Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Water Wars

The Water Wars
by Cameron Stracher

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. (description from

I love dystopian fiction. This is no secret. I've read a lot of books in this genre, but this was really the first that dealt so openly with an environmental issue that had completely changed society as we know it. Granted, books like Carbon Diaries, 2015 deal with how society might begin to change if our destruction of the environment continues, but in The Water Wars life has already been irreperably changed and life is just completely different because of a lack of water.

The only book I could really compare it to in that respect is Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. When a meteor strikes the moon and its orbit is suddenly altered, the effects on the earth's weather patterns and ecosystem are devestating. Volcanoes erupt, earthquakes strike, flooding is massive, and winter becomes an inescapable reality.

In The Water Wars, humans have devestated the earth. The polar ice caps have melted into the oceans, altering the face of our continent. Unfortunately, with that there is no longer enough drinkable water on the planet to sustain us. Wars break out across the globe as countries begin to fight for limited resources. In North America, the U.S. breaks down. No longer a government with 50 states, there are now six independent republics warring not only each other, but the mighty Canada. Yes folks, you heard me right...Canada. In this future, Canada is THE superpower in the globe. By damming off all of the rivers that flow out of Canada, they now control the largest percentage of drinkable water on Earth...and they aren't sharing.

Poor Vera and her brother Will live in Illinowa, a desert area. They live on strictly rationed water and take dry showers. They are used to being constantly thirsty. Then Vera meets the greatly intriguing Kai. A boy who isn't afraid to waste water. He brings them extra water, wonderful water that hasn't been chemically altered. He even shows Vera a hidden spring...and tells them of a secret river. Fascinated, both teens become obsessed with Kai and his river.

When he disappears, Vera knows he didn't just leave...he was kidnapped. They set out to find Kai and rescue him. Unfortunately, they themselves get kidnapped, and rekidnapped, and then rescued, and...well let's just say there are explosions and dead bodies everywhere! This book could definitely be turned into a movie that any 14 year old boy would be happy to sit through...

The Water Wars is exciting. It's also really thought provoking. I have to admit that though I know we need to conserve water, it wasn't until I read this book that I really thought at all about what life would be like if we didn't have drinking water, no agriculture, no showering, no washing goes on and on and on. This book really made me stop to think about desalinization of water and the chemicals that go into water to make it safe. The best part, though, is that it in no way detracted from the story...I thought about those things when I put the book down. This really is a thrilling read.

On a related note, we were lucky enough at our Library to have Cameron Stracher visit on Thursday night. I was sad to have a really small turnout, but Cam was very gracious and we had a really riveting discussion about the environmental future and how The Water Wars is based somewhat in fact. He also let us know that his next young adult book will be a post-apocalyptic science fiction adventure where the natural laws of the universe are failing. Time becomes fluid, gravity no longer holds, etc. I can't wait to read it already! It was a really good author visit!!

2011 Debut Author Challenge title

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