Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 12 to 18
- Grade: 7 to 12
Mel and her mother, Cecily, know what it’s like to live rough, whether it’s on the streets or in the apartment of an abusive man.When Cecily announces that they’ve had enough and that they are going to go home to her mother’s, Mel dreams of security, a comfortable bed, and a grandmother’s love seem to be about to come true. But some mistakes cannot be easily forgiven or erased. Her grandmother is not what Mel expects, and though the local library offers sanctuary, a real home seems beyond her grasp. Mel’s determination to rise above what fate has dealt is about to change that.
Cyndi Sand-Eveland’s work with homeless youth gives her characters an authenticity no reader will forget. Ultimately, a story of hope and acceptance, A Tinfoil Sky is a powerful, can’t-putit- down novel.
About the author
Cyndi Sand-Eveland has worked with children as a teaching assistant, freelance storyteller, children’s library assistant, sign language interpreter, and ESL tutor. She lives on a farm outside of Nelson, British Columbia.
“…Sand-Eveland’s gritty, riveting second novel…. Mel’s restrained narration has a blunt eloquence; her voice is all the more gripping for being understated. Through subtle shifts in tone and perspective, Eveland-Sand movingly shows how Mel’s stoicism gives way to the cautious hope that she can actually realize her dreams, not abandon them as her mother has done.”
“…this touching picture of a child torn between her need for a stable home and her love for her troubled mother feels deeply authentic … this depiction of wounded people forming healing bonds goes straight to the heart.”
“…a gritty and moving follow-up to her 2008 debut, Dear Toni…. Sand-Eveland doesn’t shy away from the reality of life on the streets….”
—Quill & Quire
“…Cyndi Sand-Eveland has written a highly readable, insightful, and engrossing story…. Mel’s voice is powerful…. A Tinfoil Sky is a must-buy for public and school library collections alike….”
—Highly Recommended, CM Magazine
A Tinfoil SkySand-Eveland’s second novel tells the gritty story of 12-year-old Mel Tulley who wants, more than anything else, a place she can call home. Mel and her chain-smoking, alcoholic mother Cecily have lived a semi-nomadic life, moving 11 times in the past four years. Now, fleeing Cecily’s latest deadbeat boyfriend, Cecily tells Mel it is time to go home to Gladys, Cecily’s mother and Mel’s grandmother. The word home exerts a powerful pull on Mel, but Gladys wants nothing to do with her delinquent daughter and Mel’s hopes are crushed. Instead of finding a home, Mel and Cecily end up stranded in their broken-down Pinto on the outskirts of town.
Mel’s life is changed forever when Cecily is arrested and sent to jail for shoplifting and Mel is ordered to live with Gladys in the dilapidated apartment where all the windows are covered with tinfoil. Mel asks for and is given a library card — “a ticket into the world she longed for” — and despite the odds, she begins to create a life and a home for herself.
A Tinfoil Sky is a messy, heart-wrenching story. Sand-Eveland does an admirable job of not flinching from the harsh realities of Mel’s life. Her vivid, descriptive prose clearly depicts a precarious world where love, family and home are elusive propositions. Yet the story never descends into bleakness and Mel finds many friends among the supporting cast of characters. Young readers will root for the resilient and practical Mel as she cautiously begins to build a life, holding onto her hopes and dreams despite her circumstances. Tackling a challenging topic, Sand-Eveland deftly weaves hope amidst the hurt and the story has the ring of authenticity to which young readers will respond.
Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Fall 2012. Volume 35 No. 4.
A Tinfoil SkyMel and her mom Cecily don’t have a home. When Cecily announces that they are moving to her mother’s, Mel hopes that things will finally be different. But when Mel’s grandmother refuses to let them in, they are forced to live in their broken-down station wagon. After Cecily is arrested, Mel goes to live with her grandmother and finds sanctuary in the local library.
Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Spring, 2012.
Not an Easy TopicNot an easy topic to read, but the author creates an amazing book that touches the subject with sincerity, honesty and heart. The characters are courageous, proud and very believable. The story is powerful and at times difficult to understand why a grandparent can not welcome their grandchild with open arms. The title lends to a very poignant scene where Mel discovers so much about life in her grandmother's presence. Mel's escape to libraries tells the readers about the value of a library in one's life and how a library setting is a safe escape from reality.
Overall, an excellent book that touches a difficult subject with brilliance and warmth.