When otherworldly beings start falling from the sky, it seems like the end of days are near―but for one girl, it’s just the beginning of an adventure that will change her life.
Jaya’s life has completely fallen apart. Her mother is dead, her dad is on an obsessive wild goose chase, and mysterious winged beings are falling from the sky. For the past nine months, none of the them have survived the plummet to Earth, but when a female being lands near Jaya―and is still alive―she doesn’t call the authorities. She hides the being and tries to nurse her back to health.
Set against the backdrop of a society trying to come to grips with the possibility of a world beyond, Out of the Blue is the story of how one unexpected turn of events can put you on a path toward healing.
Out of the Blue is a pretty underrated dystopian-like, stand-alone novel! It follows the narrative of Jaya, a biracial girl who recently lost her mother and is dealing with the aftermath, as well as the sudden appearance of “Beings,” – or angels – that have started falling out of the sky. Although this book was on the short side, it was still a beautifully-written story about love and loss, trust and hope. The character relationships were wonderfully explored, although I wish there was a bit more, if only because we only get to see them for a short time. Nonetheless, I would recommend this story for YA contemporary readers who are here for tremendous character growth and loving relationships!
The book begins with Jaya’s family, consisting of her father and younger sister, moving to Edinburgh for the summer, where her Being-fanatic father is hoping to catch one of these Beings. Nothing is known about them, except for the fact that they have beautiful wings and have been falling from the sky. Is this a work of a god, or something more ominous? Although this book brings into religious concepts and speculations, as well as cults, the plot never gets preach-y. The appearance of the Beings isn’t so much a major part of the plot, but rather the impetus for Jaya’s character growth and newfound relationships. Currently, she has a strained relationship with her father and younger sister. Ever since the death of her mother, her father has been not very fatherly and the appearance of the Beings has driven him to the point of obsession. While her sister jumps on that train as well, Jaya’s mind wanders towards the more human side of Beings. They show emotions – why aren’t they treated as such?
“He really thinks he can do this.
He actually thinks he’s going to catch an angel.”
When Jaya finds one of these Beings, she sets out to hide it from the rest of the fanatics in her life and heal its broken wing. Along for the ride are two new friends, Callum and Allie (twins I believe), who also champion the rights of these mysterious Beings. One little point of the story I have to point out is that Beings are referred to as “It” by the public, with “masculine” and “feminine” used as descriptions. Jaya puts genders on them in order to humanize them. However, I do think using the pronouns they/their/theirs would have benefited more in this scenario. As another reviewer on Goodreads pointed out, you don’t even know if these Beings use the same gender binary as done in the Westernized world. In my opinion, Jaya was doing a disservice to these Beings by assigning these binary genders. ANYWAY.
There’s a very slow to develop, but lovely romance that develops between Jaya and Allie (I seriously thought it was going to be with the Being but nah – like I said, their appearance was more of an impetus for specific plot purposes rather than the main event). Jaya is half Sri-Lankan, half-white, while Allie has cystic fibrosis – a disability that is explored in the pages of the book. I thought these aspects were written with care, although I can’t say 100% as to their representation. I do love the underlying message of Allie’s adventurous spirit though – her CF is only a part of her, but she is not defined by it. In between their burgeoning romance is Jaya’s stray feelings to her old flame, Leah, who recently disappeared. Also should point out – Jaya is lesbian while Allie is bisexual. Yay!
“Loss is mathematical: a third less washing, a third fewer dishes, a third fewer footsteps thundering down the stars. Subtract music blaring through the walls. Subtract eyeliner smudges on the towels. Add silence. Add more silence.
I’ve done those sums. The results are always greater than you think they’ll be.”
While Allie and Jaya take care of the Being they find, Jaya also finds herself coming to terms with her mother’s death and the relationship dynamics of her family. Allie struggles between the fun-filled life she wants to live and the limitations set upon by her worrisome mother and brother, for fear of her health. There’s a lot explored in this story, but rest assured that the resolution is quite beautiful and well worth the read.
The only non-answer is the whole subplot with the Beings. Like I said, don’t come in thinking they’re that big of a deal. The book is more focused on Jaya’s character arc and her personal discoveries. The Beings are mysterious from the first page to last, but I think that just adds to the charm of the story. While Out of the Blue covers a dystopian-like atmosphere where supposed “angels” are falling out of the sky, the main developments of Jaya’s story focuses on her introspection and relationships. I really enjoyed following her narrative as she found the place she wanted to be in, and hope other readers do too.
suicide, cults, addiction
Thank you Macmillan for the review copy!