lue's mother has always said, "Just bloom where you're planted." And it's a good motto for a girl who's moved around as much as Blue has. Then her mom gets hired to run a tumbledown ranch and, for the first time, Blue finds herself unpacking in a place she could really call home.
But it's more than the ranch that makes Blue feel excited. It's exploring the forbidden lands beyond the ranch with her faithful dog, Stew Pot. It's rescuing a lame antelope fawn and watching two orphaned calves respond to her toucha healing gift her mom says she got from her long-gone dad. And it's discovering a friend in a boy who drives her crazythat is, when he isn't making her heart race.
So when a surprise visitor threatens to uproot them, the girl who's used to blooming anywhere will need to choose between her dream of being in a family and taking root in the only place that's ever felt like home.
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Barnes & Noble
Bloomsbury USA Children's Books, hardcover, March 2009, 978-1599901862
Chosen for the 'one book one county' for Fremont County!
Lifting the Sky won the Fiction Award from the Wyoming State Historical Society!
"Lifting the Sky is a wonderful coming-of-age story about Blue, a young woman whose mother is a traveling ranch-hand, and Blue's deep desire for a home. Mackie d'Arge has written a touching and wonderful story."
IndieBound Next Picks: Kelly Peroni, High Sierra Books, Portola, CA
"I recognized some of the landscapes and the scenes that were painted in the story, and the references to tribal beliefs. I thought (Mackie) did a good job in the way she handled these issues, sometimes very touchy for all of us to write about."
John Washakie, Assist. Librarian, Ft. Washakie School/Community Library
"A Magical Experience For All Ages...
The greatest Young Adult novels are also some of the greatest novels in general. They are books which can be appreciated by all ages: read to a child, comprehended by a middle reader, related to by teens, and, perhaps most impressively, able to transport adults back to their youth. Mackie d'Arge's Lifting the Sky is one of those great novels. It deserves a place on the shelf next to such great coming of age stories as Sharon Creech's Walk Two Moons and Kathleen Karr's The Cave.
Great novels rely upon great characters, vivid settings, and compelling action. Lifting the Sky has all of these.
The action in Lifting the Sky is perfectly paced, as several story threadsBlue's quest for her long lost father, her relationship with a Native American boy searching for a mystical place, and her exploration of her own mysterious healing giftsall come together in a breathtaking climax. By the end of the book, you will have lived a few months of Blue's life, growing, learning and changing right along with her. What more can one ask from a great novel?"
Steve Alcorn, Author and Online Instructor
"Blue came of age in a way that is difficult to achieve in Young Adult literature. Most authors rely on the sexual development of the child instead of the emotional and intellectual, and Mackie managed to concentrate on Blue as a person, not just as a physical being, and that takes a lot of talent. I think our students who live here in the Wind River Range will enjoy the story, especially those who understand how powerful the forms of nature are, and those forces that you can't explain away in science class."
Robin Levin, Head of Library Services, Ft. Washakie School/Community Library
"Lifting the Sky kicks off our list with two cowgirls. Blue is a 12-year old girl with a wandering ranch-hand mom and an ability to see "lights" around people and animals, but she doesn't think of herself as a rancher.
'As for me, I was no cowgirl like my mom. I was okay on a horse and pretty good at helping to round up the cattle or to check on the cows and calves, and I could even fix fences if they didn't need to be stretched. But there were some things, like branding, that I absolutely, totally hated. I shied away when it came time for weaning the calves and sending them away from their mamas. Mam always said I was overly sensitive and should just get over it. Easy for her to say. Sometimes I figured being overly sensitive was the worst possible trait one could have. Especially if you lived on a ranch.'
It soon becomes clear that her kind of sensitivity is a valuable skill at Far Canyon Ranch. Blue nurses two bum calves back to health, and takes in a lame antelope, which leads to some surprising discoveries. Author Mackie d'Arge lives on a ranch on the Wind River Reservation, and she uses her first-hand knowledge to create realistic scenes of ranch life and to depict the austerity and natural beauty of Western Wyoming."
Omivorous review by Heidi
"...This debut novel is sure to be a winner among those middle readers and teens looking for a wholesome, descriptive novel that celebrates the bonds of friendship, faith in oneself, and the healing power of love."
Wyoming Library Roundup: Jennifer Beckstead, YA Librarian