Just under the clouds
Always think in threes and you’ll never fall, Cora’s father told her when she was a little girl. Two feet, one hand. Two hands, one foot. That was all Cora needed to know to climb the trees of Brooklyn.
But now Cora is a middle schooler, a big sister, and homeless. Her mother is trying to hold the family together since her father’s death, and Cora must look after her sister, Adare, who’s just… different, their mother insists. Quick to smile, Adare hates wearing shoes, rarely speaks, and appears untroubled by the question Cora can’t help but ask: How will they find a place to call home?
After their room at the shelter is ransacked, Cora’s mother looks to an old friend for help. But even with a new place to live, it is Cora’s discovery of Ailanthus altissima, the “tree of heaven,” which can grow in even the worst conditions, that sets her on a path to discover a deeper truth about where she really belongs.
Praise for Just Under the Clouds
A Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year
“Troubling, affecting, and ultimately uplifting, from a promising debut novelist.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Rich and evocative…. A moving book about an all-too-common childhood experience, which is fairly uncommon in children’s literature.”—Booklist
"The insecurity of homelessness and the limited options of those living in poverty sear the pages of this thoughtprovoking debut about the meaning of home and the importance of family."—Horn Book Magazine
"A heartbreaking yet hopeful story of a family searching for a place to belong...Sarno easily pulls readers into the tangled lives of her credible characters and their struggles to put down roots in this exploration of family and friendship, loss and resilience." —Publisher's Weekly
“This is a beautiful book. I loved Cora who was so warm and real. I cried over her hard life, but was thrilled over her choices. I wanted her to succeed; I wanted her to be happy. The ending of this book was wonderful; I’ll never forget it.” -Patricia Reilly Giff, author of Eleven
“This beautiful novel grabbed me from page one and never let go. Simply put, I loved this book. Cora and Adare wormed their way into my heart. I rooted for them, I ached for them. An incredible debut novel. I’m already a Sarno fan and can’t wait to see what she does next.”
-Susin Nielsen, author of We Are All Made of Molecules
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A Swirl of Ocean
Twelve-year-old Summer lives year round in Barnes Bluff, a strip of land between the ocean and the bay. It’s the same shore where Lindy found her when she was two years old, and she’s been with Lindy ever since. But now, Lindy’s boyfriend is moving in and Summer feels like he’s taking over her space. For the first time, Summer starts to wonder where she came from and if she really belongs with Lindy after all.
When she gets caught swimming in a rip-tide and escapes, swallowing more ocean water than she thought possible, Summer starts dreaming about a girl named Tink, whose story unfolds each time Summer closes her eyes at night. She comes to believe that Tink is connected to who she was before Lindy found her all those years ago.
Summer looks to the ocean she came from for answers and discovers that it has its own story, one she couldn’t have imagined.
From Melissa Sarno comes a tale of the secrets we keep and discovering a way to set them free.
Praise for A Swirl of Ocean
A deeply affecting novel with honest emotion. Propelled by authentic characters, the adroitly woven plot meshes past and present, dreams and reality, and love and friendship. An involving, bracing summer tale for all seasons.—Publishers Weekly
The restless interplay between moon and sea becomes a framework for exploring the uneasy intertidal zone between childhood and adult maturity. How preteen girls negotiate this supremely trying life passage is explored in some of the year’s best middle-grade releases; add this to the list.—Kirkus Reviews
Rich with imagery and thoughtful contemplations…the way in which Summer ends up being connected to Tink highlight[s] the dreamy tranquility of the girls’ seaside town.–The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
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