Infinite Sky
C. J. Flood

A truly beautiful book about the summer that changed one girl's life - one in which her mum leaves home, travellers set up camp in the family's field, her older brother goes off the rails, and she falls in love for the very first time. Opening with a funeral, Iris is mourning the boy in the casket - but who is it? Sam, her tearaway brother, or Trick, her tentative boyfriend? Over one long hot summer, we find out just how their three lives were turned upside-down.

"CJ Flood has a gift for small, purposeful details: settings, such as the charmed hollow in the cornfield where Iris and Trick meet on lazy mornings, or the riotous paddock at night... are quietly but brilliantly visual and full of feeling." Simon Mason The Guardian

"It's clear from the start of CJ Flood's debut novel, Infinite Sky, that you're not in for an easy ride." Martin Chilton, The Daily Telegraph
Agnes, from St James Catholic High School

Infinite Sky is a touching and powerful tale about a young girl Iris, or Eye (as in ball), as she is nicknamed by her father and brother, whose life and that of her family are turned on its head when a family of gypsies move into the fields opposite their house. Iris’s dad is certain that the gypsies are going to be trouble and leave mess on more than their land. What with their oh so social, partially perfect mother having left them three months earlier, to find herself, the possibility of something going horribly wrong is heavily hanging in the air.

As the story unfolds Iris develops a “why not” unsafe curiosity toward the gypsies son, Trick, who later becomes her summer interest. The capacity for a horrible outcome increases as Eye’s brother enters the equation.

I greatly enjoyed this book for several reasons. One being the amount of heart touching and realistic events which had me and I presume many other readers, saddened by, laughing with and worried about the characters in the book and that will stay with me for a long time.

Alex, from Jewish Community Secondary School

Infinite Sky is a book of many faces; love, darkness, passion and action all under one cover! 

When Iris’s mother leaves the house, everyday life changes forever.

From a very strange and unsettling starting point of Iris mourning over a coffin containing an unknown body, the reader is in for a road trip of adventure as Iris’s life transform’s over six weeks of holiday.

Iris starts a secret friendship with Trick; the gypsy boy whose family has set up camp illegally in the paddock next to her house.

Iris, her father and brother Sam are trying to deal with the disappearance of their mother and life has become incredibly hard.

Iris is the family peacemaker, her father, a drinker and her brother Sam who’s angry and possibly depressed following the departure of their mother. Their home life is difficult with a father who can’t cope and who hates the gypsies, which makes for a bad relationship with his daughter. To add to this mess, towards the end of the book Sam falls in with the wrong friends and violence erupts. Ending with a boy in a coffin. But which boy is it?

This is an emotional roller coaster. A book about ordinary people that is an extraordinary read. This book provides a painting through the authors’ ability to describe the setting so well. A thoroughly enjoyable read even if the subject matter was quite difficult.

Amber, from Wren Academy Barnet

I personally think this book is amazingly written as it is a heart breaking and emotional tale of a girl called Iris. This book shows the first time she experiences love, romance, and also loss. When Iris​'s mum leaves home everything starts to go wrong as her brother Sam starts to develop these horrible anger issues and her dad trying to keep all his emotions together.  She accidentally bumps into a boy. Could this be her boyfriend?  This book is devastating and it will make you cry and but it is a stunning read. 

Amelia, from Wren Academy Barnet

Infinite Sky is a very slow paced novel. Its characters are believable and sometimes their situations are easy to relate to. Its touching scenes will draw the attention and heart of every reader.

When Iris’s mother leaves her dad, the family is left in a vulnerable position.  Iris feels alone. Her older brother Sam is no longer any help to her and has become reckless and aggressive following the difficult experience of the family breakdown. To make matters worse, a family of gypsies decide to set up camp in their field. This leads to her Dad becoming even more absent as he devotes all his time to trying to evict the unwanted visitors. Unfortunately the only help and safety Iris can find is in her new friendship with the Gypsy boy, Trick.

There is no clear antagonist, as every character in the book has their own problems and difficulties which effect them greatly in the course of the story. However there is a key sense of conflict which appears in every chapter. Be it Iris opposing her Dad on the matter of the Gypsies, or even Iris’s brother, Sam, being opposed by his own conscience on account of his recent choices. The theme of split loyalties also pops up on many occasions, and is a problem that not only Iris feels, but also the reader, as they struggle to work out who is in the right, and who deserves their sympathy. In one particular scene, Iris is forced to witness a fight between her brother and Trick, her best friend. In this case, the heart of the reader turns to Iris, though the mind is still  roaming between Sam and Trick, and on which to support.

A moving tale of a love and friendship in the midst of difficult circumstances.

Aran, from Jewish Community Secondary School

Infinite Sky is slow book to begin with, but as I got further and further in, it got more and more interesting and harder to put down.

The start of this book is set at a funeral of a boy. Not much is given away, but it is told that he was under 16, and inferred that he should not have died at that age. Throughout the novel, more and more information is gained about who it might be, but it is not until the end that I found out for sure who owned the body lying in the oversized coffin.

Iris, the main character of the book, is amazed when at the start of the summer holidays; she finds that travellers have set up camp on their land. Her father is very against this, so when one day she meets Trick and they decide to meet up often, they must do it secretively. The whole book is about their experiences together even Iris finds it hard to keep up with the meetings, especially with other things going on in her life as well like her brother beginning a change for the worse.

Personally, I thought the basic, overall storyline was rather disappointing and needed some work. However, I think that what C.J. Flood was trying to achieve when writing this was small, intricate details. This was effective in a unique way which really gave an image of what was happening consistently, but nonetheless I believe the story could’ve been a lot better with a more interesting plot. On the other hand, I think that another thing which worked well for C.J. Flood was that this book was well written. I thought this particularly stood out nearer the end, when the plot became an intense page-turner which I could barely put down - if you stick with the book for a little bit more I think it gets a lot better. This is because the author (in my opinion) wrote the later parts of the book very well.

Overall, I think that this book had two flaws: the overall plot wasn’t great and it was hard to get into. However, if you put those aside by reading a little further into the book, I think this novel by C.J. Flood gets a lot better. I would recommend it to anyone 11+ looking for a novel to make them think, not just any quick read.

Arthur, from Wren Academy Barnet

Infinite Sky tells the tale of an extremely memorable summer for the young girl Iris. Throughout the story we discover that Iris’s mother has left her, her brother and their father. Soon after her mother leaves a group of gypsies settle in the paddock outside Iris’s house. To her family the gypsies are just a group of thieving pikeys but Iris is fascinated by them. She watches them from the window of her house and soon meets the only son of the gypsy family.

The boy, called Trick (short for Patrick). Meets Iris and they become friends.

Meanwhile Iris’s father is focused on getting rid of the gypsies and controlling Iris and her brother, who has gone of the rails and met a boy called Punky who Iris and her father see as nothing but trouble.

Infinite Sky is an amazing book that can have you feeling genuinely angry, sad or happy at the events in the book. The plot takes amazing twists. The book is written beautifully and convinces you that it is almost the exact thought track of a child as she goes through these events. It builds the characters up amazingly and allows you to see entire world, as far as Iris is concerned, through her eyes. 

Overall Infinite Sky is an amazing book that I recommend it to anyone who would consider reading it.

Bea, from Wren Academy Barnet

I must say, this book must win the prize for the most clichéd title I've ever read. But the plot definitely doesn't follow that suit. 

The book begins ominously, with Iris (the main character) mourning over a casket containing a body unknown to the reader. Is it her boyfriend or her brother? Which part of her life has been destroyed by this death? This death creates a mystery for the whole book to work from, without overshadowing the story with fear and misery. In love and in hope, the book tells the story of Iris's erratic summer.

This story is partially told in the contrast between the life of Iris' family, and the traveller family who have taken residence in a field by their house. Whilst Iris' family dislike the traveller family, they're presented as a together, loving family in comparison to Iris' broken home. As the two families find it more and more difficult to stay stuck in their opposite lives, split loyalties arise and this becomes a theme throughout the novel, shown right from the start in the mystery of the occupant of the coffin.

The course of this book could be compared to different strings of wool. There are different stories all running together to create a complex and developed story. It makes for an emotional ride through the novel but a compelling one all the same.

Caterina, from St James Catholic High School

Infinite Sky is a fantastic book about friendships and family. I really got immersed in Iris’ story, so much so that the ending was a real shock and a tear jerker. I loved the scene where Trip and Iris are in the river with the dragonfly. I think the book on the whole was wonderfully written.

5 stars!

Charlotte, from Jewish Community Secondary School

I really enjoyed this book about family, friendship and tolerance.  The main character is Iris.  She is an unhappy teenager because her mother left her, her brother and her dad when she and her brother were little.  You find out that somebody dies in the first chapter and the suspense builds as you wait to find out who was killed and by whom.

The story is set in Derbyshire on a farm.  Gypsies move into the fields beside the farm where Iris lives and despite the prejudice of her father and brother, she becomes best friends with the oldest son, Gypsy boy Patrick, aka 'Trick'. As the story unfolds, you discover that Trick and Sam (Iris' brother) do not get along.  There is a terrible loss at the end of this book and let's just say, finishing this book was also a terrible loss. 

Thank you for introducing this book to me because I would never have read it otherwise.

Charlotte, from Wren Academy Barnet

Infinite Sky is a beautifully written book that captured my heart as soon as I opened the first page. The range of characters could make anyone interested, as there is someone who is similar to most people that we know. The very human nature of all of the characters makes the story almost familiar so when Iris, Sam and Trick are introduced, I could see them very easily for the sort of people they are portrayed as. The ending, I am not ashamed to say, had me in tears.

Cydney, from Jewish Community Secondary School

Infinite Sky started as a very slow read but once you delve deeper into the book you uncovered many secrets and lies…

Iris (the main character) is a young girl. Her mother recently moved out of their home and now she is alone with her father and brother Sam. She leads quite an average life until gypsies move into the field opposite her house. After this happens life becomes tense for Iris and her family and finally someone gets killed during a frightening encounter.

The first couple of lines in Infinite Sky are “You can’t tell that the coffin holds the body of a boy. He wasn’t even 16, but his coffin’s the same size as a man’s would be.” I feel these two lines show so many feelings and emotions. It shows that he was too young to die, and that if it could have been prevented, it should have been and it is such a tragedy that a boy died so young. 

One of my favourite quotation in the whole novel is at the end of the first chapter, it reads, “Is it possible to keep loving someone when they kill someone you love?” I feel this is very strong and it is trying to send a big message over to us. Personally I find this is preparing us for the death later on in the book. This quotation also creates mixed emotions. Iris cant helped but love her boyfriend Trick but on the other hand she wants to hate him…   

C.J.Flood made this book an exciting read with many twists and turns in the plot. 

This romance/teary drama will take you on an emotional roller-coaster of a journey.  

In my opinion I found this book an exciting read but I feel this wasn’t usual reading style so I found it very hard to get into. The end of the book gets you really apprehensive and you will defiantly not want to put this book down.

Infinite Sky is a very original book, unlike any others I have read before and I really enjoyed how this book has allowed me to explore another sides of reading.  

My star rating for this book would be a 3 out of 5 as I found the book extremely entertaining and enjoyable but not one of the best books I have read so far.

Dana, from Jewish Community Secondary School

Infinite Sky is a heart-thrilling book written by C.J Flood. This disconcerting book is about a curious girl called Iris who lives with her brother and father on Silverweed Farm. One day, some gypsies mysteriously appeared on their paddock, and their father was not pleased at all. He forbids Iris and her brother to go near them. Iris, being her inquisitive self, of course wanted to know more, so she decided to sneak up on them. But, things didn't go quite to plan, and she ended up being caught by the striking “gypsy boy”, Trick. Things took off from there, but right when Iris thought everything was going to turn out fine, Trick started to get a bit incomprehensible. She ignored it, wanting more from Trick, rather than just being friends. But, things went even more pear-shaped, and Iris had to face one of the biggest tragedies in her life. Will she get through it? That’s for you to find out.

Infinite Sky gripped me and touched me a lot. I liked this book because it was extremely tense and had little clues that ended up being fitted together at the very end like a giant puzzle. It would be suitable for both genders above the age of 9, and is reality genre. I would rate this book 3 ½ stars out of 5. 

Daniel, from University College School London

This book is a romantic drama. It tells the story of a thirteen-year-old called Iris, she lives with her father and brother Sam. Her mum left a few years earlier and ever since the family has been slowly falling apart. Sam smokes, drinks and hangs out with bad people. Her Dad is a drunk most of the time and doesn’t clean, leaving the house messy all the time.

One day Iris sees something interesting out her window, a caravan pulls up, out comes a family of gypsies. Iris is very interested by them and watches them a lot. But one person catches her eye… a boy called Trick. They start meeting with each other in secret as Iris’s Dad wants the gypsies gone and Trick’s dad hates Iris’s dad. They meet every night and speak to each other (and more). But Sam finds out that Iris is with a gypsy and is not happy at all. Sam and his group of trouble makers, Dean and Punky always try to fight with Trick. Iris’s dad finds out about Trick and Iris and threatens Trick’s family if Trick ever touches Iris. One day Sam and his mates take it too far and a fight starts. Punky has a knife and Dean and Sam are also attacking Trick, and as you can guess something goes wrong.

This was more enjoyable then I thought. When I first saw it I did not have high hopes. But the author managed to make the book more exciting and interesting as you get to the last couple of paragraphs. You could understand all the family’s problems, and you could see how unlucky they are and how nothing has really gone right. Although one thing I question is that if you read the back of the book the quotations say the coldest person will shed a tear. I’m not a cold person but I never felt like I wanted to cry, yes the book gets sad but if it was meant to make you cry it didn’t do that (although I do not know whether this was the newspaper’s fault or the book for the quotation). This book overall was a good read so it gets 8/10.

Debbie, from Wren Academy Barnet

This book showed the harsh separation of Iris, the main character’s, parents, and what her brother, dad and herself went through when a group of gypsies came. Iris couldn’t resist meeting a boy from the gypsies, even if her dad opposed. 

I did not expect the ending to be as it is! I have a love hate relationship with this book because at the beginning, there wasn’t a hook to make me keep reading, as there wasn’t a secure storyline to start with, but as the story started to approach the end, it made me keep reading. Moreover, this book had a prologue, and it was a deep one, which made me wonder why it would start out with a prologue like this and I got interested to read the book. At first, I wasn’t quite into the book, so I flicked through, to get a fair idea of what might happen, but a plot twist came and it made me more intrigued. 

The description of certain scenes was very detailed and I felt I could get the picture. I feel the end managed to save the book (no spoilers!!☺) and it started out as quite a predictable romance story, but C.J Flood turned this into a bond of sibling-loving relationship.

This book is for those just slightly older teens (because of certain words) and those who like romance.

Dylan, from Queen Elizabeth's Boys School, Barnet

Infinite Sky is a beautifully written story that I loved very much and found it a change to the normal action books that I prefer. It is about first love and loss. It is a book that carries something that is a sad but happy loss and has many folds that unfurl through the book. The language is simple and easy to understand which makes it an interesting read (as in some books the author tries to put in too much effort and ends up spoiling it).

It is about Iris who starts off as a mystery character from the beginning, but we know she has to endure the loss of her mum, her brother acting strangely and her dad drinking. You sympathise due to the way the author presents her, sad at home and school. A group of Irish gypsies settle nearby, agravating her dad, but she notices a boy going into the wilderness and is intrigued by him.

As time goes on they get to know each other in a weirdly presented relationship, but due to the family differences they cannot keep it secret. This part is written well and actually brings out the tragedy of the situation.

Infinite Sky is a book that you can lose yourself in. It’s poignant, moving and has a life all of its own. Highly recommended. You can read it and you will be moved, a great book for people who liked The Fault In Our Stars. Aimed at young adults and teenagers.

Emily, from Jewish Community Secondary School

I recently read the book Infinite Sky by C.J Flood. It was a very enjoyable and captivating novel. The story follows Iris, an adventurous teen, and her family. After her mum leaves, her brother Sam goes off the rails. To top it off, travellers set up camp in their front garden leaving Iris's dad furious and angry. 

Then Iris meets Trick; the odd-eyed traveller boy. They strike up a friendship, but when Sam and Iris' dad find out about Trick, and Sam decides to get involved with his new friends, shots are fired and Iris finds herself wondering, 'Is it possible to keep loving somebody why they kill someone you love?'

Infinite Sky combines the joy of adventure with the harsh reality that surrounds us. I think this book is great for people who enjoy coming of age tales with hard truths but a heartfelt and meaningful plot.

Emma, from Jewish Community Secondary School

Infinite Sky starts as quite a slow read with nothing much happening. However towards the middle/end of the book, it becomes a real page turner that you can’t put down.

Infinite Sky is about a girl called Iris who lives with her older brother, Sam, and her father. Three months after Iris’s mum leaves her family to explore the world, gypsies move into their paddock. The book is about Iris’s relationship with a gypsy boy, Trick, their secret meetings and how this affects her family and friends.

My favourite part of this novel is the unexpected ending, which leaves you shocked and almost in tears. Overall I enjoyed this book but I think it could have been improved by a more action packed beginning.

Fred, from University College School London

This is CJ Flood’s first book. It is about a girl Iris. Her mum left to travel the world so she is left alone with her grumpy had and her irresponsible brother Sam. When some gypsies move into their paddock her dad goes crazy but Iris is curious. When she goes to discover more about the gypsies she starts an unlikely relationship with the gypsy boy. They meet in secret in fear of their parents finding out. Life is at a high for Iris until her dad tries to forcefully move them. Then chaos breaks out and there is a cruel twist in fate for Iris’s family.

I again did not particularly enjoy this book as it is not the type of genre I like. I prefer action-packed thrillers instead of romantic lover books. However, I did enjoy bits of it and I really felt for Iris. I thought that CJ Flood did an excellent job in making the reader empathize with Iris and that made me want to finish the book to see how it ended.

There are four main characters in the book. First is Iris a girl that is thirteen years old but her dad treats her much younger. She falls in love with Trick and loves to see him as it distracts her from her real life. Second is Iris’s dad; he is lonely as Iris’s mum had left him and he is a huge alcoholic. He takes his anger out on Iris and her brother Sam. Sam has ‘lost his way’ and has started hanging out with the wrong people. He and his gang are always causing trouble. Lastly is the gypsy boy called Trick. He is a kind loving person who has a lot to say but also loves to listen. It is this that Iris loves so much about him as they can talk to each other about anything that they want. They spend most of the summer together in a corn den they made and head down to the river to cool down. 

Although I did not particularly enjoy this book I would recommend it to anyone who likes reading romantic books as it is well written and has lots of twist and turns that keep you out of your seat. I would give it a 5 out of 5 on the written side for reasons I said above but as I didn’t really enjoy it I would give it a 3 out of 5 overall.

Guy, from University College School London

Infinite Sky is is wonderful book written by C.J.Flood. It is based on a young girl, Iris, and her life. She lives with her dad and her brother, Sam. The story is all about her secret love of a gypsy who lives with his family unwanted in her garden. She has a small dog called Fiasco, he was named Fiasco because he was very hard to train.

Iris loves the gypsy, whose family has parked their caravan in her family’s back yard. They both find themselves in a forbidden love because both the parents ban them from seeing each other. However, this doesn't stop Iris and Trick, the gypsy, from meeting in their secret hiding place under a “special” tree. Iris then falls out with her best friend Matty because she keeps spending lots of time with Trick instead of her. In other words Iris finds herself in a awkward position that she loses all her closest friends by falling in love with Trick.

Iris’s dad runs a repair truck but has recently lost his driving license so he needs his helper to drive the truck. Her dad was very close to his son, Sam who recently turned bad. It is this relationship and the fact that Iris’s dad is very prejudiced that the story turns to tragedy and the doomed lovers are torn apart.

Sam has rowed with his best friend Benjy and has wrongly become friends with Punky, a small time crook coming from a family of deadly criminals. He wins Sam over and makes him do things that normally he wouldn't do by offering him lots of cigarettes. This tears the friendship between him and his dad apart, until he dies ‘cruelly’ and they are united in death.

I rate this book 9/10 because it really held my attention. 

Hannah, from Wren Academy Barnet

Infinite Sky is a thought-provoking novel written by C.J. Flood. It starts at a funeral where a young girl is mourning the death of a boy and as the story unfolds, you find out about the people it could be. It leaves you guessing, which just grips you even more.

Everyday life changes when Iris’s mother leaves her and her brother with their Dad. There is no longer any order in the household and things are getting a bit hectic. Gypsies have just made themselves at home in the paddock next to Iris’s house. Her dad is angry, but Iris doesn’t see the problem. In fact she finds herself being friends with the boy next door, even if he is there illegally! As Iris and Trick get closer and closer, things at home are just getting worse and worse. Dad is going off and getting drunk almost always, and Sam (Iris’s brother) is hanging around with the wrong people and getting himself in trouble. When Dad’s shed is burgled, he is convinced it was the gypsies, but it wasn’t, it was someone much closer to home - Sam.  Once he finds out. Dad is shocked and tries to keep Sam at home, but he has other ideas. He sneaks out and is met by his “friends”, only to find his sister with Trick. A huge fight breaks out…

To me, the antagonist is Iris as Infinite Sky is based on her family life, and her relationship with Trick, but it does follow the paths of many characters. It shows things from Sam’s point of view when he opens up to Iris. It also follows Trick’s path throughout the whole book through his meeting with Iris.

It is a story about romance and friendship, even during difficult times. The beginning of the book had quite a slow pace, but it grew throughout the plot and the ending was totally unexpected. Which I loved! The story definitely moved me and it was done before I knew it as I couldn’t put it down. I would rate it an 8/10 because of its pretty slow start, however it did get really good further on and I’d say it is for mainly older readers. I think C.J. Flood is a great author and I would love to read some more from her.

Harleigh, from Wren Academy Barnet

I think that Infinite Sky was a very interesting but kind of confusing. I felt that there were too many main characters, but the story line was very clear. I was surprised by how the book turned out in the end as I thought that it would end in a completely different way and I wasn’t particularly impressed by the way it ended.

Jessica, from Jewish Community Secondary School

To start off with, I thought Infinite Sky was a really dull book and it took ages to get to the actual story then, however, what I realised was you have to stick with it for it to get exciting. Once I actually got into the main story I thought it was amazing and I seriously could NOT put it down! I really enjoyed this book because I liked how it was really exciting even though it was set in real life. There was also a mix of genres in it. Sometimes I felt scared (Punky and Leanne were very frightening!) and sometimes I felt very upset (like at Sam’s funeral.) I would recommend this book to people my age and above as I think this book can be enjoyed by both genders.

Joanna, from Jewish Community Secondary School

It took me a while to get into Infinite Sky because there wasn’t much action until the end. I liked Iris and I like it when authors make you get annoyed at a character when they do something you want them to do, or not to do. I can see why people like this book and would probably pick it up; but I feel like the ending was rushed.

Overall it was a good book and would recommend it to someone who doesn’t get too passionate because I nearly cried a few times!

Jonathan, from University College School London

Winner of the Branford Boase Award Infinite Sky tells the story of a teen girl named Iris whom lives on Silverweed Farm with her older brother and father. Their mother left them and since then the family had collapsed. In her depression and misery, Eye (Iris’ nickname) encounters a family of illegal gypsy squatters and begins to spy on them. Her father however wants to get them out of there as quickly as possible. After a while Iris falls in love with Trick, the gypsy's son and begins meeting him behind her father’s back. In the “Forbidden” love story decisions must be made and Iris has to take things into her own hands. The book's blurb asks “Is it possible to keep loving someone that killed someone you love?”

Genre bends are key to make a good descriptive novel. C.J.Flood manages to show how in this “Unstable family” happiness goes to sadness within a blink. The fact that the  mood is always swerving you do not know if they will fight or kiss. I think that this keeps the book interesting. For me this factor was the main reason why I liked the book so much and that my eyes were glued to the pages. The book is unpredictable.

The way in which the book is set out is also important. I think it was clever how the author pursues a first person view coming from the main character. I think that this is necessary as it allows you to see deep into a main character who is so involved and you feel as if you are the character. The way things in this book are generally written are very good, in fact for some of the rhetorical questions in this book I paused for a moment and considered them. This book gave me a pulling feel, that I was involved.

The chaptering in this book was very interesting. Sometimes the chapters were long and some were only one page. I saw a pattern with this; whenever there was a lot of key information to take in the author would actually spread it out over several chapters causing you to keep wanting to turn the page. This style was more frequent towards the end.

Something that I enjoyed was the simplicity of the book. How the detail was top notch and C.J.Flood portrays a whole scene in a single paragraph. This gives more space to draw out all the vivid action.

Something that slightly put me of was the order. I felt like sometimes when reading the first page she only explains on the tenth page. This was a bit discouraging as the author did this to things that are not even spoilers. For example the names of the characters. I think there was a bit too much “he/she” so sometimes speech was confusing.

I recommend this book to people who enjoy short but detailed novels about mystery, drama, tragedy and banned romance. This is also another reason I enjoyed it everyone is bound to fit into at least one category. This is worthy read so be sure to give it a try.

Joshua, from University College School London

C.J. Flood’s Infinite Sky, is a novel that is at once both understated and emotionally devastating; a story that unfolds gradually with a quietness that belies the impending tragedy.

The prologue hangs like a shadow over the following pages of the novel. It is made clear from the start that this is a story marked by death, but by withholding the identity of the character to die, Flood maintains a sense of compelling disquiet. We know grief awaits us, yet we don’t know for whom, or why. It’s an approach that works for this book, allowing the plot to progress at an unhurried pace without sacrificing any of the tension required to keep the story engaging.

This is a coming-of-age story, but Flood’s approach to Iris’ development is refreshingly frank and unsentimental. At thirteen, Iris is attempting to adjust to a life in which her mother has left the family, her father is drinking and distant, and her brother Sam is becoming increasingly altered and withdrawn. Flood is subtle in her depiction of each character’s response to their changed circumstances: she shows it in the neglect of their home, in Sam’s muted anger, in Iris’ habit of wearing of her Mother’s abandoned clothes.

In addition, and partly in response to her mother’s departure, Iris is feeling increasingly alienated from her friend, Matty. Bristling under the well-intentioned, if heavy-handed, pity of Matty and her mother, Iris becomes more aware of the nuances of their friendship, the shifting dynamic between them. Though secondary to the central plot, Flood also writes these elements of the story with insight and skill.

It’s against this backdrop of emotional upheaval that a family of Irish Travellers set up camp on the Dancy’s land, and Iris finds an unexpected friend in fourteen-year-old Trick. After some initial wary observation, Iris and Trick’s interactions develop from tentative sympathy to something deeper: a closeness that’s both friendship and first love intertwined. Yet Flood never allows this relationship to become overly romanticised or unrealistic, nor does she trivialise it. With an excellent grasp of her characters’ experiences and ages, Flood writes their bond with restraint, allowing Iris’ self-consciousness and Trick’s cognizance of local prejudice to shade their growing closeness.

Flood’s handling of the issue of discrimination and racism is particularly adroit, conveying the complexities of the conflict honestly, and without judgement. Her depiction of the local attitudes towards Travellers is unflinchingly candid; she doesn’t shy away from the slurs and assumptions that accompany the arrival of Trick and his family, nor does she paint an idealised picture of them. Rather, Flood presents the various sides of the issue with impartiality, striving instead to accurately present a situation where the many shades of grey prevent black and white judgement, or definitive allocation of blame.

When the various conflicts – both internal and external – reach the inevitable climax, Flood has created a situation that is intensely distressing. But there are no easy villains here. Each of the characters shares some culpability in the outcome, yet this isn’t a story that is trying to moralise to readers. Rather there is something heartbreaking about the very believability of this story, that these kind of actions and attitudes are both realistic and common.

Yet it’s Iris’ opening question in the prologue that lingers, and I appreciated Flood’s choice to tackle the complexities of grief and guilt when the situation is far from clear-cut. The novel asks us to consider difficult questions - and while it doesn’t necessarily provide the answers - its strength lies in acknowledging that these questions exist. That in life, and love, and death, sometimes there are no easy answers.

Lara, from Jewish Community Secondary School

Infinite Sky is about a girl called Iris. Her mum left a few years ago but other than that she lives a perfectly normal life. She has a brother, a dad and friends. But when gypsies (or technically Irish travellers) come to live on their farm Iris’s whole life is turned upside down. Her brother and dad hate the gypsies but Iris can’t see why they’re so bad. Suddenly Iris finds that she has to choose between family and friends.

Infinite Sky was extremely moving and I have to say the most realistic WeRead book so far. It encounters real life problems like arguments with friends, frustration with family and wanting to be independent, so it’s one of those books that you can relate to, just in a less dramatic way. 

Although I loved this book, like all books it’s not entirely perfect. I found the whole book slow but especially the beginning. This made it slightly difficult to get into but once you get into it, Infinite Sky is an amazing read. I recommend this book for anyone aged 10-13.

Lauren, from Jewish Community Secondary School

Infinite Sky is the story of a thirteen-year-old girl called Iris, who lives with her dad and her brother, Sam.  Her mum had left the family to travel around the world, while gypsies have moved into a nearby paddock. She is extremely intrigued to learn about them, while her dad is more focused on getting rid of them. After spying on the gypsies, she meets one of them, a fourteen-year-old boy named Trick, who she develops a  close relationship with. Sam, however, has been sad and depressed ever since his mum left and has started to hang around with the wrong sort of people, who are doing very bad things and are influencing Sam to do so as well. 

What I like most about this book is how detailed and precise everything is, because it gives you a sense that you are actually living the story and takes you into that very moment. My favourite character is Sam, because he is so full of emotion and sadness that reaches into me and really grips me. I feel like I know and understand him and his life. The story was so gripping that I couldn’t put the book down, and I cried at some parts of the book because they just felt so real to me. The story kept me guessing and I felt like I had to know more.

Some things I didn’t like, were how at the beginning, the story was a little slow and boring, but as I got into it, it became much more intense and exciting. I think my least favourite character is the dad, because he is quite sad and grumpy, and doesn’t really think much of Iris or Sam. 

My overall opinion of this book is that it’s an amazing, heart-rending story that pulls you in and really touches you. It will stay with you and you will never forget it.  It’s very suitable for ages nine to twelve.

Libby, from Queen Elizabeth's Girls' School, Barnet

This book was really good because the plot was twisting and every chapter bought something new to the story. I also thought that the surprising truthfulness of family life was new and refreshing. I feel this was the best of the books because CJ Flood did not try to convey a ‘message’ in the writing.

When some Gypsies set up camp in the fields opposite her house, Iris becomes fascinated by them and almost in an instant, all of her worries for her Dad and brother Sam, disappear. Suddenly the world of Trick and his family become more important than any of the drama her Mum has caused, and Iris becomes entangled in the gypsy way of life. Will Iris get her ‘happy ever after’? Will her Infinite Sky really last for infinity? Or will her summer full romance be ruined by jealousy?

Mahdi, from Queen Elizabeth's Boys School, Barnet

When Iris' mum leaves home, her brother, Sam, starts behaving badly and her dad is left trying to hold it all together. So when a family of travellers sets up camp illegally in front of their farm, it’s the catalyst for a stand-off that can only end in disaster. But to Iris it's an adventure. She secretly strikes up a friendship with the gypsy boy, Trick, and encounters many family difficulties.

This was the first time I had read a story like Infinite Sky before and I was excited to start reading it. I was intrigued by the storyline and wanted to get to know Trick’s character and see how the author had described him. While reading Infinite Sky I loved learning about the characters especially Trick because I got to know him at the same time as Iris got to know him. I really liked the pace which the author set the book at, it gave me as the reader a chance to get to know both Iris and Trick and therefore I was able to understand their actions throughout the book. The storyline itself wasn’t one which gripped me until towards the end but it kept my attention right throughout the whole book and then got very gripping towards the end of the book!

The reason I have given it a 4 stars and not 5 is as I mentioned was the storyline seemed like it was falling apart at the end and there was a lot of ambiguity throughout the book. This was a good thing as it really intrigued me, however at the end as the story was falling apart I was just thinking "but why?” Other than that the book was great! 

I would recommend this to everyone in year 8 and 9 upwards as it is an amazing story. However, younger readers may not feel comfortable as there is some strong language and violence.

Mona, from Wren Academy Barnet

"I can't bear the thought of him being cold," she says.

Infinite Sky contains a mountain of emotion which is expressed in a book.

Infinite Sky is about thirteen year old Iris who is jammed between her father and her brother, Sam, and with Trick, a boy she befriends when the travellers illegally camp on their land. When Iris’s mum moves out, her family starts to fall apart and danger lurks between.

Infinite Sky is a wonderful book and I would recommend for you to read it.

Mori, from Wren Academy Barnet

This is the story of Iris and her broken family. Ever since her mother left, her family has never been the same. Her brother Sam has made friends with really bad-influenced people, who are bound to change Sam. Iris' father, has dissolved into a world of staying out whenever his ex-wife is bound to call, leaving Iris to talk to her mum alone. When Trick and his family move in on the field nearby, her dad is outraged, and wants them out immediately. Iris then meets Trick (or Patrick), and they become good friends. But she has to keep their friendship a secret from her father, and even her brother Sam. I loved Infinite Sky so much, and it really interested me, with the endings of the chapters making me want to read more. I rate this story a 4.5 out of 5, because I enjoyed it a lot, and the suspense sometimes intrigued me.

Noah, from University College School London

Three months after Iris’s mother moves out on a trip to find herself, a family of Gypsies moves in. To Iris’s family, they are scoundrels who can’t be lived with and can’t be moves. Iris however, the main character finds them very interesting to observe. She finds out that they are a complete family of a mother, 4 babies, some dogs, a man and a ginger teenage boy. Soon Iris and the teenage book, Trick, make friends. But due to the inconvenient circumstances, their friendship is over soon. Iris’s 16 year old brother Sam, who is confused by his mother leaving him, soon joins a crowd with a trouble making Gypsy-hater, Punky while trick’s father turns out to be a bare knuckle champion and tensions could break at any minute, and then, when Iris’s father’s shed is broken into, all hell breaks loose. Emotional and physical violence end in broken relationships, and a bad situation.

Firstly, my favourite thing about the book was the plot. It has a good base (gypsies are always going to be exciting), and then C.J. Flood progresses the story well, and makes it very interesting, with an unpredictable story line, and a good amount of characters which the author manages to juggle while still making everybody’s relations with everybody else clear, a feat not many authors are capable of. The plot makes sense, and is one of the reasons I liked the book.

The second reason I liked the book was that the author captured the emotions of the characters very well. Flood made the people in the book seem real by giving them realistic personality traits, as well as giving them each attitudes towards each other that stay consistent as well as working with the circumstances, another key part of a book that is important of the book is to be realistic.

However, I found that the book was too complex. A interesting plot is important, and many twists can make a good book, but this, I feel was to short and events were too closely packed together, which means things do not have time to sink in, giving the book a too fast pace, and making it hard reading. However, unlike in a story such as Bleak House, the author has struggled to make all the events fit in, giving the book the feel of a pieces of plot put together in a way that does not flow. This is not a problem that is apparent within the first few pages, but it did not aid my experience of reading the book.

Another problem I found was that the book was unrealistic. There were many things in the plot that would never happen in real life, such as gypsies just living on the lawn of a random family without the police getting involved for ages, amongst other things. I found that this somewhat took me out of the book during reading, and, to some extent, forced me not to feel like a character but like a person reading a book.

In summary, I liked the book, despite its problems. I would give it a rating of 7 out of 10, a good mark, and recommend it to anybody over the age of 13, or particularly book-enthusiastic 13-year-olds, as the complex plot is quite hard to follow.

Oliver, from University College School London

Infinite Sky is set in the 21st century in a small farming town located in an unspecified part of the English countryside. If follows the summer holiday of a thirteen-year-old girl called Iris whose life recently took a violent turn when her mother moved out because angry clashes with Iris’s dad. After his wife left, Iris’s dad took to drinking one too many at the ‘Stag’, the local pub, each night. The slightly depressed single dad now struggles to protect his daughter Iris and son Sam from getting in with the wrong crowd, alcohol, smoking and crossing the law. Amidst this struggle, the father recently lost his driving licence for drunk-driving and has a crowd of gypsies who have recently taken refuge on his property. Iris watches the gypsies, intrigued by them, and their son, Trick, who is one year older than her. She follows him one day to the place he goes and so begins a friendship that will tear families apart and leave destruction in its wake. The reason for this being that their respective families are in a battle to claim the land that they see as theirs. Meanwhile Iris’s brother, Sam, gets into fights and alcohol before being ‘involved’ in an unfortunate murder.

I feel this book hooks the reader in from the very start with the intriguing question ‘is it possible to keep loving somebody when they kill someone you love?’ This question is why many readers will pick up the book as seeing as there is no blurb they will skim the first page and a question like this can sum up the entire book whilst setting the scene of a sad story that will linger at the back of your mind. From the first page you know that someone close to the narrator is going to die and the murder also has a strong connection to the narrator. Moreover, we learn that the victim wasn’t even sixteen yet was being buried in the coffin of a man and all of this is conveyed in a page long prologue. 

In this story there are three main characters, the first being Iris, a thirteen-year-old girl, a first person narrative through whose eyes the story is told. She is portrayed as a kind well-meaning girl who the reader sympathises with. She meets the gypsy boy and battles with her friends and family to prove that he is trustworthy and deserves to be given a chance. Iris wants a summer holiday where nothing much happens and she can lay around in the garden listening to her mother busy in the kitchen, but this is a distant reality firstly as the garden has gypsies living in it and secondly because her mum doesn’t live with the family any more. Every day she flees the house and heads for the placid corn field by the brook where she escapes the reality of home.

The next character is Trick an almost fifteen-year-old gypsy with blond curly hair and a thin body able to swim, row and make fires.  He has a large family with him, his parents, his uncle and three baby sisters. His family despises Iris’s and Iris’s despise them. He discovers the corn field flattening a section of it out in the shade of a tree which he later nails two abandoned cinema chairs into. Trick doesn’t want any trouble especially with Sam and his ‘friends’. He enjoys the traveller life and wants nothing but it when he grows up. Trick later makes a fatal mistake that tears Iris’s family to pieces. After this Trick's relationship becomes cloudy and untold as the reader wonders if it will ever rebuild itself despite its geographical and emotional separation. The final character is Sam, Iris’s superbly arty brother who decorates the house walls with his marker pens. However, Sam slowly slips away from his good friend Benjy and replaces him with almost gang like accomplices who encourage him to fight, smoke, drink and cause collateral damage. 

I found that the story has a very engaging plot at some points but the plot got a bit lost in the middle of the story between the meeting of Iris and Trick and the murder towards the end of the story. These few chapters consist of Iris and Trick meeting up, Sam getting bruised up and Iris’s father getting fed up. Despite this the plot does tie itself together at the end of the story with the repetition of the prologue, which then makes complete sense.

This book is a dark ordeal of a young girl and her friend Trick who hope for the best yet find insufficient funds in the vault of fairness and happiness I feel this book is for tens and up as it looks at how people see each other which wouldn’t interest anyone younger.

Rachel, from Jewish Community Secondary School

When Iris’s mum leaves home, her dad starts drinking heavily and her brother, Sam, is constantly getting himself into trouble but her dad tries to keep the family together. Things go from bad to worse when a family of travellers (gypsies) set their camp right in front of their farm which Sam and Iris’s dad hate but Iris secretly makes friends with one of the boys, Trick.

I didn’t really enjoy Infinite Sky when I first started reading it but as I carried on reading I came to love it and I found it hard to put it down when I was reading. I loved how C.J. Flood ended the book and it made me really upset when I found out what happened in the end because I felt like I knew the characters, because of how C.J. Flood had described them.

I would definitely recommend young adults to read Infinite Sky because it is a fantastic book and it has a great storyline to it!

Raluca, from Copthall School, Barnet

Infinite Sky is a joyful book. It has some tense, thrilling parts but also some cheerful parts too. Infinite Sky is a book where the protagonist has to face some life changing events that will not only affect her, but also her sibling and friends. When a group of travellers move into the paddock behind Iris Dancy's farmhouse, she is curious about who these people are. The story is about how Iris copes with a secret friendship, a broken brother, a lazy dad, and most of all a hard life.

She gains a friendship with a very ordinary but very special boy, Trick. If I shed a tear at the end, I'm sure you will too! It’s a fantastic read and suitable for any age! Stars: 4/5

Rishi, from Queen Elizabeth's Boys School, Barnet

Infinite Sky is a beautifully written story that I loved very much and found it a change to the normal action books that I prefer. It is about first love and loss. It is a book that carries something that is a sad but happy loss and has many folds that unfurl through the book.

The language is simple and easy to understand which makes it an interesting read (as in some books the author tries to put in too much effort and ends up spoiling it).

It is about Iris who starts off as a mystery character from the beginning, but we know she has to endure the loss of her mum, her brother acting strangely and her dad drinking. You sympathise due to the way the author presents her, sad at home and school. A group of Irish gypsies settle nearby, agravating her dad, but she notices a boy going into the wilderness and is intrigued by him.

As time goes on they get to know each other in a weirdly presented relationship, but due to the family differences they cannot keep it secret. This part is written well and actually brings out the tragedy of the situation.

Infinite Sky is a book that you can lose yourself in. It’s poignant, moving and has a life all of its own. Highly recommended. You can read it and you will be moved, a great book for people who liked The Fault In Our Stars. Aimed at young adults and teenagers.

Ryoma, from University College School London

I thought Infinite Sky was amazing. It is really packed with many feelings and thoughts. Also very life-like.

This is a story of a thirteen-year-old girl called Iris who meets love for the first time, with a gypsy called Trick , and has a great adventure with him. They have their own private seats fixed onto an oak tree their ‘room’ of corn and they love the time they spend together everyday. But as time passes things don’t stay happy and romantic for long. Great danger awaits for Trick and another person just around the corner.

There is a big wall made between Iris and Trick as Iris’s dad is thinking of warding off the gypsies family out of his area and Iris’s 16-year-old brother Sam talks to the gypsy boy and tells him to stay away from his sister. Since her mum disappeared in a blue van promising to come back the decision is up to the two men. Dad won’t listen to poor Iris and so Sam won’t too.  

This story is very original although the relationship between the two teenagers follows the routine of Romeo and Juliet. I like the setting of place that Iris’s house is set in the countryside and the secret hiding for the two is in a corn field. Although there isn’t much going on in this story Flood manages to extend it into a book with lots of extra detail and more events building up on the separation between the couple.  

I really enjoyed reading this book because with a hint of romance in it. It managed to express many feelings. Happiness, frustration, fear and sadness.

I recommend this to people over 10 years old but if you want to challenge yourself you can read it earlier.

Sara, from St James Catholic High School

Infinite Sky is a wonderful book to read and really captures your attention.  It also shows tenderness and love. Infinite Sky is about a family whose mother leaves her husband and two children, Sam and Iris, in order to “find herself”

Sam goes off the rails, getting into things he shouldn’t and Iris starts to hang out with a gypsy called Trick but the only thing that’s getting in their way is Iris’s dad because he doesn’t like gypsies. The worst possible thing happens to Sam. To find out you need to read it.

I would recommend Infinite Sky to 13 + readers because it is quite sad and older readers would probably understand it more.  

This book rating is 5/5 stars.

You will regret it if you don’t read it.   

Swathi, from The Henrietta Barnett School London

This novel by C.J. Flood is as the name suggests, infinitely powerful and incredibly moving. The story revolves around a 13 year old girl named Iris, who lives with her alcoholic father and her rebellious elder brother Sam; her mother divorced and travelling in Tunisia. However, when Iris meets an Irish gypsy called Trick, her life becomes much more dangerous.

In the prologue, of the novel, Iris looks at a coffin of a 15-year-old boy, wondering whether it is ‘possible to keep loving somebody when they kill someone you love.’ It soon becomes more evident who the corpse and the murderer might be as the story builds up. The close relationship Iris begins to build up with Trick isn’t accepted by many in this book as her father, brother and best friend all refer to the gypsy as ‘Pikelet’, an offensive name for travellers.

I found this book to be very vivid and heart-warming. I was able to really connect with Iris and her inner conflicts, and this allowed me to thoroughly enjoy reading the book. I would seriously recommend this amazing book to both adults and teenagers alike!

Thomas, from University College School London

Infinite Sky, written by CJ Flood and published in 2014, is set in modern day in England in the summer holidays. The story is written from the perspective of a thirteen-year-old girl called Iris whose mum has recently moved away and gypsies have moved in next door.

The story starts in the summer holidays three months after Iris’ mother packs up and moves away with the gypsies moving in. Iris trying to spy on them without her father noticing as he dislikes them because they had illegally moved into his paddock next door. Iris later becomes very interested in the gypsy boy. Then one day she hides in a ditch next to the paddock, watches the gypsies trying to see the boy. Within less than a minute the gypsy boy, that we later find out is known as Trick, finds her and confesses to her that he has also been spying on her and her family. Later their friendship blossoms and they regularly hang out in their favourite place the corn field ‘The corn den’. But unfortunately later in the book, due to family clashes and gangs, things start to go wrong which puts their friendship, their families and their homes in danger.   

There are many characters in the book all of which are considerably relevant to the book, but the four main characters are Iris, Irises’ dad, Sam and Trick. Iris is a thirteen-year-old that is kind, friendly and curious, at the beginning of the book she meets and becomes friends with another main character called Trick but due to later occurrences in the book she is torn on which side she is on, Trick’s or her family’s. Her dad is an intimidating wildlife lover that seems rough on the outside but ultimately wants to protect his family. He strongly dislikes the gypsies next door, this means whenever Iris want to see Trick she always has to sneak put to avoid her father seeing her. Sam is a sixteen-year-old that has recently stopped being friends with his old friend Benji and become part of a gang with some unpredictable and violent kids. He can usually be found causing trouble even though he rarely wants to. Trick is the gypsy that has recently moved in next to Iris. He is always relaxed and likes to hang out with Iris in the ‘corn den’. Unfortunately due to his background he often gets into fights even though her never wants to.

I personally didn’t enjoy this book that much, this may be due to it being a slower paced book to the novels I usually read and not having as many things going on as the books I usually read. I can see this book being enjoyable to some that like the teenager problem genre as the characters are realistic and interesting.

Zac, from University College School London

When Iris’s mother goes on a road trip to "find herself" in Tunisia, things at home begin to fall apart. Iris’s Dad is drinking heavily and has to deal with his angry son, Sam. The descriptions of their home life are true and not sugar coated. Their farmhouse is an absolute mess. Nothing is clean. The meals made by the father are really disgusting. In a happier scene, Iris gets up very early to clean the kitchen and make chocolate and banana pancakes for her brother and father. It's her way of trying to restore happiness and harmony.

The newcomers (travellers) fascinate this teenage girl, especially Trick. Flood shows truly how the family reacted to the travellers with no lies. They are called "scrounging gypos". To Iris's father they are “destructive parasites”. He says to Iris: "You can't trust them. And I know you think I'm being unfair, or prejudiced” trying to get his daughter to side with him.

I enjoyed seeing how his daughter liked Trick, as they would meet and talk. I think the author portrayed Iris really well, she is lonely but bewildered by the dramas going on around her, she tries to make peace and bring the family together even though she is young.

Overall I didnt particularly enjoy this book, but I thought it was written well (just not my type of book).