Above Us Only Sky

A Novel

Above Us Only Sky

From the author of The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors, which Library Journal called, “ripe for Oprah or fans of Elizabeth Berg or Anne Tyler,” comes a magical novel about a family of women separated by oceans, generations, and war, but connected by something much greater—the gift of wings.

On March 29, 1973, Prudence Eleanor Vilkas was born with a pair of wings molded to her back. Considered a birth defect, her wings were surgically removed, leaving only the ghost of them behind.

At fifteen years old, confused and unmoored, Prudence meets her long-estranged Lithuanian grandfather and discovers a miraculous lineage beating and pulsing with past Lithuanian bird-women, storytellers with wings dragging the dirt, survivors perched on radio towers, lovers lit up like fireworks, and heroes disguised as everyday men and women. Prudence sets forth on a quest to discover her ancestors, to grapple with wings that only one other person can see, and ultimately, to find out where she belongs.

Above Us Only Sky spans the 1863 January Uprising against Russian Tsarist rule in Eastern Europe to the fall of the Berlin Wall, and Lithuania gaining its independence in 1991. It is a story of mutual understanding between the old and young; it is a love story; a story of survival, and most importantly a story about where we belong in the world. This “is a raw, beautiful, unforgettable book” (Lydia Netzer, bestselling author of Shine, Shine, Shine).
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451657678 | 
  • April 2015
List Price
AU$ 33.99
NZ$ 37.99

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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Above Us Only Sky includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Michele Young-Stone. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book. 


Prudence Eleanor Vilkas is born with a set of wings. Unlike her ancestors who retained this mysterious feature, Prudence is stripped of her wings shortly after birth by a surgeon who deems them a defect, and only the scars remain. Carrying with her the ghost of what she was born to be, Prudence struggles to know and love herself and find her place in the world amid a fragmented family. A thousand miles away, an Old Man reflecting upon his life thinks about Prudence and decides upon one thing: He will travel from New York to Florida to meet the granddaughter he has never known and share with her the powerful and unforgettable stories of their homeland, across the ocean in Lithuania. The story of their meeting—and their fast-approaching final reunion—explodes into an epic tale of all of those connected to them—heroes and misfits, survivors, lovers, and exiles who offer incredible, moving tales of survival, loss, and love lost and regained. Above Us Only Sky is a wild story of faith&m see more

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About the Author

Michele Young-Stone
(c) Lauren Nassetta

Michele Young-Stone

Michele Young-Stone is the author of the novels Lost in the Beehive, Above Us Only Sky, and The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors, which The Boston Globe called “an exceptionally rich and sure-handed debut.” She lives in the Outer Banks of North Carolina with her husband and son.