Peggy Eddleman does a terrific job of making her middle-grade world come alive in her Sky Jumpers books. In The Forbidden Flats, Hope and her friends are again called on to do what they do best: save their families and friends from danger by taking calculated risks. In this sequel to Sky Jumpers, after a massive earthquake upsets the chemical balance in White Rock, the deadly band of gas known as "bomb's breath" begins to lower. Calculations reveal that the gas will be low enough to make White Rock uninhabitable in a little over three weeks, unless someone can fetch a specific chemical from the Rocky Mountains several hundred miles distant.
Of course, Hope and her friends join up, and much of their adventure involves dealing with the various towns and groups that have sprung up along the plains. As always, Hope is intrepid (sometimes too intrepid), and the story moves along quickly. Since Hope's character was established in the first book, we didn't learn as much about her in this sequel, but Hope learns more about her birth mother and the family she came from as they travel through the town where her birth-mother was born.
But mostly, I was impressed by the fun science in the book. I'm not a chemist (that's my husband), but Eddleman's ideas about how a massive "green bomb" might have changed the chemical characteristics of rocks was fascinating--and, of course, Hope and her friends still get to do cool gravity-defying feats involving the Bomb's breath.
I read this one quickly--now to pass it off to my kids!