The Drowned Cities
When soldiers destroy their town, Mahlia must make a decision—risk everything to rescue Mouse, the boy who once saved her, or flee on her own to safety.
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JLG Release: Jul 2012
Awards & Honors
Booklist Top 10 SF/Fantasy Books for Youth: 2012; Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Books of 2012; VOYAs Perfect Tens 2102; 2012 L. A. Times Book Prize Finalist, Young Adult Literature; 2012 Cybils Award Finalist, Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction; Los Angeles Public Library Best of 2012 Teen Books; YALSA 2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults
Praise & Reviews
Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Booklist*, The Horn Book Magazine*, Kirkus Reviews*, School Library Journal
School Library Journal
Bacigalupi expands the dystopian future America of his Printz Award–winning Ship Breaker (rev. 7/10) in this companion novel about the further exploits of the half-man Tool. The setting has moved north along the East Coast to the Drowned Cities (a.k.a. the remnants of Washington DC), a bleaker flooded landscape [STARRED REVIEW]
Bacigalupi expands the dystopian future America of his Printz Award–winning Ship Breaker (rev. 7/10) in this companion novel about the further exploits of the half-man Tool. The setting has moved north along the East Coast to the Drowned Cities (a.k.a. the remnants of Washington DC), a bleaker flooded landscape than Ship Breaker’s Orleans—a place where “city and jungle bled into one.” The isolated, ruined region is a battleground for warring political and religious factions, with fighting spreading out to the suburbs where two refugee “war maggot” friends, Mahlia and Mouse, live with a local doctor. Both children are victims of war, having lost their parents and homes during the futile fighting; Mahlia has also lost her right hand. When the children find Tool almost dead in the jungle, a violent group of armed child soldiers are hunting the half-man. After the soldiers capture and recruit Mouse by force, Mahlia and Tool risk their lives journeying into the Drowned Cities to rescue him. Bacigalupi uses multiple alternating narrative voices to present distinct perspectives in brutal yet poetic language that vividly depicts a harrowing world of violence, destruction, and ruthless cruelty. Characters continually reassess abstract concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, freedom, and equality, creating an overarching commentary on the negative consequences of world politics and war. Bacigalupi’s intense, action-filled novel is a heartbreaking and powerfully moving portrait of individual resiliency amidst extreme circumstances that rivals, if not surpasses, the excellence of its predecessor.
5 1/2" x 8 1/4"
Level 4.6; Points: 13;
Scholastic Reading Counts
Level 5.3; Points: 22;
Potentially Sensitive Areas
Language: Mild Language, Discrimination: Reference/Discussion, Violence: Mild Violence, Sexual Content: Mild Sexual Content/Themes, Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Drug Use/Abuse
War, Soldiers, Survival, Orphans, Conduct of Life, Genetic engineering, Science fiction,