Wednesday, March 2, 2011

# 10 River Rats by Caroline Stevermer

I like YA fiction. I also really like post-apocalyptic fiction. I also really, really like rock n roll. But somehow, this book which combines the three is not really doing it for me.

It's post-apocalyptic America,where the population has been drastically reduced by an event the characters call the Flash, and further so by the pestilence, which kills quickly and terribly. Some cities survive, as well as small pockets of civilization, as do the Wild Boys, a band of kids who live in the infected wastelands, immune to the pestilence.

The River Rats are a group of kids living in a paddle wheel steamboat. Too rebellious to live in cities which must necessarily have a lot of rules in order to survive, but too level headed and organized to be wild boys. They go up and down the Mississippi, delivering mail, providing news and staging rock concerts in exchange for clean food and water. Life is almost routine for these kids (as routine as post-apocalyptic America can be), and they are surviving pretty well as a family. However, they encounter some excitement when they rescue King, an adult being chased by scary big guys,the Lesters, an unsavory family controlling a village. And so starts their adventure. Being chased, held captive and so on...

The story is told from the viewpoint of one of the rats, Tomcat. He is perhaps, the most irresponsible and "wild" of all the rats, but he's a good kid. They all are, actually, acting as family for one another in a world where family is scarce.

It is an exciting adventure story with interesting backdrop. The author's imagination of society after the apocalypse is pretty good with the aforementioned enclaves or good places, as the rats call it, amidst the destruction.

Why didn't I like it? I don't know, it just didn't speak to me. I mean, I don't hate it, I'm just meh about it. I guess it is a pretty good YA adventure, just not for me.

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