Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Vega's Piece of Sky

Torres, Jennifer. Vega's Piece of Sky
June 11, 2024 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus 

Vega lives in Date City, near the desert, with her brother Felix, who is taking classes at the local community college, and her mother, who runs Tia Clara's market. Her cousin, Mila, is spending the summer with the family, since her parents have decided she needed a change of scenery. Because Vega's grandfather is struggling after an injury, the mother is thinking of selling the store to developers who want to build a cottage community. When there is a fireball and a meterorite falls in the desert, there are a lot of tourists who come looking to find pieces of it. Two of these are Jasper and his dad, who is bound and determined to find pieces and sell them. Vega sells them a map, but decides to head out into the desert on her own in order to find them. She sneaks out at night into the Bobcat Mountain Wilderness, and runs in to Jasper, who has the same idea. The two are fairly prepared for their adventure, but when they happen upon Mila, who followed Vega out, they are dismayed that she is in pajama pants and flip flops, and has brought a telescope and book in her pack instead of food, water, or a flashlight. Things don't go particularly well, especially when Mila falls into a crevice. They manage to get her out, and even find a piece of meteorite, but their progress is definitely impeded. They have to deal with coyotes, rain, a hurt ankle, and even a scorpion that bites Jasper. Luckily, his father has followed the group, but he is only willing to take Jasper back. He's also determined to keep the meteorite, even though Jasper has given it to Vega. Will the girls be able to make it home and save the store? 
Strengths: Vega's desire to save her mother's business, which has been in the family for a long time, is understandable, especially when we learn about more of her motivation concerning her grandfather. She is fairly prepared for her trek into the desert, and I love that she has a scientific bend. Jasper is an intriguing character; his father is a complete jerk, but Jasper ends up being particularly nice. The trek through the desert is well described, and the different obstacles that the children face add to the feeling of suspense. There is a feel good ending to this one, but I don't want to give too many details and spoil it. 
Weaknesses: Note to young readers: Do not sneak out at night. It's a very, very bad idea. Your parents need to know where you are. Do not do this, especially if you are living in the desert, because there are scorpions. Or on Mars. (Think In the Red!)
What I really think: This is a good choice for readers who enjoyed the outdoor adventure of Greenland's Scouts, Bowling's Across the Desert, or Lambert's Distress Signal. Also, I am never, ever going to go into the desert unless I can bring a whole wagonful of supplies!

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