Welcome to one of the many stops on the book blitz for The Weight of the Sky by Caroline Schley, organized by XPresso Book Tours. There’s a full tour coming, too, so keep your eyes open for that. For now, look for other participating in this blitz across social media and on your favourite bookish blogs May 21-27 and don’t forget to enter the giveaway! #YoungAdult #teensread #YALit #carolineschley #BookWorm #XpressoTours
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About the Book
The Weight of the Sky
by Caroline Schley
Published 20 May 2021
Genre: YA Contemporary
Page Count: 308
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
For every important decision in her life, fifteen-year-old Chris Miller relies on silence rather than courage. In her rough Bridgeport neighborhood, Chris bites her tongue when her best friend gets sent to juvenile detention for a crime she didn’t commit. As a scholarship kid at St. Catherine’s Prep, Chris acquiesces to ‘drinkstagram’ at tony sleepover parties. At home with her overbearing mother, she swallows her questions about her father’s identity. Chris understands that quiet insecurity isn’t the most valiant approach to life, but it gets her through the day unscathed. Until she’s sexually assaulted.
In the aftermath, Chris’s tenuous happiness crumbles alongside her grades, yet she can’t find the courage to report the assault. At a crossroads, Chris is forced to volunteer at an afterschool program for low-income families to maintain her scholarship. Catapulted back to the very neighborhood she struggled to escape, Chris finds her family thrust into the crosshairs of a gang war. When one of the students from her afterschool program is put at risk, Chris discovers just how much damage her silence can cause. Ultimately, she must decide if she will remain quiet as others call the shots and remain a victim or if she can forge the strength to stand up, speak the truth and call herself a survivor.
Chris clutched at her necklace as she walked up the campus steps. She thrust open the double doors and crossed the threshold of the building into a hive of activity. At the center of it all was a plastic folding table adorned with a St. Catherine’s banner. Chris approached a blonde woman perched on a metal chair, a large pile of papers in front of her and an eager smile on her face.
“Hi. I’m Ms. Engel. Welcome to St. Catherine’s. Name and grade?”
“Hi. Chris Miller. Sophomore. Well, going to be a sophomore. Starting next week.” Chris pinched the inside of her cheek with her teeth to force herself to stop talking as Ms. Engel dove into the stack of papers in front of her.
“Great. Here’s your schedule. Oh, I’ll be your advisor.” The woman clapped at the last sentence as though it was the best news she’d heard all day. Chris bit back a laugh, thinking of her advisor last year at Bridgeport High. Mr. Ortiz had never clapped a day that Chris had known him. Instead, he used their advisory block as a time to lecture them about the statistical probability that they would end up in jail, emphasizing his words with a dour expression that conveyed every second of his thirty years in the public school system.
Ms. Engel continued talking as she pushed the schedule across the table. “Here, check your classes; let me know if anything seems off. Otherwise, one of our volunteer student mentors will show you around in just a minute.”
Chris gripped the paper. “Thanks.” She headed towards a bench as she scanned the course titles, teachers and rooms for each period. AP Biology was there, very first thing.
A willowy girl with white-blond hair, Everest-high cheekbones and a small, defiant chin approached Chris, wearing a large tag that read “Mentor”. Her skin glowed with a soft almond shade that Chris’s mother had always called country club tan. It was not a compliment. Chris couldn’t help but look down at her own arm, pale from too many summer days inside reading or working at Sol y Mar. She thought the tan looked perfect.
“Hi! I’m Sterling.” Sterling? “Welcome to St. Catherine’s. Do you need some help figuring out your schedule?” She wedged in next to Chris without waiting for a response and started to read over her shoulder.
“Wow, you’re in AP Bio? And you’re new? I didn’t even know that was, like, allowed.” The girl popped her gum and frowned at the paper.
“Oh. I’m…sort of…going to see. Hi. I’m Chris.”
Sterling continued to scan the schedule as she spoke. “Right, hi. Ugh, Period 2 PE is the worst. You should bring dry shampoo.” She folded the rectangle of paper and handed it back as Chris added dry shampoo to her mental list of things to worry about.
“Did you just move here?” Sterling’s voice held an edge of boredom as her hand etched over the screen of her phone. “I’m just going to pull up a picture of this dry shampoo, it’s called R+Co Death Valley and it’s amazing. If you buy it through my Instagram code, it’s ten percent off.”
“Oh…ahh, thanks. No, I’ve lived in Bridgeport my whole life.” Chris had hardly ever even been anywhere else. Her mother had taken them on one vacation to Cape Cod. They’d waited until the summer prices dropped and all Chris remembered was the glacial October rain sweeping in off the Atlantic Ocean.
Sterling arched an eyebrow. “In Bridgeport? Where did you go to school before?”
“Last year I went to Bridgeport High.”
“Like the public school?” The eyebrow twitched.
Chris wanted to melt into the bench as she nodded. She felt the cheap fabric of her jeans rub against the insides of her knees. Her dark hair, which she’d brushed until it shone that morning, looked wilted and sad next to Sterling’s crisp ponytail. The gold chain looped around her neck seemed feeble and impotent compared to the chunky jewelry that accented Sterling’s slender body. As Sterling gestured into her next sentence, Chris noted a thick, metal watch glinting on her wrist in a sea of hefty bangles. Chris fought the urge to slip off the fabric band of her secondhand Timex and burn it in the gold-plated trashcan.
“What was that like?”
Chris didn’t know what to compare it to. She had been terrified there. There was a metal detector to pass through every morning, and police cruisers lined up outside school every afternoon.
“It was…okay, if you knew how to mind your own business, I guess.”
Sterling giggled. “Well, welcome to St. Catherine’s. Good luck minding your own business. Most of us have been here since like, kindergarten and we’re all are nosy as fuck.”
About the Author
I am a writer, teacher and outdoor enthusiast, always looking for a new adventure.
Originally from New York City, I have also lived in China, New Zealand and Spain. I’m on a constant quest for the best food and views in the world. Some of my favorite places are the GR 221 in Mallorca, the top floor of the Musee D’Orsay in Paris and the window seat on a Fifth Avenue bus in Manhattan.
I’m have received comprehensive work training in a large variety of fields including political street canvassing, freelance writing, white water rafting, latte making, childcare and secondary science education.
I have an undergraduate Magna Cum Laude degree in Environmental Science with a focus in Hydrology from CU-Boulder and a graduate degree in Secondary Science Education from NYU. I’ve served as an NSTA New Teacher Fellow, a Jhumpki Basu Fellow and participated in the Jane Goodall Roots and Shoots Training program.
I’ve just completed my first YA contemporary manuscript and I’m seeking agent and publisher representation.
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