Jeanne Duprau’s The City of Ember, about a post-apocalyptic world filled with hope and innocence, is a story after my own heart. I had actually seen the movie first, which usually would make reading the book a whole lot less attractive to me. However, I was entranced by the movie, with our young heroes Lina and Doon trying to find their way out of their underground city, whose faulty generator and dwindling supply of light bulbs threaten to plunge them a terrifying darkness for good. Duprau renders this story of tenacious survival through the wide-eyed and determined eyes of her young protagonists, making it a compelling story of hope. There are three other books in the series, which I haven’t read, but Dark Omen tells me are worth the time.
RL: 5.0 CSM: 8+ Rating: PG Content: Death of Grandmother
Duprau’s lovely prose makes this a delightful read as well, with gems like this: “The boots were so ancient that their green rubber was cracked all over, as if covered with spiderwebs.”
During the course of the book, Lina’s grandmother passes away in her sleep, and Lina and Doon have the underpinnings of some puppy love, which never comes close to being expressed as they scramble to find an escape from their dying city. With a reading level of 5.0, The City of Ember is not a terribly challenging read, but it is a wonderful tale of hope and determination for readers 8+.