by Peggy Eddleman
"What happens when you can't do the one thing that matters most? Twelve-year-old Hope Toriella lives in White Rock, a town of inventors struggling to recover from the green bombs of World War III. But Hope is terrible at inventing and would much rather sneak off to cliff dive into the Bomb's Breath—the deadly band of compressed air that covers the crater left by the bombs—than fail at yet another invention. When bandits discover that White Rock has priceless antibiotics, they invade. With a two-day deadline to finish making this year's batch and no ingredients to make more, the town is left to choose whether to hand over the medicine and die from the disease that's run rampant since the bombs, or die fighting the bandits now. Help lies in a neighboring town, but the bandits count everyone fourteen and older each hour. Hope and her friends—Aaron and Brock—might be the only ones who can escape to make the dangerous trek through the Bomb's Breath and over the snow-covered mountain. Inventing won't help her make it through alive, but with Aaron and Brock's help, the daring and recklessness that usually gets her into trouble might just save them all."
This is an AMAZING middle grade book! And not just middle grade, but teens and adults will enjoy it as well. It has tons of action, characters that you will love and care about, a very intriguing world, and a plot that leaves you breathless (and not just from the Bomb's Breath :)). But I think the thing I loved the most was that it had depth. Yes, the action was intense and the plot was amazing, but watching the growth that Hope made through the book was what put this above and beyond so many of the middle grade books. I also appreciated that although this is the start of a series or trilogy, it had closure and was complete in and of itself. I will definitely read the next book, not because I'm being driven crazy by what is coming next, but because it was so good. I have pre-ordered 2 copies of this book for my library, but I'm afraid that may not be enough. Many thanks to NetGalley for an ARC of this book.
Areas of concern: Bandits take a whole town hostage. There are scary action sequences, but good prevails. No bad language or sexual situations.
Kirkus Reviews - Ages 9-13
Publisher's Weekly - Ages 8-12
*Mrs. Duke says that all ages would love this book!*