Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Plot Summary:
The world has not seen rain, or a flood, in over two hundred years. People live in units called Congregations, which are governed by overseers. Although this is the future, reality has shifted back to the 1800's where congregants are treated as slaves and the overseers are the "masters." Congregants spend their days working in the blazing sun by capturing whatever water they can get from plants, trees, and any other element that might have moisture. If they don't meet the quota of the day are either beaten or starved until they reach their goals. For Ruby, her life as a congregant has been full of heartbreak and challenges. Not only is she the daughter of the the leader, she is also the secret child of Otto--their savior. Although her identity is kept secret, Ruby has a power that is unique. In her blood, the blood of Otto, is a power that has that can regenerate life. All Ruby can do is sit and wait for Otto to return so she can free her friends and family. However, Darwin, the head Overseer, does not make her life easy because of the fact that he is cruel and covets her mother. Day after day, Ruby finds it difficult to control her anger and she doesn't understand why no one stands up to Darwin. However, all of that changes when a new overseer steals her attention and, eventually, her heart. What she doesn't expect is that this boy not only offers a chance to escape, he can give her the courage to stand up for what she believes in. Unfortunately, she has been selected to become the newest Elder, which pits her convictions against the wishes of the congregation. Can Ruby lead the way she wants to or must she continue to wait for Otto. This is the biggest fight of Ruby's life.

Critical Evaluation:
Bachorz has created a story that is not only chilling, but horrifically realistic where the world has turned on its head and shot us back hundreds of years. As a reader, who just finished several books about Abraham Lincoln, I am transported to the time of slavery where injustice has been disguised as something good. Not only do the congregants live in so-called "quarters," they are beaten and abused by their superiors. However, the congregants have their leader, Sula, Ruby's mother, who not only volunteers to take on the beatings of her brethren, but provides for them in any way she can. In essence, Sula is the one the congregants look to for help and hope. As for Ruby, she is literally the life force behind her clan because it is her blood that not only heals her broken mother, but provides the community as well. In many ways, readers will feel and see the injustice, which is reflected in Ruby's frustration with her situation. Although I wasn't expecting the romance aspect, it is a nice touch because it instills hope during time of hopelessness. Honestly, this book has an underlying message that is not only indicative of what could happen, but of what will be if we don't take care of one another and appreciate the things we have, and need, to survive.

Information about the Author:
According to her website:
Pam Bachorz grew up in a small town in the Adirondack foothills, where she participated in every possible performance group and assiduously avoided any threat of athletic activity, unless it involved wearing sequined headpieces and treading water. With a little persuasion she will belt out tunes from "The Music Man" and "The Fantasticks", but she knows better than to play cello in public anymore. Pam attended college in Boston and finally decided she was finished after earning four degrees: a BS in Journalism, a BA in Environmental Science, a Masters in Library Science and an MBA. Her mother is not happy that Pam's degrees are stored under her bed.

Pam draws inspiration from the places she knows best: she wrote CANDOR while living in a Florida planned community, and set DROUGHT in the woods where she spent her summers as a child. She currently lives in the Washington, DC area with her husband and their son. When she's not writing, working or parenting, Pam likes to read books not aimed at her age group, go to museums and theater performances, and watch far too much television. She even goes jogging. Reluctantly.

Genre:
Teen Dystopian Thrillers, Teen Romance

Reading Level/Interest:
Grades 9 & up

Books Similar to Drought:

Awards & Recognition:

Positive reviews from:
  • Kirkus Review
  • Bulletin of Center of Children's Books
  • Publisher's Weekly
  • Booklist
  • Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
  • Hornbook

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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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