A Piece of the Sky


Albert Whitman & Company, 2007

Russell’s summer seems doomed.

He’s stuck in small-town Oregon without a movie theater, a baseball park, or a pizza parlor. Then a legend about an old meteorite envelops him—and connects his grandfather’s special rock and old map to a nearly blind ex-con who did time for manslaughter. Eventually Russell, along with his new friends Phoebe and Isaac, makes a dangerous trip into the mountains to find the meteorite, rumored to be rare and valuable—and perhaps the same “piece of the sky” discovered by Russell’s great-great-great-grandfather.

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“This exciting treasure hunt has all the elements of a thriller, and the gun-wielding bad guy on the trail of the friends rocks the plot into hyper-mode.”  —Kirkus

“Patneaude creates a suspenseful quest tale along with a sensitive portrayal of Russell’s sense of loss as his grandfather, suffering from dementia, loses touch with memories and relationships.”  —Booklist

“I really enjoyed it. I felt like a kid again, reading under the covers with a flashlight, because I had to know how the story ended…the craftsmanship and pacing are excellent. The author demonstrates a flair for spare description that gets things across, without excessive detail.” —Jennifer Robinson, Editor of Jen Robinson’s Book Page

  • 2010-11 Tennessee Volunteer State Book Award Nominee