The Water Wars

Cameron Stracher, Sourcebooks Fire, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4022-4369-1
Adult author Stracher (The Laws of Return) offers a bleak picture of the future in his first YA novel: fresh water has become a scarce commodity, with most people relying on meager rations of desalinated ocean water distributed by the government. Nations war over extant supplies, pirates thrive, black markets flourish, and desalination companies wield immense influence. Vera and her older brother, Will, have never known anything else. Then they met Kai, the enigmatic son of a water driller, who lives a life of paranoid luxury by comparison. When Kai is kidnapped, Will and Vera embark on a quest to rescue him, going through a series of adventures that take them far from home. Battling pirates, escaping ecoterrorists, and plunging to the heart of a corrupt conspiracy, they learn more about their world than they ever expected, including why Kai is of vital importance. Though characterizations can feel thin and some elements are hard to swallow, it's clear that Stracher has put much thought into the effects of cataclysmic water shortages. His fast-paced, nonstop thriller doesn't hold back in its portrayal of a parched, desperate world. Ages 12–up. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/29/2010
Release date: 01/01/2011
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