A post-apocalyptic setting awash with danger brings an exhilarating twist to Block’s signature mashup of rock-and-roll urchins and high literature. After an earthquake and tidal wave destroy much of Los Angeles, Penelope—now going by Pen—sets out to find her family. In the course of a journey that explicitly parallels the one described in Homer’s Odyssey, Pen navigates the blighted landscape with a crew of three other searchers. Sharing shards of their pasts with one another, the travelers form strong new relationships—including a romance between Pen and tough Hex, who has the word “heartless” tattooed above his heart, and whose sexual journey fits neatly with Pen’s. Eventually they arrive in Las Vegas (the contemporary stand-in for the land of the dead) where Pen confronts the evil genius behind her world’s destruction. Literary-minded readers will enjoy teasing out the allusions to Homer—and possibly even The Wizard of Oz—but knowledge of the classics is not a requirement to be swept up in the tatterdemalion beauty of the story’s lavish, looping language. Ages 14–up. Agent: Laurie Liss, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/27/2013 Release date: 08/27/2013 Genre: Children's
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