Thursday, October 30, 2008

Exodus-- Julie Bertagna

It is the year 2100. The polar icecaps have almost completely melted. The world entire world, with the exception of the tallest mountain peaks, is covered with water. And somehow, 15 year old Mara Bell must save her people from certain death as global warming has caused flooding on her tiny northern island, Wing, and there is literally no where to go but onto the open water. Mara and only one boat-load of her people arrive at New Mungo, a towering city in the sky built on what was previously known as Glasgow. However, New Mungo does not accept refugees, and they are stranded with the other poor and abandoned folks below the city. Mara, and the allies she makes called Treenesters, must somehow infiltrate New Mungo to save the poor, the young, and the refugees.

In theory, this an interesting book. With global warming affecting our climate, habitats, and yes our polar icecaps, the background for this novel is quite believable. However, the author does not give readers enough character or plot development to really entice them. Mara forms these incredibly strong bonds with people in a matter of hours, and the reader is left feeling unsure about why she would potentially sacrifice her life for them. Also, the things that are most interesting in post-apocalyptic stories like this one were totally left out. We don't really learn about how the people survived, how they built New Mungo, etc. When Mara does enter New Mungo, the technology is mind-blowing, but Bertagna does not describe it in a satisfactory way. There is nothing about this book that hasn't been done better in other books for teens.

Still, as it wasn't a terrible book, and teens might find it more interesting than I did, I would recommend it to teens who enjoyed the following books for the reasons listed:

For teens who like...
  • the weather setting of Susan Beth Pfeffer's Life as We Knew it and The Dead and the Gone
  • the cool hoverboard scenes in Westerfeld's Uglies books
  • the technology vs. primitive living that collided in Suzanne Collin's Hunger Games
  • the kids take the lead in crisis themes in Michael Grant's Gone

Be warned... the books I listed above as read-similars for Exodus will probably be enjoyed more by teen readers that Exodus will be.

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