Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading: The Girl Who Fell From The Sky by Heidi W. Durrow

Tessa Bright Wildsmith

Rachel Morse doesn’t know she’s supposed to act a certain color. She’s one of three children born from a Danish mother and a black G.I. stationed overseas. She’s always just been Rachel. When a terrible accident leaves Rachel as the only survivor, she’s sent to live with her grandmother in a predominately African-American neighborhood where she’s suddenly expected to act “black.” Rachel doesn’t know what this means. She’s always just been Rachel, not a skin color.

With her beauty, stunning blue eyes and light brown skin, Rachel is noticed everywhere she goes. It’s impossible for her to blend in with her peers and become part of the group. Rachel is left not only grieving for her lost family, but also trying to figure out her identity. As time goes by, Rachel questions herself. Does the fact that Rachel doesn’t identify solely with either race say more about her or the people who feel the need to label her?

Through several narrations from Laron, Rachel’s mother’s employer, and Brick, a young boy who lived in Rachel’s building before the accident, we get a look at Rachel’s life and family from an outside perspective.

“The Girl Who Fell From The Sky” is a breathtaking look at a young biracial girl trying to find herself in a world where things are black or white, and she is neither. The mystery of her family’s accident and the truth Rachel has buried so deeply is woven throughout the novel. As Rachel grows up and starts to find herself, we learn more about the events of that tragic day and how it has shaped Rachel’s life.

Heidi Durrow stunned me with her debut novel. With an honest voice, she created memorable characters that drew me into their world and filled me with empathy and understanding. The beginning starts out in 11-year-old Rachel’s voice and is written with such stark, simplistic language, you can’t help but believe in her story.

The most powerful part of “The Girl Who Fell From The Sky” is not the plot, but the characters, the deep emotion and the sincere voice that comes through on every page.

I really can’t say enough good things about this beautiful novel. Durrow has managed a heartbreaking, yet earnest, coming-of-age novel that skillfully explores the complexities of racial identity in modern America. This is a must-read for people of any race or age. The story speaks to anyone who has ever struggled to figure out who they are and where they fit in.

Have you read “The Girl Who Fell From The Sky?” Discuss your thoughts on the book below.

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