There are books that you read and love and you know will appeal to most people, so they are easy to recommend. Then there are books that you read and love but they are pretty much your own private taste so you recommend them cautiously. Then there are those books that you read and hate so it is easy to tell everyone how awful this book was. But then there is another category that is really hard to deal with. These are the books that you read that are horrifying or depressing or just really dark and somewhat demented and you really like them but you do not want your patrons, co-workers, family, friends, etc. to wonder what is wrong with you!
That is where Laws of the Skies fits in.
A cross between Lord of the Flies and Hansel & Gretel may be a good way to introduce this French translation. A group of 6-year-olds are going on a camping trip with their teacher. Two mothers are along to help. The bus drops them off at the entrance to the woods where they hike to the campsite. La la la. But almost immediately, one of the mothers falls ill and needs to leave, so a husband/father (not hers, she has none in the picture) is called to pick her up. Problem is – he has been drinking since the group left, thinking he is going to have his own little holiday. He is really in no shape to drive, but he can’t say anything or else he’ll be in major trouble. So off he goes. And picks up poor, sick mom. We (the reader) can already imagine where this is heading.
Things are not going well at the campsite either. The mother that helped the ill mother to the road is now lost in the woods. Once again, we (the reader) knows where this is headed.
So now it’s just the teacher and the six-year-olds. And one of the boys does not want to sit and listen to campfire stories while the teacher worries about the mother. So then the boy gets punished. So now this boy is very, very angry. Yes, we (the reader) by now knows where this is headed.
But I assure you, you do not.