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Book Review: The Hole in the Sky by Barbara A. Mahler

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The Hole in the Sky has on its cover an amazing piece of artwork. Created by Katherine Navarette, it is worthy enough to be framed and hung on the wall. When you open that beautiful cover, the front piece contains a map of Murantenland drawn by Joan Swan. The book includes two ribbons for marking your place, perfect for reading along with your child. The included ribbons will stop a reader from turning down the corners to mark their place – a personal pet peeve. When you read the copyright page, you learn that the book is made from mixed sources – well managed forests and recycled paper.

The presentation of the book from its beautiful cover to the map to the book mark ribbons would be a disappointment if the author, Barbara A. Mahler, had not written a story to warrant such an amazing presentation.

The Hole in the Sky is about 13-year old Kaela Neuleaf. She lives with her father, who is a rather sad man after the death of her mother. Kaela is your average teen. She has struggles in school, wondering where she belongs and she dreams of something magical happening to her. Kaela is not alone in her awkwardness; she has her cousin, Shawn, who wears glasses and gets picked on – a lot.

The magical appears to Kaela and Shawn in the form of Netri. Netri is from Murantenland and he helps them go through the hole in the sky. Kaela, it has been determined, is the red haired girl mentioned in the prophecy that will end it all.

The Hole in the Sky was written for 8 to 12 year olds. However, any parent would enjoy reading the book right along with his or her child. There are many themes of love and loss throughout the book that lend themselves to wonderful, thought-filled discussions with your child. The book made me wish I had a young daughter and we could read it together.

A bit slow in the beginning, the story soon picks up speed and carries the reader through an impressive ride through a beautiful new world. When the young reader comes to the end, she will have learned lessons about love and healing. The best part is that the story weaves the lessons in a manner that is not preachy. The Hole in the Sky is the first book in a trilogy. After closing the back cover, I was wishing the second book was available and I believe you will wish the same.

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About Julie Marie Totsch

  • NancyGail

    Whew! If each of those is 300 pages, that’s one LONG novel. Still, this might be interesting to peruse.

  • Barbara Mahler

    Dear Julie,

    Thank you so much for your kind words. I have passed on your review to the artists. I am happy to report that this book was read by a mother/daughter book group of nine-year-olds over the summer and they treasured the story. My hope is that this story will find its way into the hands of all those that will love it.

    Thanks again,