Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher

Book Details
The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher
Hardcover, 256 Pages
2011, Sourcebooks Fire
ISBN: 1402243693

Would you risk everything for someone you just met?

What if he had a secret worth killing for?

Welcome to a future where water is more precious than oil or gold...

Hundreds of millions of people have already died, and millions more will soon fall-victims of disease, hunger, and dehydration. It is a time of drought and war. The rivers have dried up, the polar caps have melted, and drinkable water is now in the hands of the powerful few. There are fines for wasting it and prison sentences for exceeding the quotas.

But Kai didn't seem to care about any of this. He stood in the open road drinking water from a plastic cup, then spilled the remaining drops into the dirt. He didn't go to school, and he traveled with armed guards. Kai claimed he knew a secret-something the government is keeping from us...

And then he was gone. Vanished in the middle of the night. Was he kidnapped? Did he flee? Is he alive or dead? There are no clues, only questions. And no one can guess the lengths to which they will go to keep him silent. We have to find him-and the truth-before it is too late for all of us.

The Water Wars has a frighteningly realistic premise that will speak to ecologically aware readers. This dystopian novel takes three teens on an adventure set in a world that has run out of water. The world barely survives but for a host of inventions and water gathering/treatment processes.

The world created in The Water Wars is clearly envisioned. You can feel the dryness and the thirst while reading this novel. The prospect of death by dehydration is clear and ever-present, creating a constant buzz of anxiousness and despair.

The focus on Vera, Will and their parents is interesting. Their mother's illness, their father's struggle to keep the family clothed and with enough water to survive and the teen's school life all add to the richness of the story and further the idea that the loss of access to water changes life immensely.

Vera's interest in Kai, the boy who seems to have all the water he could ask for, is understandable, but her father's acceptance of it is not. Kai seems obviously dangerous to be around, but her father encourages the friendship. When Kai is kidnapped, Vera and Will go after him with no plan and no supplies. This leads to an adventure that should have left them both dead at every turn.

The entire story hinges on Kai and the loyalty he invokes in Vera. She follows him blindly. She risks her life and the life of her brother to find him. He never seems to do anything to warrant the kind of devotion she acts out of.

The Water Wars is a fast and thrilling look at a dreadful future. At times less environmentally minded readers may feel suffocated by the heavy "save the Earth before it's too late" message embedded in the storyline. The Water Wars is an interesting twist on the dystopian theme, the success of which will depend on the mindset of the reader.


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