Between Sea and Sky

Author: Nicola Penfold


ISBN: 9781788953139 Category:


BINDING: Paperback

EXTENT: 352 pages

DIMENSIONS: 129 x 198 mm

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In a near future where a series of environmental disasters has left much of the country underwater, Pearl lives on a floating oyster farm with her father and younger sister, Clover. Following her mum’s death several years earlier, Pearl refuses to set foot on land, believing her illness was caused by the poisons in the ground. Meanwhile, Clover dreams of school, friends and a normal life.

Then Nat comes to spend the summer at the sea farm while his scientist mum conducts some experiments. Leaving behind the mainland, with its strict rules and regulations, he brings with him a secret. But when the sisters promise to keep his secret safe, little do they realize that they may be risking everything…

A thrilling and thought-provoking ecological adventure from the author of the highly acclaimed WHERE THE WORLD TURNS WILD. Perfect for fans of THE EXPLORER, THE LAST WILD and WHERE THE RIVER RUNS GOLD.


“Atmospheric, memorable, extraordinarily gripping, this is storytelling at its finest.”The Guardian

“I loved Penfold’s debut … and this confirms her as a rising star of children’s fiction, mixing a thrilling evocative adventure with pertinent themes of the environment and recovery.” – Fiona Noble, The Bookseller

“A beautifully told adventure that will have readers, like its protagonists, diving deep to discover the fragility of our eco-system and emerging emboldened to protect its delicate balance.” – Sita Brahmachari, author of Where the River Runs Gold

“A message to us all in the most powerful, evocative and hopeful story spinning.” – Hilary McKay, author of The Skylarks’ War

“I loved Between Sea and Sky. I was totally immersed… I could almost smell the sea and feel salt in my hair. Powerful storytelling and a thought-provoking tale.” – Gill Lewis, author of Sky Hawk

“A shimmering testament to the restorative power of nature and the limitless wonder unearthed by childhood curiosity.” – Piers Torday, author of The Last Wild

“BOSS level MG dystopia, so vivid!” – Louie Stowell, author of The Dragon in the Library

“Nicola Penfold makes me want to love our planet harder, hold it closer.” – Rashmi Sirdeshpande, author of How to Change the World

“This is compelling, high-stakes storytelling… This will be a favourite that I will return to over and over again.” – Nizrana Farook, author of The Girl Who Stole an Elephant

“An original and wonderful story of wild children and a world in trouble … so perfectly written that reading it is living it. And living it is an adventure.” – Rachel Delahaye, author of Mort the Meek

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4 reviews for Between Sea and Sky

  1. Gayle

    I enjoyed this book immensely, reading it in one sitting. Set in a future where people are ruled and governed tightly, this story follows the lives of three children; a ‘landlubber’ (Nat), and sisters who live on boats at their oyster farm (Pearl and Clover). The pace moves along nicely and the relationships were believable. The girls quarrelled, one glad of new company (Nat), and the other mistrusting the stranger and his mum when they join the girls and their Dad for the summer. A grim look at a possible future for humanity, this story gives cause to sit back and think. Tension ran through each page, an uneasiness that I could not shake. A sign to me of great writing. I highly recommend this book, whether you are a fan of dystopian stories or not. It was far from anything I would normally read, which made my enjoyment of it all the more surprising. I look forward to reading more from this author.

  2. Izzy

    Fabulous, topical story. Vivid description, evoking all the senses. Shamelessly confronting sensitive issues, so beautifully written for young readers. Courageous, inspiring characters. A brilliant, thought provoking read!

  3. Schizanthus Nerd

    “Somewhere, between the sea and the sky, there are other places.”

    Pearl and Clover live with their father on the oyster farm. Clover yearns to go to school but Pearl is determined to never step foot on land again, certain the land’s poisons were responsible for her mother’s death. Pearl and Clover are keeping a big secret, one that will tear their family apart if anyone ever finds out.

    Nat lives on the land with his mother, a science advisor who works hard to provide for her son. Nat enjoys playing with his friends but is always careful not to get caught doing anything that will accumulate civil disobedience points for his mother. The constant threat of peacekeepers and the visual reminder of the prison ship keep the people on the land in line.

    ““You don’t know what it’s like, living there,” he’d said quietly, gazing back to land. “Some rules are hard to keep.””

    Nat doesn’t want to stay at the oyster farm with his mother this summer and Pearl definitely doesn’t want “landlubbers” intruding on their lives but it’s the beginning of something new. Nat has his own secret, one that could change everything.

    I couldn’t help comparing this book with the author’s debut, Where the World Turns Wild. Both feature worlds that ours could easily begin to resemble in the not too distant future if we don’t take climate change seriously.

    My biggest delight came when I realised that the names of the characters in both books have been so carefully and cleverly chosen. There are some names in this book that foreshadow a character’s role or something about their personality. However, the ones that really stood out to me were those I could easily align with elements, which are a vital part of this story. For example, Sora is a Japanese name that means ‘sky’.

    “Water is the sea all around us. Earth the poisoned land. Air’s the sky where the gulls fly.
    Fire is the Decline. Here it was floods and the rising storm water, but elsewhere it was fire. The world got too hot. Fire burned forests and villages, whole cities too.
    Spirit is everything that was lost.”

    The only thing I adored in Where the World Turns Wild that I missed in this book was a connection to a special adult. I love Annie Rose from Where the World Turns Wild as much now as I did the day I met her. While I liked many of the adult characters in this book there wasn’t someone that I got to know well enough to want to spend all of my time with. The closest I came was with Olive but, for reasons that will become clear as you read the book, she wasn’t ever going to be as knowable as Annie Rose was.

    Kate Forrester, whose cover image was what initially drew me to Where the World Turns Wild, has also designed this cover. The details will all mean something to you once you’ve finished reading.

    “But if people don’t try, things won’t ever change, will they?”

    Thank you so much to NetGalley and Stripes Publishing, an imprint of Little Tiger Group, for the opportunity to read this book. I’m rounding up from 4.5 stars.

  4. Ruth

    I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this novel, filled with everyday magic, unexpected joy and a powerful message. This beautiful story is a wild ride; one that I didn’t want to end! Thank you Nicola Penfold for tackling a sensitive issue in such a vivid and awe-inspiring way. I feel so encouraged, knowing that our young people might have access to books and messages as powerful as this one.

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