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Buttermilk Skies - A Young Adult Novel


Karla, the feisty heroin of Diane Elliott's "Buttermilk Skies," is a character almost never seen between book covers, a teenage girl whose unabashed passion for hunting not only helps her to come of age, but in doing so, to give a spark of life to a ranching family trying to cope with loss and abandonment. Elliott's writing gives eloquent voice to young outdoorswomen anywhere horizons are broad and untarnished, and I for one hope we will ride toward the sun with Karla again soon.



-- Keith McCafferty, Field & Stream editor and Spur Award winning author of the Sean Stranahan series for Penguin Books.



As its title forecasts, Diane Elliott's Buttermilk Skies takes readers into a world where the ever-changing cirrus clouds scuttling across Montana's Big Sky presage the kinds of storms so common on the open range of junior high. For Karla Rosegaard, the intensity of those storms is heightened by the sudden death of her older brother—her father's favorite and everyone's hero; her mother's subsequent breakdown and confinement in a psychiatric facility; and the unexpected arrival of Sister Marian Paula, a nun whose seemingly nonsensical babblings suggest a need for serious meds. Throw in Karla's growing anticipation of her first antelope hunt and you have the makings of a complex and compelling coming-of-age novel.


--Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith, authors of Frontier Children 


In this YA novel, a teenage girl struggles to find her place after the tragic death of her brother.

Karla Rosegaard is a hardworking, outdoorsy eighth-grader who enjoys living on her father's ranch in rural Montana and tending to the animals. She can ride a horse and skin a rabbit and looks forward to her annual family antelope-hunting trip. Starting a new school year, however, is particularly difficult for her now, as her popular older brother, Sunny, recently died in a car accident, and her mother has been living in a psychiatric treatment facility ever since. Karla's father decides it would be good for his daughter to have a woman around the house, so he invites his old elementary school teacher, Sister Marian Paula, to live with them for a month while she writes a book about her life....Elliott (Blood Fiction, 2017, etc.) depicts her story's majestic, bucolic setting through the use of lush imagery…. ("She curried [her horse's] rich chestnut coat till her arms ached, till his coat reflected the late September sun like a copper penny")…. Karla is a strong female lead, and her independence—and her dedication to her goal of a successful hunt using her mother's rifle—is refreshing.

A moving tale of love and acceptance recommended for readers who enjoy the great outdoors and complex relationships.

—Kirkus Reviews