Review: The Roar by Emma Clayton
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
In the Earth of the future, an Animal Plague has led humans to destroy most of the planet. The entire population is now crowded behind a wall surrounding the top third of the world. There are no animals, there is very little sunlight unless you're rich, there isn't real food to eat, and everyone feels pretty hopeless and helpless. Ellie and Mika live in this world. Ellie was kidnapped about a year ago. She has learned to do fabulous things, but she still only wants to go home. Her parents believe she's dead, but her twin brother, Mika, feels that she's still alive somewhere. He's getting teased at school, frustrating his parents, and just generally being miserable. One day, his gray, damp, moldy classroom is lightened up with cupcakes and balloons. They are starting the Fit for Life program, sponsored by the Youth Development Foundation. Mika is suspicious of the program, but eventually goes along because he believes he might learn what happened to Ellie. As part of the program, the kids play a video game called Pod Fighter that can lead to fabulous prizes for them and their families. Everyone rushes to compete, but Mika has a feeling there's a lot they aren't being told.
From the beginning with Ellie's heart-pumping race to freedom, to the ending where you can't believe there just aren't any more pages, the action is almost non-stop in this book. It's a pretty long middle-grade novel at 488 pages, but those pages fly by. I can't wait to read the next one!
I like Ellie, Mika, and Audrey a lot. I'm curious to find out more about Leo and even to find out what's going on with the jerk, Ruben. But Mika really stood out for me. The story is told mostly from his point of view and his reactions all feel real. He wants to be good for his family, but he isn't stupid and he knows the government is covering up something. When he has the chance to find his sister and help improve the family's lives at the same time, he pours his heart and soul into the effort.
This is a dystopian novel, and I can have trouble with those, but I obviously ate this one right up. It was a world that I, scarily enough, found very believable.
For a fast-paced adventure story for both boys and girls, give this one a try. Young readers (and not-so-young readers, for that matter) should love this one!
Read an excerpt.
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