My Chemical Mountain

Corina Vacco. Delacorte, $16.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-385-74242-9
Vacco’s grim but impressive debut, winner of the Delacorte Press Prize, occasionally stumbles on its own sense of bleakness and the extreme complacency of its characters, but lyrical prose and strong characters make it worth the read. In the town of Poxton—imagine the exaggerated pollution of Springfield from The Simpsons without any of the humor—14-year-olds Jason and Charlie drink orange water from Two Mile Creek and investigate the landfill they’ve nicknamed Chemical Mountain, collecting mutated fish and other samples of pollution. Since local employment relies on Mareno Chemical, few are willing to challenge the company, even as most of the town shows the effect of toxic dumping. The “we can’t lose our jobs” attitude works to a point, but the over-the-top nature of the pollution makes the adult conspiracy of silence difficult to swallow. Never-theless, the push by the boys and their tech genius friend Cornpup to get people to acknowledge the horrors Mareno has inflicted on Poxton (which mirror the real-life environmental pollution that inspired Vacco) should help readers think hard about the issue. Ages 14–up. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/13/2013
Release date: 06/11/2013
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-0-385-74243-6
Library Binding - 192 pages - 978-0-375-99057-1
Ebook - 118 pages - 978-0-307-97504-1
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