The Night Sky in my Head – Sarah Hammond

“I’m going to sit very quietly and wait: that’s what you do with animals so they’re not scared of you. The mother-dog is watching me from her bed at the other end of the living-room. I’m miles away from her babies but she’s still worried.” 

Mikey is different from others, he sees things, things he calls the Backwards. Ever since the accident he hasn’t been able to stop the shadows sometimes and has had to keep away from certain places. Mikey thinks the things he sees are bad and he tried to stop them but when he starts discovering things about his dads past and his dads recent disappearance he doesn’t think he can stop them. What if the shadows can help him and stop history repeating itself. 

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Wow, I saw the press release for this book liken it to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time and I knew I had to read it. Curious Incident was one of my favourite books in my teens and I hoped that The Night Sky in my Head would hit the same spots as that one, and it did! 
Mikey is such an amazing narrator. He’s not been the same since his accident. He can’t read or write very well and he and his mum leave picture messages for things. He looses concentration easily and worries about things that most people would see as minute. He can also spend a lot of time just sitting which is one thing that allows the shadows to come and the Bittern to come – which was one of my favourite aspects of the book.
I really enjoyed learning about Mikeys life and his past. He hasn’t had a good life but he’s happy and you can tell that. With the book being told from Mikey’s point of view he mentions things that seem unimportant to him but you know those things are important, like his mums crying and things like that. You see a lot of the book coming but its the journey that Mikey takes which is the reason you are reading, rather than to know the ending. I also needed Mikey to confirm a few things I had theories about, like his accident, before I could allow myself to believe it. 
The night Sky in my Head shows how people can really be, how manipulative certain people are and how nice others are. It also shows what people want to be like but cant be, like Dave. I loved Cackler, Meg and Pat and the way they watched out for Mikey. Others really upset me though and I couldn’t believe how they treated him, Jim and Toby were bad enough but they weren’t the worst. I got really upset and annoyed at the characters in this book at one point and it was tough to read at that point. I have to say though my favourite character had to be Timmer-dog, he seemed to understand people so well, especially Mikey and I loved how hard he tried to help protect Mikey! He was adorable and I wanted to take him home! 
Another thing I loved about The Night Sky was Mikey’s abilities with animals and the connections he made with the cows on Cackler’s farm and Timmer. He really could understand animals and they him, which I think it why the Bittern would come out to him from the reed-bed. I loved that bit towards the beginning of the book and again towards the end when Mikey shared it with one of the other characters. It was really well done, and well contracted. 
I can really see why this book has been likened to Curious Incident because of the narrators and even the content but it is different. If you like Curious Incident you will like this but I think this might even be a little more suitable for a younger audience. I have heard parents who have said they wouldn’t be happy with their teenagers reading Curious Incident but I don’t think they’d have the same quarms with The Night Sky in my Head. I loved the story, the crime and ‘sight’ aspects, the relationships between the characters and  Mikey. I really couldn’t get enough of him and thought he was a lovely young lad. I was almost in happy-tears at the end of the book and I loved the whole black and white idea he had of people being ‘good uns’ or ‘bad uns.’ 
The Night Sky in my Head was published on July 5th by Oxford University Press. My copy was sent in exchange for an honest review from the publisher. 
  • M

    Lovely review, Raimy; I’m putting this one on my wishlist 🙂

  • This sounds really good!! I hadn’t heard much about it, but I liked Curious Incident so maybe I should give it a go

    Cait x