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A Tinfoil Sky

A Tinfoil Sky

4.0 2
by Cyndi Sand-Eveland

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Katie Mitchell
Mel is moving for the eleventh time in four years, but her mother, Cecily, promises that this time will be different. When the duo reach Riverview and a less-than-welcome reception by the only family they have left, it quickly becomes clear that this will be another one of Cecily's broken promises. With nowhere to go and no job prospects, Mel and Cecily use their broken-down Pinto wagon as a makeshift home. Mel finds solace in the library and at a local soup kitchen, while Cecily returns to drinking and shoplifting. Almost inevitably, Mel's worst fear is realized when Cecily fails to return to their campsite. While Mel finds that there are adults who are willing to look out for her, she misses Cecily and waits for the day when they will be reunited. A Tinfoil Sky tells an underrepresented story: that of teens who find themselves and their families homeless. Sand-Eveland's biographic information says that she has worked with homeless youth in the past, and it is apparent that many of the stories she heard became part of Mel's experience; however, unrealistic plot devices weaken the story, particularly that twelve-year-old Mel is able to secure a job at the library doing storytimes. A Tinfoil Sky attempts to address too many of the myriad issues of homelessness, leaving the bulk of the characters relatively flat and several of the plot lines didactic or extraneous. Reviewer: Katie Mitchell
Children's Literature - Jodell Sadler
This novel hits exclamation points when it comes to showing the fragility of the human condition and the true meaning of home. We often hear that the home is where your heart is, but this novel explores what a girl has to do when her heart is trying to exist in two places at once. Where does her heart lie? Will Mel hang on as her mother, Cecily, continues down a wrong path? Will she find security with a grandmother that doesn't want her? What is the breaking point? Will her mother return to a bad relationship or kick her addictions? Will Mel really accept living out of the car after her grandmother turns her away? This story is about letting go of one period in your life to break free, start fresh and new. After eating in a soup kitchen, living on her own under a bridge, Mel is taken in by authorities and forced to live with a grandmother who does not want her. She appears in court and is asked what she needs, and Mel tells the judge all she needs is a library card. Readers will be amazed what one library card does to change her life, but of course, the son of the librarian helps a bit, too. Reviewer: Jodell Sadler
From the Publisher
  “…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.”
National Post

“…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

School Library Journal
Gr 4–8—Mel's troubled mom, Cecily, says to the 12-year-old, "we're going home." Home is where Grandma Gladys lives, in an apartment with tinfoil in the windows. Mel has never had a real home and is looking forward to the move—until Gladys won't answer the door and shouts to her daughter, "Go away!...There isn't anything left in here for you to steal." Their car breaks down just outside town and Mel and her mom live out of it, going to a soup kitchen and begging for handouts. And then one day, Mel's mom doesn't return, having been caught shoplifting. After being homeless for several days, the girl is found and taken to her Grandma's house-except Gladys makes it obvious that she does not want her there. While Mel counts the days until her mother's release from jail, Gladys's feelings toward her granddaughter slowly soften. Supporting characters include a concerned soup-kitchen worker, a caring librarian, and Mel's first real friend. This heartwarming story is a strong debut. Recommend it to fans of Richard Peck's A Year Down Yonder (Dial, 2000).—Melissa Stock, Arapahoe Library District, Englewood, CO

Product Details

Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Related Subjects

Meet 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.

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A Tinfoil Sky 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
epicrat More than 1 year ago
Simple is as simple does, A Tinfoil Sky does not have a whole lot going on – at least, when I sit back and contemplate the book for this review, I cannot recall anything remarkable. Which can be viewed as a problem, yes? Let’s see, A Tinfoil Sky is about a girl who ends up in the custory of her ornery grandmother (more or less, a stranger) because her no-good mother lands in jail. After living with bad men to even worse men that her mother manages to find, Mel finally has a place to call “home” and the town inexplicably looking out for her well-being. It almost seems too good to be true, and I wonder if the other homeless youths are treated just as kindly. A Tinfoil Sky seems almost too-good-to-be-true in my mind, and I wish there had been more interactions between Mel and more local kids to get a better gauge of how unfortunate Mel’s life is. This book may be worth a gander, but I fear that A TINFOIL SKY may leave readers with more questions than satisfaction.
bookworm3390 More than 1 year ago
A Tinfoil Sky by Cyndi Sand-Eveland is a beautiful heartwarming novel about a young girl and her quest to find a home. Twelve year old Mel and her mother Cecily move around. A lot. Mel has gotten used to singing on the street for money and the numerous broken promises that Cecily showers her with. But one day when Cecily never comes back Mel has to face harsh changes. This novel was at times hard to read because of the level of emotions that Mel has about her situation and what is happening to her in her life. What I found insightful was the level of believability about the emotions in the book. Her experiences as with homeless youth brought a new level to the writing. Overall, I thought this was an excellent book. It had a nice pace and interest in finding out what will happen next that will keep younger readers interested. It will also bring awareness to the readers about these children. Very excellent read!