The Big Dark

Rodman Philbrick. Scholastic/Blue Sky, $17.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-545-78975-2
A massive power outage, triggered by a solar flare, throws a small New Hampshire town—and presumably the world at large—into turmoil, with all things electronic instantly rendered useless. After the town pharmacy burns down amid growing discontent, Charlie Cobb must devise a plan to get his diabetic mother the medicine she needs. Charlie’s adventure is rife with obstacles, including starving coyotes, frigid wintry elements, the traumatic aftermath of a downed plane, and gun-toting survivors. Philbrick (Zane and the Hurricane) weaves an absorbing tale about the breakdown of contemporary civilization, the return to chaotic vigilante justice, and the strength of kindness and community. Charlie narrates from an unspecified point in the future, looking back at events as they unfolded: “Too bad that wasn’t how it ended,” he says after the town votes to appoint an emergency leader. “The good guys win, big cheer from the crowd, and everybody lives happily ever after.” The conclusion unnecessarily veers into preachy territory, repeating the same message Charlie’s journey already conveyed with clarity and finesse. But this misstep doesn’t overshadow the story’s poignancy and gripping intensity. Ages 8–12. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/02/2015
Release date: 01/01/2016
Compact Disc - 978-0-545-90929-7
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4676-2229-5
Ebook - 192 pages - 978-0-545-78977-6
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-0-545-78976-9
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