and I'm sure you won't regret giving it a chance.
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on 19 March 2013
Infinite Sky is a confident, beguiling debut about a thirteen-year-old girl called Iris and a summer that changes everything. Deceptively simple prose conceals a lyricism and eye for the telling detail that make this novel immensely rewarding on a sentence-by-sentence basis. But behind the cosy bucolic idyll lies something far darker - prejudice, violence, and the traumatic adolescent realisation that perhaps the adults don't have all the answers either.

I motored through this novel - it's a real page-turner, the plot moving at a fair old clip as we discover the fates of Iris, her traveller boyfriend Trick, and Sam, her troubled brother. As with all my favourite stories, I wasn't quite sure how I felt about each of the characters by the end - even minor players feel rounded, complicated, human. I get through a couple of books a week, and this has been one of the best I've read in the past year. Highly recommended.
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on 11 February 2013
Sometimes a book comes along and fills a hole in your heart that you never knew existed. For me most recently, that book was Infinite Sky by CJ Flood, which I was lucky enough to read well in advance of its publication date. I was really attracted to the cover of the book and was expecting to read a cute story of a girl finding love over the course of a summer.

But, happily, when I started reading Infinite Sky, it turned out to be so much more than just a simple story of a boy and a girl. It's also a story about family and loyalty and secrets. I think the thing I loved the most about the book is how beautifully written it is. I am amazed that this is CJ Flood's debut novel and it makes me very excited for what she will write next...

Infinite Sky tells the story of one summer that changes everything for Iris, a 13 year old girl with quite a bit going on in her family life. Her mum's up and left to live in Tunisia. Her dad's a bit of an alcoholic and her brother is so angry all the time. When a group of travellers sets up camp behind their house, Iris finds herself curious about them, despite the things her dad and brother say about them, and makes friends with Trick. But it's only so long before tensions build-up between Iris's family and the travellers that kicks off into something far more serious.

Right from the first page, I loved and was rooting for Iris. She hasn't got an easy time of it and she really struggles between listening to her father who forbids it or of forging her own path and befriending these travellers. And Iris and Trick are quite sweet together, finding a place where they can be apart from the problems between their two families and talk to each other about bugs and life and each other.

Do you ever find yourself realising things about yourself or your relationships when reading a story that is completely separate to you or your life? The thing that got to me most about Infinite Sky is the relationships that Iris has formed, especially between Iris and her brother, Sam. I had a very similar and complicated relationship with my older brother who was very angry. Iris and Sam felt so real and believeable and it brought to mind so many things that I still feel and haven't dealt with about my brother and our childhood together. And I cried at how perfectly CJ Flood captured this on the page.

I think the power of this book is in how the characters relate to each other and how wonderfully crafted this summer and this cornfield where two people get to know each other and fall in love is. It felt like I could close my eyes and be in this story alongside Iris and Trick and everyone. Everything felt very real to me and I reacted to things very personally. It's hard not to take to heart these fantastic characters and experience everything alongside them from love to heartbreak to loss!

This is a beautiful book, one that I highly recommend!
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on 7 March 2013
I've just finished reading Infinite Sky by C.J.Flood and it is a beautiful, sad, real and tragic story. It is C.J.Flood's first novel after just graduating from a Creative Writing MA and I predict that we will be hearing a lot more from her.
To start with, it has a beautifully designed cover showing the ears of corn in the field that feature so dominantly through the story and the swooping swallows that reappear at the top of each chapter heading. An epigram from 'i thank You God for most this amazing day' by the poet E.E.Cummings shows the reader where C.J.Flood drew her title from.
The story itself is one of the truest I have read in a while. By that I mean her honesty with the use of language. It is truly the voice of teenagers and parents, teenagers between themselves, brothers and sisters; there is no fluffy pretty talk here, just the true voice of fourteen year old Iris as she comes to terms with the reality of how parents are not perfect, how big brothers you adore can change, how your best friend can suddenly seem not much of a friend at all and most of all, how you can be attracted to a boy who everyone else sees one way but you know what he is really like.
This Romeo-and-Juliet tale puts together a girl from a farm and a Traveller whose family arrive and set down in the adjacent field. Full of all the prejudice and terms flung at this community, it is Iris who understands the idea of Travellers and sees the good in Trick and his family as her family and the other teenagers use terms like 'Gypo' and 'Pikelet'.
It is a story that will appeal to the young gen readers but it is also a story for all readers, a story that makes you sit up and think and possibly even a story that might make you cry. I for one am glad that I have come across this young author and look forward to following her developments.
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on 15 February 2013
Originally published on Serendipity Reviews
Sometimes a book touches your soul enough to leave a wound. This is one of those books. A poignant, heart breaking tale that jolts one carefree child instantly in the world of adulthood, leaving her childhood in tatters, engulfing her in pain, like she has never experienced before. The main character Iris is young for her age, but by the time the book reaches the end she has grown emotionally beyond her years.
This book should come with hankies because the as the story unfolds the sadness weeps out of the pages. An unfortunate accident, a game of misadventure entwined to create a tale of tears.
Iris lives an idyllic life on a farmland where she can happily watch the seasons come and go as the harvests appear and disappear. Her life is fine until her mother decides she needs freedom - freedom to be herself and not belong to anyone else. Without another care or worry, she leaves Iris, her dad and her brother to fend for themselves and they are just about managing to cope, walking that very thin line before falling in chaos. The situation goes from bad to worse when the gypsies move into the paddock field. Her father is about to reach boiling point, her brother has stepped onto the wrong wayward path, with no way of finding his original route and Iris, well Iris has fallen for the kind, gorgeous gypsy boy against her father's wishes.
The gorgeous friendship that grows between Iris and Trick, is innocent and yet meaningful. It has a Romeo and Juliet feel to it, as it obvious from the start that neither set of parents would approve. Yet they enjoy each other's company and want to spend time together. They were not to know what would happen in the near future.
As the story progresses, their lives spiral out of control and things come to a head. The situation could have been stopped, but no one was watching for the signs, all too busy surviving their own problems.
I was completely caught up in the emotion and drama of this tale. Reminiscent of Annabel Pitcher's novel' Ketchup Clouds' and Celia Rees `This Is Not Forgiveness'. Don't expect to leave this book without tears and don't expect to walk away unscarred. This will leave a memory in your mind for weeks to come. A stunning debut that blends the cruelties of life with fiction.
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on 19 February 2013
I finished this book too quick - I couldn't put it down but didn't
want it to end. I loved the character of Iris and the relationships she had with her family.
This is a really lovely book and a fabulous debut from CJ Flood. Well worth reading
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on 25 July 2013
Infinite Sky is not a clichéd coming of age tale. It is a story of first love and of the tragedy of loss - the main character of the book suffers several losses of one sort or another. I would say that most of all this is a book about relationships and the tricky minefield of emotions that we humans have to negotiate in order to have relationships of any kind. It is about how people cope with loss in different ways (anger, denial, numbness) and about the things that are not said as well as those that are. It is about beginning to realise that adults are fallible and do not have all (or any of)the answers. Ultimately it is about a girl finding her own way in the world.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found the main character both interesting and convincing. Flood writes with a fresh and engaging voice; and most importantly for me the book is well written. I have lost count of the times I have put down a book for children or young adults in frustration at the sloppy writing.
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I had the feeling when I picked this up it would be good, and I'm pleased I was proved right!

I really enjoyed the way the story was told. I loved Iris' voice - her personality shines through and you really feel everything she feels. I also thought the way we know something bad happens to one of the characters (but not who it was!) from the onset worked well - it added tension to everything that happened. I needed to know who Iris was referring to!

All the characters in this really come alive. It is where the book truly excels. I fell in love with Trick, Iris' brother Sam and her whole family. All the choices that are made, by all the characters, seems to lead up to what happens in the end. It makes for very interesting (and heartbreaking!) reading.

Really, really good and it has made me very excited to see what C J Flood writes next!
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on 20 March 2013
Bought Infinite Sky last Thursday and finished it by Sunday as I was that gripped by the story. Makes it all the more amazing to hear that it is CJ Floods first book! The author really makes you feel part of the characters world from the start and by the end of the book you want there to be a sequal so you dont have to leave. Best book I have read in a long, long time!
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