by Sondra Soderborg
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Pub Date 11 Jul 2023 | Archive Date 31 Dec 2023
Three truths and a . . . lie? Breanna is strong. She is confident. She does not have a phobia of heights that comes from a traumatic history of abuse with her father. She will not be participating in her school's required teamwork camp, featuring the Sky Ropes-the highest ropes course in the state. Fast-paced and unforgettable, this story follows one girl's journey to overcome her trauma, discover what friendship really means, and learn that being brave is not always about being fearless.
Emotionally rich and tumultuously paced, Sondra Soderborg's debut novel is a story about opening yourself up to new possibilities, understanding what it means to be a true friend, encountering the most difficult truths about your own self-and finding self-acceptance within darkness.
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Average rating from 10 members
I talk to my students a lot about how books can act as mirrors, windows, and doors when we apply them to our own lives. This book hit me HARD, as it was a mirror for me. On the surface, I don’t have a lot in common with Breanna, the main character. But I did have a borderline abusive father and trauma from that experience that impacted my middle school year. Breanna’s fears regarding her father took me back to that place - a place I thought I’d left behind years ago.
Obviously my connection to the main character impacted my overall perception of this book, but even looking at it from other angles, this book is just excellent. It belongs on middle grade award lists and in elementary and middle school libraries. Students don’t like being preached to about kindness and acceptance, and Sky Ropes delivers that message wrapped up in a fun and fast-paced story that comes across as totally authentic. Diverse characters make up the supporting cast of characters, body acceptance is promoted (LOVE that our main character is described as strong - not chubby - and is proud of it), and characters learn to accept and embrace differences. A subtle message can be found that accepting differences doesn’t have to mean putting up with mean people, which I appreciated. I have students who are bullied who have had the idea of kindness driven into their heads for so long that they feel that standing up for themselves or others is the “wrong” thing to do.
I was 100 pages into this book when I messaged the author on Instagram, thanking her for writing this. By the time I finished this book, I was in cathartic tears. This book is accessible, funny, tender, and important. Read it, and share it with others! Thank you to NetGalley and Chronicle Books for providing an ARC!
SKY ROPES is such an engaging and entertaining story with a heartfelt and meaningful message that is sure to delight and impact middle grade readers. The author manages to deliver her message without ever being preachy. This is a fun and fast-paced narrative that will keep the reader turning the pages. Body acceptance is key and diversity is celebrated. Our delightful cast of characters speaks to accepting differences. At the same time, the message comes across that kindness does not have to mean accepting bad behavior or bullying. SKY ROPES is highly recommended for middle grade readers -- and adults too.
This was a great read about facing your fears. I liked how friendships were formed and and how the characters developed. I just wish it had more of am ending.
Breanna doesn’t want to go to team-building camp but since she has to go she will pull one of her famous pranks since she’s known as queen of pranks. Breanna does not want to do the Sky Ropes, an obstacle course in the air high off the ground. She’s terrified of heights after her dad traumatized her when she was younger. Breanna figures if she comes up with a killer prank everyone will think she’s cool and not realize her fear of heights. When the camp counselors tell everyone it’s okay if you know the Sky Ropes aren’t right for you, Breanna feels hope. Others don’t want to do them and bump fists and say solidarity. When mean Cami challenges Breanna to the Sky Ropes, Breanna feels she has no choice but to do them. Does she do them?
Amazing fast paced story about friendship and courage. Breanna is strong willed and determined, but she has her battles she is fighting. Great story for learning empathy for other’s challenges.
This was a sweet, fast read story about friendship, empathy, personal challenges, and facing fears. I loved how the friendships were formed and how Breanna grew through the book. It has an amazing message about everyone having their own challenges and how that's okay. I do wish there was a little something more to the story, perhaps a more unique ending, but it's a middle grade and because of that I'm less critical. Easily 3.5 stars.
Breanna, the protagonist of Sky Ropes, is a middle school student who seems to be a happy
young woman. At the beginning of the novel, she is portrayed as a good athlete, a prankster,
and a close friend to a couple of other students. There are some clues that her life is a little more
complicated than it seems to be. This begins with news of her school’s team-building camp and
the fact that it encourages the students to participate in a fearsome ropes course. Breanna
doesn’t admit it, but she has a strong fear of heights.
For weeks, she tries to get out of camp by trying to hide it from her mother, but her efforts are
useless, and she is sent to camp with the rest of her classmates. Breanna begins to love the
outdoors, makes some new friends, and plans the ultimate prank. However, things don’t
necessarily go as she thinks they will.
Many of us love a good camp story and Sky Ropes incorporates many of the classic elements
of the genre. Anyone who has worked in education knows that young people like Breanna have
a more complex past than one would think. Breanna’s fear of heights (and many of her other
fears) stem from an abusive father with an opioid addiction. Middle-grade students will relate to
Breanna facing difficulties. The idea that one can be strong while having weaknesses is a
good thing for tweens to realize.
I wouldn’t say that this is an easy read, especially for a child who has gone through abuse,
poverty, or difficult situations in life. However, it is an important book. I recommend Sky Ropes
for all public libraries and middle/ junior high school libraries. Highly recommended for grades
Trauma from a childhood incident has given Breanna an extreme fear of heights. The teambuilding camp she is attending has a sky ropes course that is the highlight of the week. For Breanna, it is a dreaded activity that haunts her as the week goes by. Counselors encourage campers to embrace challenges, but to choose what works best for them individually. Breanna has a dilemma. Can she stay maintain her tough and fearless image while still deciding not to do the sky ropes activity? Maybe if she pulls off a big prank that will distract everyone. Should she or shouldn't she? The support of friends and adults at the camp will give Breanna what she needs to make it through camp week. Readers will see their own struggles in one or more of the camp kids and find ways to meet the challenges ahead at school and in sports.
Thank you to Chronicle Books and NetGalley for a DRC in exchange for an honest revielw.
Strangely compelling novel about friendship, sense of self, and recovery from trauma. MC Breanna was nearly killed as a young child by her abusive addict father, leaving her with a crippling fear of heights and severe trauma responses to select stimuli. Breanna herself is difficult to like and understand - she is brash, competitive, selfish, suspicious of others, and a semi regular bully despite her pathological desire to be nothing like her father. She has, at least in her own mind, carefully curated a reputation for herself as a fearless athlete in elementary school, an identity she is keen to import to her new much larger middle school. Her plans are threatened when she is forced to attend a sixth grade camp that features a sky ropes course and her fear is identified and exploited by a new classmate. I don’t suspect we will get a follow up to Breanna’s story specifically, but it appears the author may intend to write a future book from the perspective of Breanna’s nemesis (a la Wonder/Julien). Excellent depictions of trauma, but I found Breanna so selfish it significantly impacted my enjoyment of the book