Review of the Week

ParchedCrowder, Melanie. Parched.  Fic.  Harcourt, 2013. 154p. $15.99 978-0-547-97651-8.  OUTSTANDING. GRADES 5-8.
This dystopian novel is set in an unknown country in the not too-distant future when drought has devastated the land and the people. Sarel, who saw her family and farm destroyed by attackers, and Musa, a dowser who barely survived escape from the gang members who kept him chained except on his waterhunting forays, meet and slowly collaborate on trust and survival. The story is told in very short (usually) chapters, each headed by the name of one of the three characters. While the chapters on Musa and Sarel are written in the third person, the Nandi chapters are in the first-person voice of Nandi, the leader of Sarel’s surviving dogs. The text is sparsely written, with the simple language strongly descriptive of the dry land and its plant and animal life, as well as the emotions of the young characters. This tautly powerful survival story, the author’s first novel, rings true. Review based on an ARC.
Elizabeth Overmyer, Independent

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