“The Water Wars” by Cameron Stracher (Sourcebooks, 2011)

Water Wars
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Cameron Stracher takes on a growing genre with Water Wars, in a dystopian future young adult novel, but this is a doomed future we can all understand and possibly sympathize with as an eventuality that may one day come to fruition.  Water Wars will make you think again the next time you buy a bottle of water or take a water-wasteful bath.

It is some point in the future when one of our most important resources has become the scarcest.  In this world water is a rare commodity, and when you can get a drop of it, you need to make it last.  The United States has now been divided up into six republics that are at war with each other.  The ice caps have melted and the lakes have dried up.  The world is a different place after what became known as the “Great Panic.”  Our main characters are Vera and her older brother, Will, who do their best to help their impoverished family with an overworked father and a sick, bedridden mother.  Then Vera meets Kai, a cute boy who’s a member of a rich family that is able to acquire water with no problem.  Kai also has a special ability: he can divine the location of water.  Kai tells Vera of a secret giant well that he knows the location of.  The next time they go to see Kai they find the fancy mansion abandoned, with signs of a struggle.  It looks like Kai and his father may have been kidnapped for what they know.  And thus begins the adventure, as Vera and Will make the decision to track down Kai and find out what happened to him; the journey will take them across the borders and into the hands of water pirates and some other very interesting people you wouldn’t want to get caught with in a dark alley.

Water Wars is one of those books you enjoy for the interesting characters, the fun and compelling story, and then at the end starts you thinking about the longer ramifications of the story at hand that at first seemed simple, but the more you think about, the more is resonates with you, so that the next time your pour yourself a glass of water, you sip it slowly, deliciously, savoring each sweet, clean, hydrating drop.

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Originally written on March 5, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.

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