PARCHED, just the name has ya thinking hot, dry and thirsty. The cover also captures the tone of the book very well. Melanie Crowder imagines a barren world in which water supplies have dried up. What little left is being hunted down by armed thugs. It is a sad place, one where Sarel losses her parents in a struggle to hold onto the food that they were able to find among the barren soil. One leaving Sarel to tend to the family dogs and the little knowledge her mother left her about which roots can survive and what left is edible. It is also a place where a young boy, Musa is kept in chains because of his ability to track down the water that is deep within the soil. Yet, among this place the two are brought together in hopes that they can find a way to survive. Ok, so there will be some SPOILERS down below, you've been warned, so stop now if you haven't read the book yet and really should. Parched is classified as Literary Upper Middle Grade Fiction, so right around 5th to 8th grade.
Parched begins from the view of Nandi, Sarel's dog. (Actually it is told in alternating voices of Sarel, Musa and Nandi.). It is one of the most heart wrenching moments of the story for me. This is one of those books that makes you feel. It isn't so much about the place, although it too is a sad desolate place, but it is the whole circumstance that these two children are left in. They really have to fend for themselves among some terrible odds. Both have to learn how to trust each other and find courage to overcome those odds. There is a lot packed into those 151 pages. I think my only problem with Parched was that I felt to much. Strange statement, I know, but the ending leaves me feeling sad for the two children. Although the issue of water is resolved, I can't help thinking that it will dry up too. Plus the thugs are still out there and eventually they could find these kids. I guess that is part of what makes this such an engaging book is it makes you feel and think about what a world without water would be like.
My review copy was provided by the lovely Casey and Natalie over at Literary Rambles http://www.literaryrambles.com/ as a part of a giveaway from the author and her publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. So a big thank you to all for the ARC of Parched.
Coming up Next: The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom (The League of Princes#1) by Christopher Healy.