The last time twelve-year-old Frankie Avery saw her father was the night Skylab space station was launched. Six years later and Skylab is falling to earth, heading straight for Frankie's hometown in the south coast of Western Australia. As Skylab draws near, it unearths Frankie's grief and memories of her father, of their nights observing the infinite stars from their Space Shack, a shed with an opening in the roof. Skylab's descent also captures the attention and imagination of Frankie's scientifically gifted eight-year-old brother Newt, who is searching for answers of his own. While their mother works long hours as a nurse at a hospital, Frankie struggles under the weight of juggling school, looking after Newt and the silence surrounding her father's death.
Frankie's voice is wise and full of sharp observations. In her world a myriad of things fall from the sky, from birds, planes, shooting stars, to her father and her brother Newt. These insights into the various ways of 'falling' work beautifully to symbolise Frankie's lack of control over her life. She wisely states at one point ''I wonder what it would be like to be someone who thinks you actually have control over things. Who believes that if you want to, you can keep them from crashing to the ground''. Meg McKinlay's prose is poetic and lyrical, rich with imagery that captures Frankie's emotions while weaving an authentic landscape of Australia in the late 70s. Skylab's descent to earth serves as a catalyst for Frankie's healing and finding her way back to herself and her family.