Book Review- News of the Air by Jill Stukenberg

A pregnant Allie Krane and her husband Bud run a small fishing resort in Northern Wisconsin after a rash of eco-terrorism prompts them to flee the big city. Their daughter Cassie grows up adeptly handling their rural life. Now eighteen, she is struggling with the death of a friend. 

Stukenberg takes her readers into the Northern backwoods of Wisconsin and so much of it felt dead-on. The culture of the small bar and the inhabitants of the rural areas rang so familiar to this Wisconsin resident. The details are exactly right. Like being able to judge where someone is coming from by the amount of snow on their car.

The author also captures the misconceptions family members have with another. Allie assumes Cassie is lying and defying her no phone punishment. So much so that she drives Cassie to do just that.  Cassie assumes that her mom is cold and unsympathetic when, in fact, her daughter is the most important thing in her life.

Like Alison, Bud, and Cassie Krane, we, the readers, are inside the isolated life at the small fishing resort that has its own challenges. Bud and Cassie disagree on whether they should move on and whether or not the resort can even survive. Cassie is trying to make sense of her friend’s death and her role in it.

Then two strange children arrive in a canoe and this family must face the reality of their relationships to each other and their relationship to an increasing itinerant population.

The outside world of natural upheaval is slowly causing people to become itinerant. Enough so that it is now changing the previously quiet life at the small resort. This story is set in the near future and provides a realistic depiction of the way climate uncertainty could unfold. That is because it is not an apocalyptic event. Life goes on, but safety and security are gone.

I loved this book. The characters are engaging and honest. Stuckenberg was masterful at giving the reader all the information throughout the book, but with enough mystery in the way the story unfolds people keep turning the page to put it all together. On par with Liam Callanan and Nikolas Butler, this is a must read from a Wisconsin author.

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