by David Estes
Country Saga #1
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult,
Estes' provides us with a dystopian world that is truly hell on earth. Even in the winter the temperatures are hot and nothing but cacti grow. The very air they breathe is poisonous and few people reach the age of 35. To keep the tribe populated, girls are forced to mate, with randomly selected males, at the age of 16 and have children every 3 years. They are referred to as Bearers and have little purpose other than being baby factories and raising children. 15 year old Siena faces her coming of age with dread and dreams of a better life.
As one of David's beta readers, I received an advanced copy of this last year. I can still recall how horrified I was at this world that Estes has created. I remember telling him that I suppose that would be a compliment to a dystopian plot. Imagine the worst possible life that you could endure and multiply it by a hundred! Yet in classic Estes style, if nothing else, we are encouraged to dream. No matter how oppressed his characters are they still have hope for a better future. They still believe that life CAN and WILL get better. That a handful of youths can make a difference if they don't lose faith in themselves.
As the mother of a teenager I am always looking for stories to capture my daughter's interests. I have been appalled by the language and promiscuity in a lot of books that claim to be for young adults. I can give a mother's guarantee that this book is safe for your teenager to read as David prefers to stay on the "clean" side of the young adult scale. With this said, I will also claim that parents will like it too. I had always been under the impression that young adult fiction was just that, for the younger generation. But you know what I love best about young adult fiction? Having intelligent literary discussions with my teen because we have read the same books. Lord knows that as she gets older, it becomes harder and harder to find common ground as she strives to become her own independent person. I cannot praise David's books enough as it has been hard to find reading material to capture and hold my non-reader's attention. Yet he has done what had been the impossible, make my daughter WANT to read!