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In the far future, after Earth’s resources have been sucked almost dry, the city of Eden, controlled by the Trust, stands rich and bright amongst the resource-stripped, poverty-ridden Badlands. This utopia, filled with a seemingly endless supply of water and robotic “substitutes” that take care of day-to-day tasks, holds more than a few secrets of its own.

From the arid, unforgiving Badlands, Tess watches children crowd around the water stand where she works, desperate for the polluted cups of water. Tess doesn’t look back at the glimmering city. And why should she? Her mother had been working on a new robot there a year ago, an artilect, and it ended up killing her. For Tess, Eden is only a place of cruel memories and heartbreak.

One day, however, Tess finds that her plan to stay in the Badlands has been changed. She is discovered by Kudzu, an organization devoted to freeing the Badlands from the Trust. Reluctant at first, Tess finds herself being swept into the organization, and back into Eden.  At first they are interested in the new artilect being developed, Aevum, but soon learn the horrible and shocking truth of the Trust’s plan: the genocide of the Badlands.

Though serious and weighty, the book was also quirky and colorful with a set of strong characters.

Now Tess is thrown into choosing between Kudzu and the Badlands, or a peaceful life in Eden with her uncle.

Being a fan of dystopian novels myself, I thought PARCHED was irresistible. Though serious and weighty, the book was also quirky and colorful with a set of strong characters. The reader is immediately thrown into the middle of the story and, through Tess’s eyes, quickly learns the lingo that penetrates the book. The plot was good, though a little expected, and I was left constantly wanting to read more.

With its spunky tone, however, the book almost seemed too fun to be a dystopian novel. Sometimes the concerns brought up by the novel were played up a little too much and lost a sense of seriousness. However, this same characteristic made PARCHED stand out to me as a dystopian novel. There is just enough action, suspense, and that dash of romance to make it a win for me.

If you love a good action story with romance and a sense of brimming sassiness and adventure, PARCHED is a perfect read for you.

Reviewed by Ashley Tran on May 7, 2014

by Georgia Clark

  • Publication Date: March 14, 2014
  • Genres: Dystopian, Youth Fiction
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Holiday House
  • ISBN-10: 0823429490
  • ISBN-13: 9780823429493