Watch the Sky is about twelve-year-old Jory and his family who, following his stepfather Caleb, are looking for signs. None of them are sure what the signs will be or what they mean.
There are times that reading on a kindle is kind of disorientating. I bought Watch the sky a few months ago but hadn’t gotten around to it. It was in the queue and as I started reading it I realized that I had NO earthly idea what it was about what genre it was, what the cover looked like or anything else aside from the title. How often do you go into a book with that sort of blank canvas?
I don’t know if having no prior knowledge made this book more confusing or if it was intentionally written that way. For example Kit. Who is she, where did she come from, why won’t she speak? Is it important? Dunno. She just shows up in the pumpkin field one day and becomes one of the family. Who doesn’t talk. Who can’t go to school because she has to be hidden from the Officials.
I was super uncomfortable with Jory’s family. It didn’t feel like a family preparing for a disaster. It felt like the way a cult might feel at the beginning. Caleb might be well meaning but he was also paranoid as hell and delusional. Jory’s mother wasn’t beaten down or abused but she was frightened of the world before she met Caleb and I think that that fear made his ideas seems more reasonable. Kids being around and influenced by that unstableness did not sit right with me. Which is probably the point of the book. Overall, it was creepy and more than a little horrifying.
I did like the friendship that develops between Jory and Alice. Her persistence and kindness gradually get around his guard and he eventually comes to trust her. The way that her family’s normality and happiness is contrasted with the strange tenseness of Jory’s family was very effective. It was also a catalyst for Jory to start to doubt all that he has been told.
The writing was quite evocative. Hubbard has really mastered the use of details to make you feel that you are really in the book. The imagery, of the pickles, lined up on shelves, Kits two little hair buns, or the roots of trees getting in the way when you dig. The use of language in this book was impressive.
I needed more closure. The ending leaves so many things unknown and I found that frustrating. I am a character and mood book reader but I still need for the plot to resolve itself completely. It felt as if there should have been another chapter. What I was left with was a feeling of incompleteness that made me uncomfortable.
The signs are everywhere, Jory's stepfather, Caleb, says. Red leaves in the springtime. Pages torn from a library book. All the fish in the aquarium facing the same way. A cracked egg with twin yolks. Everywhere and anywhere. And because of them Jory's life is far from ordinary. He must follow a very specific set of rules: don't trust anyone outside the family, have your works at the ready just in case, and always, always watch out for the signs. The end is coming, and they must be prepared.
School is Jory's only escape from Caleb's tight grasp, and with the help of new friends Jory begins to explore a world beyond his family's farm. As Jory's friendships grow, Caleb notifies Jory's mother and siblings that the time has come for final preparations.
They begin an exhausting schedule digging a mysterious tunnel in anticipation of the disaster. But as the hold gets deeper, so does the family's doubt about whether Caleb's prophecy is true. When the stark reality of his stepfather's plans becomes clear, Jory must choose between living his own life or following Caleb, shutting his eyes to the bright world he's just begun to see.