Sunday, April 14, 2019

After the Green Withered (After the Green Withered, #1) by Kristin Ward

The sixth mass extinction in Earth’s history, precipitated by unchecked drilling and a variety of environmental disasters, has occurred and the planet is in the midst of a decades-long drought. The nation has closed its borders and the military was brought in to control widespread violence as water dwindled and rationing got serious. As the story opens, the U.S. has been consolidated into 18 states based on river basins, the remaining population clustered into cities in each state, couples are limited to one child, and water is controlled by one all-powerful agency: the Drought Mitigation Corporation (or DMC.)

Enora Byrnes, now in her last year of school, has grown up in Prineville and this has always been the way things were. As she approaches graduation, she is expected to make a decision on her future – how she is going to contribute to society henceforth, as an adult. Undecided and with few choices open to her, all she knows is that she does not want to go into the DMC. Her best friend, Bram, a few years older and of the same mind had been selected by the DMC never to be seen or heard from again. The DMC was for the elite in town: their children groomed for service since birth. Enora was not one of the elite. But as graduation nears, Enora is singled out for the DMC anyway and begins her training in addition to her school work eventually ending up at a training base several hours away.

With her recruitment, Enora begins to see improvements in the lives of her parents: better housing, increased water credits, better and more food. Enora feels obligated and stuck especially when things that the DMC does don’t jive with what she and the rest of the population has always been told.

When she and her partner are sent to the town of Renascence to neutralize a dangerous rebellion their doubts about the DMC and their role in the agency mount when the rebels turn out to be mere children and the DMC is hiding some horrible secrets below ground and behind locked doors in secret facilities there.

I really enjoyed this tale of a dystopian U.S. The author did a fabulous job of creating the world that Enora lives in. Enora seems like such a typical teenager on the brink of high school graduation with the usual angst associated with fitting in, living up to her parents’ expectations, friends, and young love. Then there are some terribly tough decisions about her future and the horrible revelations that gradually unfold. And the story’s not over – there’s a Book 2! This story kept my attention and kept me reading late into the night because I couldn’t find a good spot to stop. It is action-filled and thought-provoking. I recommend this book to readers that enjoy young adult books and those that like dystopian/post-apocalyptic tales as well.

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