Thursday, March 21, 2013


Visit any library or bookstore and venture into the Young Adult section, where you'll find shelves full of dystopian/post-apocalyptic books.  

But this particular genre-within-a-genre isn't one to be dismissed so lightly.  Out of this came the spectacular 'Hunger Games', 'Mazerunner', and many, many others.  They are books so well-written and fast-paced that I hungered for more once I finished them.  Unlike adult fantasy, YA fantasy novels are written in a simpler manner in order to engage young minds, but, and not surprisingly, adults have latched onto them.  I have read so many of them that they are too numerous to count.

And I loved them.  They took me out of myself and into a world full of desperation, young love (and sometimes delicately-written lust), and the sense that right will always win out over wrong.  Isn't that what fairy tales tend to demonstrate?

Having just finished reading 'Wasteland', a new YA novel from the writing team of Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan, I couldn't wait to pop onto Book Hog and let everyone know about this story.  

The teenage residents of Prin, a decaying city, don't have the typical problems that plague other teens.  Their lives are full of desperation, hopelessness, and constant hunger.  At 15, they marry.  At 17, they reproduce.  At 19, they die.  There is also the looming threat of disease, acid rain, starvation, and attacks by the local tribe they have called the 'variants', people who are similar to the early Native American people.  With every city comes one who leads, and not always with the citizens' best interests at heart.  Levi lives in an old office supply building, which the citizenry have named 'The Source', and it is there where Levi stores the town's essential food and water, and only giving out that sustenance when the work crews bring him the results of their scavenging.

Esther is tired of the forced labor under a relentless sun, and longs to live with her best friend, a variant named Skar.  When a mysterious stranger named Caleb bicycles his way into town, life unravels, and he and Esther must convince the town to fight for their lives and the freedom of Prin.

Kim and Klavan have given us a story that is fast-paced with great character development.  I found the chapters dealing with Levi to be darker and more dangerous than those scenes set within the town itself.  Although the plot is simply written, the surprises are many, and the authors will soon present us with the second in this trilogy.

I, for one, can't wait.

'Wasteland' will be published on March 26, 2013 by Harper Teen.  Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan previously collaborated on the graphic novels 'City of Spies', and 'Brain Camp'.

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