Floodland, Marcus Sedgwick
Ten-year-old Zoe is desperate. In a not-too-distant future where the polar ice caps have melted and most of the planet’s land is underwater, she is alone with one precious possession–a rowboat. With it, she can navigate the few bits of land still visible in search of her parents, from whom she was accidentally separated. That is, until she is captured on one desolate shore by a band of impoverished teenagers who call themselves the Eels. On the Eels’ island, Zoe’s boat is stolen and she is taken prisoner by the gang’s savage young leader, Dobby. The only reasonable person left on the island is its sole adult, ironically nicknamed Mad William. Though Dobby’s gang dismisses him as crazy, Zoe quickly understands that William’s strange mutterings hold the secret to finding both dry land and her parents. Now all she has to do is find her boat, gather provisions, and manage to escape Dobby’s grasp before the ever rising water closes over the Eels’ island forever.
First-time author Marcus Sedgwick’s Floodland is an inspired mix of Lord of the Flies, Survivor, and Tomb Raider, guaranteed to captivate the most reluctant teen readers with deceptively simple prose and a richly imagined plot that could very well come to pass. Sedgwick adds his own stunning, original woodcut illustrations that help communicate the dreary yet barren beauty of the watery setting. All in all, this is a brilliant debut, reminiscent of Garth Nix’s Shade’s Children and Adam Rapp’s The Copper Elephant. (Ages 10 and older) –Jennifer Hubert / Amazon Review