cover image Elemental


Antony John. Dial, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3682-5

In this postapocalyptic tale, first in a planned trilogy, a small colony of 15 survives on the island of Hatteras off the coast of North Carolina, their return to the mainland prevented by plague. Sixteen-year-old Thomas is treated like an untouchable by the colony’s Guardians because he is the only person on the island who lacks the power to control one of the four elements—earth, wind, water, or fire. When a hurricane threatens, Thomas and the colony’s other youths are sent to shelter on nearby Roanoke Island, only to discover that they have thus escaped a surprise attack by pirates whose captain believes that Thomas or his deaf brother holds the key to ending the plague. When Thomas and the others fight back, he learns he is not as powerless as he thought. John (Five Flavors of Dumb) hits several standard postapocalyptic tropes (plague, isolated community as sole bastion of civilization, scapegoated protagonist uncovering secrets), but creates engaging characters and provides plenty of mystery, adventure, and action. Ages 12–up. Agent: Ted Malawer, Upstart Crow Literary. (Nov.)