Just under the clouds

Out now

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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