Breaking Sky – Cori McCarthy – Sourcebooks Fire – Published March 10 2015
In this high-flying, adrenaline-fueled debut thriller, America’s best hope is the elite teen fighter pilots of the United Star Academy
Chase Harcourt, call sign “Nyx,” is one of only two pilots chosen to fly the experimental “Streaker” jets at the junior Air Force Academy in the year 2048. She’s tough and impulsive with lightning-fast reactions, but few know the pain and loneliness of her past or the dark secret about her father. All anyone cares about is that Chase aces the upcoming Streaker trials, proving the prototype jet can knock the enemy out of the sky.
But as the world tilts toward war, Chase cracks open a military secret. There’s a third Streaker jet, whose young hotshot pilot, Tristan, can match her on the ground and in the clouds. Chase doesn’t play well with others, but to save her country she may just have to put her life in the hands of the competition.
Breaking Sky grabs you from the very first few lines – and doesn’t let go. Chase, call sign Nyx, is a cadet at the United Star Academy, an airforce base for teens as they prepare to join the US military in the Second Cold War. Chase is one of two teams who fly the Streakers, jets so powerful only young and strong teen pilots can fly them.
I didn’t like Chase at first. She was bold, cocky, arrogant and reckless, but then you’d get these little glimpse of more hiding beneath the surface and of a backstory that explained the attitude. And as the story developed I began to love her courage, her fear and her determination. The Star is a military base and junior training academy, which results in the best mix of teen drama and military action. Chase and her RIO (and best friend) Pippin, and the other Streaker team are preparing for the trials that will showcase the Streaker jets’ abilities and, if the trials succeeds,will see the beginning of the Streakers’ dominance in the fight between the once powerful US and the now-dominant New Eastern Bloc. It is up to Chase and her fellow cadets to prove both their own worth and that of the experimental jets – so it’s really important not to mess up (or die). It’s just unfortunate that Chase is so very good at pushing the boundaries and generally creating chaos!
There are tense moments and high-risk flying manoeuvres, romance, friendship and humour, and then, WHAM! Out of nowhere – I did not see that coming. It made it all real and so very powerful. Cori McCarthy expertly combines flying lingo and details, base politics and teen interactions, and creates a suspenseful and dramatic read. Highly enjoyed.
Young Adult Fiction: ages 14 and up. Action and Adventure. Military.
The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.