I’m taking part in the weekly Slice of Life Challenge sponsored by Ruth and Stacey over at Two Writing Teachers, where teachers write and share each Tuesday. Join in yourself or head over to check out what’s happening with other slicers. If you’re taking part in the SOL, leave a link to your post. I’d love to read it.
Like I have for the past couple of summers, I’m taking part in Donalyn Miller’s #bookaday challenge over on Twitter. So far, I am keeping up and making a dent in the huge stacks of books I brought home for summer reading. I’m not doing so well with sharing my daily books on Twitter, and I’m struggling to keep up with the reviews, but boy, am I reading some good books!
The book I finished yesterday, Epitaph Road (Scholastic 2010) by David Patneaude, is one that sticks with me. It’s in one of my favorite genres–dystopian. The world in this book seems to be much improved over our current state of affairs. Poverty, hunger, war, and crime have almost entirely disappeared. How did this come about? A deadly virus nearly wiped out the world’s population of men. Now that women rule the world (and tight restrictions keep the remaining males in their place), it is a much better place. Or is it? As much as I might like to think that women would do a much better job running the world, I’m not sure it would happen. I’m afraid that once women got into power, that power might corrupt them, too. Indeed, there are hints of that corruption even in the world of Epitaph Road.
Kellen Dent is used to the restrictions, but he chafes at the limitations placed on his future. Then when rumors of another deadly outbreak threaten the area where his outcast father lives, Kellen will take any chance to warn him before it is too late. Two new friends, TIa and Sunday (both girls), offer to go with him. Before they return from their mission, they uncover an even deadlier secret that will change their lives and their world. Even as they rush blindly into the future, Patneaude weaves echoes of the past throughout the story. Each chapter begins with an epitaph for one of the males who died. Some are related to characters in the story. Others reveal just how much the world has changed, and at what cost.
Kellen is a pretty cool fourteen-year-old boy. He wishes he had more freedom, but having studied history before the virus, he can see that the world is better off in many ways. When his dad is in danger, he doesn’t hesitate to take off to warn him in spite of the danger to himmself. He’s also willing to accept help from others–Tia, Sunday, Gunny, even Dr. Nuyenn. I love Tia and Sunday. These girls are smart, musical, funny, and brave. They insist on going with Kellen because it’s the right thing to do. Together, this trio can take on the world. Some of the other characters are quite memorable as well. One of my favorites is Ms. Anderson, the rebel history teacher. She wants her students to think for themselves and in her homework gives them just enough information to piece together the truth behind those in power. I hope I can do as much for my students.