100 books like Under the Broken Sky

By Mariko Nagai,

Here are 100 books that Under the Broken Sky fans have personally recommended if you like Under the Broken Sky. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Canyon's Edge

Sally J. Pla Author Of The Fire, the Water, and Maudie McGinn

From my list on children’s novels depicting real adversity—and hope.

Why am I passionate about this?

I went through some very tough times growing up. I was an undiagnosed autistic teen, terribly shy, with no real guidance, and I was often bullied and bewildered. But my heart was filled with only goodwill and good intentions, and a yearning to connect meaningfully with others. So, stories of adversity, of characters making it through very tough times, through trauma—these stories were like shining beacons that said, “survival is possible.” Now that I’m a grownup writer, it’s at the root of what I want to offer—hope—to today’s kids who may be going through similar tough stuff. Survival is possible.

Sally's book list on children’s novels depicting real adversity—and hope

Sally J. Pla Why did Sally love this book?

Dusti Bowling’s ability to keep you on the edge is incredible.

Nora lost her mom via a random shooting, and now she is trapped in a desert canyon where a flash flood swept her dad away. The stakes are so high. And yet: Nora’s will to survive, her love for Dad, and her inner strength, pull her beautifully through. 

By Dusti Bowling,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Canyon's Edge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

One year since she lost her mother to a random shooting, Nora and her father are exploring a slot canyon deep in the Arizona desert. They like to stay far away from other people now, or at least Nora's father does. Nora has been working with a therapist to try to heal, and she longs to have a normal life again, to be "just an ordinary girl" like she was when her mother was still alive.

But when she and her father reach the bottom of the canyon, a flash flood rips past them, sweeping away Nora's father and all…


Book cover of A Good Kind of Trouble

Jasmine Warga Author Of The Shape of Thunder

From my list on middle grade with heart and honesty.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a middle grade author, and I believe so much in the power of books to help broker conversations between kids and the adults in their lives, especially if those conversations are about things that are often tricky and tough to talk about. I love how middle grade fiction will fearlessly tackle these difficult topics, but does so well with heart and humor. 

Jasmine's book list on middle grade with heart and honesty

Jasmine Warga Why did Jasmine love this book?

A Good Kind of Trouble is the beautiful story that follows the main character, Shayla, as she learns to use her voice and speak up for things that matters to her. The book has everything I love in a middle grade novel like humor and heart (Lisa is a master at describing junior high friendships and crushes!), but also engages honestly with the reader about important things like racism and social justice. This book can serve as a fantastic conversation starter for kids and parents and kids and teachers.

By Lisa Moore Ramée,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked A Good Kind of Trouble as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

From debut author Lisa Moore Ramee comes this funny and big-hearted debut middle grade novel about friendship, family, and standing up for what's right, perfect for fans of Angie Thomas's The Hate U Give and the novels of Renee Watson and Jason Reynolds.

Twelve-year-old Shayla is allergic to trouble. All she wants to do is to follow the rules. (Oh, and she'd also like to make it through seventh grade with her best friendships intact, learn to run track, and have a cute boy see past her giant forehead.)

But in junior high, it's like all the rules have changed.…


Book cover of Just Under the Clouds

Anne O'Brien Carelli Author Of Skylark and Wallcreeper

From my list on brave girls.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have dedicated my personal and professional life to expanding opportunities for girls and women and cultivating leadership skills. All of my books portray girls as main characters who exhibit bravery in many ways. They have joined the French Resistance in World War Two, chased enemy soldiers during the Civil War, delivered messages in the middle of a Revolutionary War battle, and fought for women’s rights in classrooms, workplaces, science labs, and at home. They’ve also been brave by building self-reliance and confidence in times of trouble and trusting their own abilities to make decisions and take action. I've recommended five books that exemplify these characteristics and are examples of outstanding writing.

Anne's book list on brave girls

Anne O'Brien Carelli Why did Anne love this book?

Just Under the Clouds is a beautifully written story about tough yet gentle Cora, who fiercely protects her younger sister as the family struggles with homelessness. This story shows how bravery comes in many forms, including as a quiet, loving strength. This book stayed with me well after I finished it. The author managed to capture a serious issue in a magical, compelling story. The tree imagery is wonderful.

By Melissa Sarno,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Just Under the Clouds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Can you still have a home if you don't have a house? In the spirit of The Truth About Jellyfish and Fish in a Tree comes a stunning debut about a family struggling to find a place to belong.

To climb a tree, always think in threes and you'll never fall. "Two feet, one hand. Two hands, one foot," Cora's father told her when she was a little girl. Now Cora is in middle school, her father is gone, her family is homeless, and Cora has to look after her younger sister, Adare, who needs a lot of looking after.…


Book cover of Wolf Hollow

Rachel Hruza Author Of Dear Isaac Newton, You're Ruining My Life

From my list on female protagonists curious about the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a young reader, I was most inspired by protagonists that wanted to understand the world, just like I did. I would scour the library shelves for books that showcased smart characters who didn’t just ask questions, but also sought answers. Most often, I connected with female characters who were driven to overcome the assumptions and stigmas placed on them by society, characters who were willing to change the world, or at the very least, the local world around them. The characters I create and write about have this same sort of drive—I hope!—to see the world for what it is and, even better, for what it could be. 

Rachel's book list on female protagonists curious about the world

Rachel Hruza Why did Rachel love this book?

This historical novel set in 1943 features brave and curious Annabelle who lives in Wolf Hollow, Pennsylvania. She and her family befriend a man living as a hermit since WWI, and the reader sees how empathy can change a person’s perspective. While featuring issues of bullying, lying, and trust, the vivid imagery from Wolk’s words bring out the beauty in even the ugliest events. The descriptions of farmland, woods, and walks home from school, make readers feel as if a time that has passed is as real as the world outside their front door. 

By Lauren Wolk,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Wolf Hollow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

A Newbery Honor Book
New York Times Bestseller

"Wolf Hollow has stayed with me long after I closed the book. It has the feel of an instant classic." -Linda Sue Park, Newbery Medalist and New York Times bestselling author of A Long Walk to Water

"This book matters." -Sara Pennypacker, New York Times bestselling author of Pax

Despite growing up in the shadows cast by two world wars, Annabelle has lived a mostly quiet, steady life in her small Pennsylvania town. Until the day new student Betty Glengarry walks into her class. Betty quickly reveals herself to be cruel and…


Book cover of Refugee

Alda P. Dobbs Author Of Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna

From my list on kids in war.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m passionate about this topic because my own great-grandmother escaped a war, the Mexican Revolution of 1913, at the age of nine years old. Family stories described her journey of marching across the desert, almost dying, determined to reach the United States. I am also an immigrant myself and I enjoy relating to stories that depict the immigrant experience. 

Alda's book list on kids in war

Alda P. Dobbs Why did Alda love this book?

My favorite part of this book is that it is three stories that are narrated and each one is very unique. However, the dreams, hopes and fears parallel one another making the reader understand that these journeys are universal.

You also learn that history repeats itself because each story is set in a different era. 

By Alan Gratz,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Refugee as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

This action-packed novel tackles topics both timely and
timeless: courage, survival, and the quest for home.

JOSEF is a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany. With
the threat of concentration camps looming, he and
his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world .
. .

ISABEL is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and
unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft,
hoping to find safety in America . . .

MAHMOUD is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his
homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he…


Book cover of A Long Walk to Water

Gayle Rosengren Author Of MacKenzie's Last Run

From my list on kids struggling to survive.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have no wilderness survival skills and certainly no wish to be thrown into any of the scenarios in the books I’ve recommended. What I do have is great empathy for those who struggle to survive loss—in whatever form it might come—be it loss of home, or security, or family. I know what it is to struggle through darkness and survive what I would have previously thought “unsurvivable.” That’s why two of my middle grade books, but especially MacKenzie’s Last Run, are about speaking up when you’re hurting or frightened. Lost in the dark woods or lost in grief–it’s all ultimately about survival. 

Gayle's book list on kids struggling to survive

Gayle Rosengren Why did Gayle love this book?

I love the way A Long Walk to Water follows two characters in two different timelines to reinforce the importance of water to survival. It’s an exciting combination of a true story and fictionalized one that intersect in an unexpected but wonderful way. Readers of any age, but especially younger ones, will be shocked by what one 11-year-old girl must do to obtain just a minimal daily amount of water for her family’s survival. They will also be inspired by how one 11-year-old boy, after barely surviving wartime experiences in his African homeland, returns years later to make a lasting impact on the lives of others. The double-pronged impact of these characters and their suspenseful stories will instantly engage readers, keep them enthralled to the final page, and leave a long-lasting impression.

This is more than a story, although it is a wonderful one. It is an eye-opener to the…

By Linda Sue Park,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Long Walk to Water as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

Cherished by millions of readers, this #1 New York Times bestselling novel is a powerful tale of perseverance and hope. Newbery Medalist Linda Sue Park interweaves the stories of two Sudanese children who overcome mortal dangers to improve their lives and the lives of others.

A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy,…


Book cover of My Long List of Impossible Things

Amanda McCrina Author Of Traitor: A Novel of World War II

From my list on unusual YA books about WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a degree in history and political science, with a particular interest in military history—especially World War II history, and most especially Eastern Front history. My family has Polish roots, and my own stories tend to focus on the Polish and Ukrainian experiences, but I keenly feel the need for more YA books not only about the Eastern Front but about other, even lesser-known theaters of World War II.

Amanda's book list on unusual YA books about WWII

Amanda McCrina Why did Amanda love this book?

This is a haunting and uncomfortable book, in the best way; it’s one that you can’t stop thinking about because it raises difficult questions without providing easy answers. Barker writes about the immediate postwar period through the eyes of a German girl who must come to terms with what her country and her own family have done during the war. This book doesn’t gloss over anything; we see firsthand what the Soviet occupation means for the German civilian population, and we must grapple with questions of culpability and justice, of who deserves judgment and who has the right to mete it out.

By Michelle Barker,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked My Long List of Impossible Things as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A brilliant historical YA that asks: how do you choose between survival and doing the right thing?

The arrival of the Soviet army in Germany at the end of World War II sends sixteen-year-old Katja and her family into turmoil. The fighting has stopped, but German society is in collapse, resulting in tremendous hardship. With their father gone and few resources available to them, Katja and her sister are forced to flee their home, reassured by their mother that if they can just reach a distant friend in a town far away, things will get better. But their harrowing journey…


Book cover of The Culling

B.F. Moorman-Fuzi Author Of Beautiful Night

From my list on sending you into an action-packed adventure.

Why am I passionate about this?

In order to read, I need fast-paced action, adventure, compelling characters with depthful backstories and motives, and a way of challenging and commentating on the most controversial morals of the present day. To write, I need the exact same thing. Every world I create is filled with action in every chapter, characters with invincible will-strength, and situations that bend the very borders of moral thinking.

B.F.'s book list on sending you into an action-packed adventure

B.F. Moorman-Fuzi Why did B.F. love this book?

The Culling, The Sowing, and The Raising by Steven Dos Santos provides one of the most compelling stories of conflicting choices I have ever encountered. My strongest love for this story is the main protagonist, Lucky, and his stoicism through the hardships that he is forced to endure. This story taught me to always search for the best option in life, and that there is always a choice, even when it seems that there isn’t. From this story, I will always take with me the ability to love fiercely and do what I must for that love.

By Steven dos Santos,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Culling as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Recruitment Day is here...if you fail, a loved one will die For Lucian “Lucky” Spark, Recruitment Day means the Establishment, a totalitarian government, will force him to become one of five Recruits competing to join the ruthless Imposer task force. Each Recruit participates in increasingly difficult and violent military training for a chance to advance to the next level. Those who fail must choose an “Incentive”—a family member—to be brutally killed. If Lucky fails, he’ll have to choose death for his only living relative: Cole, his four-year-old brother. Lucky will do everything he can to keep his brother alive, even…


Book cover of Adrift: Seventy-six Days Lost at Sea

Captain Liz Clark Author Of Swell: A Sailing Surfer's Voyage of Awakening

From my list on nonfiction books about ocean adventures.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent more than 10 years and 25,000 nautical miles voyaging as the captain of my sailboat, Swell. My desires for life did not fit the common mold and context of where I grew up in Southern California– I sailed away wanting to understand the meaning of life, live simply and closer to nature, experience and learn from other cultures, be in solitude and ask life’s bigger questions. I chased my big, unlikely ocean dream and succeeded, but not without radical challenges, learning, and growth. 

Captain's book list on nonfiction books about ocean adventures

Captain Liz Clark Why did Captain love this book?

Steven Callahan not only survived this harrowing sea adventure but also wrote about it in such a powerful way. His unique descriptions constantly made me smile. I love how he was able to capture his evolving relationship with the ocean, his spirituality, himself, and the creatures he encounters during the 76-day saga of being adrift in a life raft on the Atlantic after his sailboat sunk.

I didn’t want to put this book down, he was just so courageous not to give up. It was fascinating to be in his head through this radical journey, especially as he questions the meaning of life while fighting to hang on to his own. 

By Steven Callahan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Adrift as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Before The Perfect Storm, before In the Heart of the Sea, Steven Callahan’s dramatic tale of survival at sea was on the New York Times bestseller list for more than thirty-six weeks. In some ways the model for the new wave of adventure books, Adrift is an undeniable seafaring classic, a riveting firsthand account by the only man known to have survived more than a month alone at sea, fighting for his life in an inflatable raft after his small sloop capsized only six days out. “Utterly absorbing” (Newsweek), Adrift is a must-have for any adventure library.


Book cover of Be Not Far from Me

Dan Yokum Author Of Cold Cash

From my list on thrillers that just won’t stop.

Why am I passionate about this?

No matter the genre, I have always loved surprises in a story. I want characters to do the unexpected and plots to take me to, “Oh, I didn’t see that one coming.” Because that’s how life is, how my own life has been. Due to connections we didn’t understand and secrets people around us have kept (or we didn’t bother to uncover) the unexpected always jumps out in front of us. I also like characters who are either discovering or re-focusing their power in ways that are beneficial to themselves and others. Again, this has been my life’s story and I want my characters to search for that same balance.

Dan's book list on thrillers that just won’t stop

Dan Yokum Why did Dan love this book?

This is a classic “I Can’t Put It Down” book.

Ashley is lost in the woods, an emotional and physical wreck, and she’s got to figure a way out. The two things she has going for her are serious survival skills and a fierce determination to never give up. Some of her challenges border on the unbelievable, but then, so do so many real-life stories we’ve all read about.

The reader gets to know and understand Ashley, with all her flaws exposed, as the worsening events force her to dig deep into who she is and what she’s capable of. The author might push the limit of what qualifies as YA, and as an adult I loved it, but when I was fifteen, I would have loved it even more.

By Mindy McGinnis,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Be Not Far from Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Hatchet meets Wild in this harrowing YA survival story about a teenage girl’s attempt to endure the impossible, from the Edgar Award-winning author of The Female of the Species, Mindy McGinnis.

The world is not tame. Ashley knows this truth deep in her bones, more at home with trees overhead than a roof.

So when she goes hiking in the Smokies with her friends for a night of partying, the falling dark and creaking trees are second nature to her. But people are not tame either. And when Ashley catches her boyfriend with another girl, drunken rage sends her running…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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