Thoughts on Niskaan putoava taivas

North End - Niskaan putoava taivas
North End – Niskaan putoava taivas
by Laura Lähteenmäki
First published 2012

Niskaan putoava taivas, loosely translated ”The Falling Sky” is a Finnish post-apocalyptic young adult novel. It takes place in the future, after the ”Change” when the natural resources ran out and the winters turned longer and colder. It is the first book in the North End series, from the name of the town where the book takes place.

Fourteen-year-old Tekla is accidentally left home alone with her little brother for a week. At first she’s happy with her newfound freedom with no parents, but quickly she finds out that running the house takes a lot of work. Her brother refuses to go to school. They are running out of heating supplies. She forgets to order food. There’s also something more mysterious going on – who planned the terrorist strike against the North End chocolate factory? Are there people inside the underground storage tunnels?

I was disappointed by the lack of fantasy elements in the book. With minor changes the plot could easily have taken place in our time. The majority of the book is focused on typical teen book themes: moving to a new town and having to start over again; wanting to fit in yet stand out; trying to deal with your annoying little brother whom you still love; wanting to be more grown up than you are. The writing and characterization are solid, so the book is by no means badly written.

Niskaan putoava taivas was too young for me with too little fantasy elements, and I wanted it to be more than it was. This being said, I think the book can work very well for its target group, the younger end of the young adult audience. They can relate to the main character and her problems, and the futuristic elements will be a nice spice.

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