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The Mark of the Dragonfly Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 25, 2014

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 820L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (March 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385376154
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385376150
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,846 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

From School Library Journal

Gr 4–8—In the future and on a ruined planet, orphaned Piper lives alone, making her living from mending the scraps she finds after the deadly meteor showers and dust storms that beleaguer the towns on the outskirts of civilization. She has an almost magical ability to fix things, mechanized things especially-it's as though the objects want to be mended by Piper, and sometimes they will work only for her. One day Piper finds a young girl who is silent, amnesiac, and in terror of the man who hunts her. Marked by the tattoo of a dragonfly, the girl can't hide until Piper spirits her away and, with the help of Gee (who can transform at will from handsome teenager to flying dragon), the stowaway girls find a safe home on steam train 401, hurtling through the hostile countryside towards King Aron's kingdom. Johnson has brilliantly taken the dystopian genre to a level accessible to tween readers. The Mark of the Dragonfly is a fantastic and original tale of adventure and magic with steampunk elements and a little romance thrown in. The landscapes the girls pass through are imaginatively depicted and cinematically described (streets lit by glowing "night eye flowers"). Fierce battles are tempered with humor, and Piper is a heroine to fall in love with: smart, brave, kind, and mechanically inclined to boot!—Jane Barrer, United Nations International School, New York City

More About the Author

Jaleigh Johnson is a fantasy writer born and raised in the wilds of the Midwest. Her novels for the D&D Forgotten Realms line include The Howling Delve, Mistshore, Unbroken Chain, Unbroken Chain: The Darker Road, and Spider and Stone. Her first book for middle grade readers is The Mark of the Dragonfly. In her spare time, she enjoys gaming, gardening, and going to the movies with her husband. Visit her online at

Customer Reviews

The action is nicely paced and the ending is satisfying with a possibility of continuation.
g kan
Over all it is a really well done adventure story with fantastic pacing and characters that draw you in.
Amazon Customer
Overall I recommend this book to young readers, I think it will be enjoyed by anyone who picks it up.
Katarina Ortmann

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 45 people found the following review helpful By R. Sperling VINE VOICE on April 25, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Some children's books are great cross-over books for adults (I particularly like N.D. Wilson). This book is clearly written for kids. I'd give it an age span of 10 to 14 in its readability and 13 or older in its content.

The story is inventive, fast paced and fun. While some elements felt predictable to me, they would probably carry just the right amount of suspense for the 10 to 14 age group. I enjoyed the creative world building, including the different races. I also enjoyed the theme of finding a place of belonging. Again, the writing style is simple by the standard of adult literature, but this book isn't written for adults.

However, since this book is targeted for a young audience, there are a couple of things that parents might want to be aware of.

First, there is a scene where the main character, a girl of 13 years sees another character, a boy - also 13, naked and she returns to that moment a couple of times in her thoughts. While nothing is graphic it was an entirely superfluous occurrence and I wish it had been left out of the story.

Second, there is a spiritual "character" of a creator goddess that pops up throughout the book. Again, it is a fringe thing and this being seems included primarily so the mortal characters will have something to curse when surprised or angry, but if you object to the inclusion of a spiritual being you should be aware that this is a piece of the story.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Dii TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 25, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Wow! Is it steampunk for kids? Sort of, but there is so much more, adventure, danger, learning to trust others and appreciate them as individuals. Most of all, The Mark of the Dragonfly is a fantastic journey into reading that will make even the most reluctant young reader unable to put this one down! The pace is fast, the details are not overbearing, slowing down the story. A younger reader has the chance to turn their own imagination loose and fall into the world of The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson!

Young Piper is a scrapper, orphaned and alone in a world where survival is a harsh reality and watching your back is a way of life. Loyalty and friendships are rare, so when a young friend of Piper's is caught in a meteor field during a storm, she ignores her own safety to find and save him. Hidden from the falling debris, Piper watches in fear as a strange caravan is destroyed in the Meteor Field. As the storm abates, she finds a young survivor, rescues both the young girl and her young friend. The girl is a bit odd, but she carries an important tattoo that denotes she is protected by the King of a powerful and wealthy land. Seeing a chance to make money, Piper sets out to return the girl to her home. Danger and deceit follow them on a journey that, if Piper survives, will change her life forever. With the help of a magical boy who can shape shift and a journey on a classic train to a new world, Piper finds she has much to learn. But with her quick wit, her new found friends and evil nipping at her heels, this is an adventure to enjoy to its fullest!

Jaleigh Johnson has built a world that one can see, feel and become part of. Her writing is clean, quick and full of the wonder that fuels a child's imagination, no matter how old that child is!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Tim or Kastie on April 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First - regardless of genre, I'm not into YA books. I like complex stories, complicated, tortured characters, and the adult themes that just aren't in YA given the targeted age range. That said, however, I truly enjoyed THE MARK OF THE DRAGONFLY as an innocent jaunt through a steampunk-ish, fantastical world.

I'm intrigued by the idea of a realm where junk from our world lands during poisonous meteor storms. Although the story is slow to build, during this time the reader gets a good feel for the main character and her world - there is a subtly to the writing that allows the reader to fill in the blanks, such as references to Piper's father's clothing...the boots she wears, the jacket that's just a bit too large...the reader can feel Piper's sorrow in these things. She lives in a town where no one really cares for one another, yet she cares for a younger boy and his family watches out for her. That boy (Micah) and her memories are all she really has.

Until trouble literally barges through her door.

That's when the story takes off and the reader may find trouble putting this fantastic tale down.

The other reviews do a good job of summarizing the story. And it's a good story! Of course little conveniences occur within the story that may not happen in real life...but hey! It's fiction and it's fun! Go along for the ride and enjoy it.

Like other reviewers, I questioned the reason Micah was involved at all. But when the whole pictured is looked at, Micah is the mechanism that keeps Piper going forward. He's the person Piper cares for most in the world. If he didn't exist, one would wonder why Piper hadn't left her home sooner to follow her dreams and explore the world.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ryan J. Dejonghe TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 25, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book for the age range recommended (10 years and up). Within these 400 pages is a fun, magical adventure that most ten-year-old will love. I can easily see THE MARK OF THE DRAGONFLY turned into a successful movie that will crowd theaters and sell tons of DVDs. It’s perfect for that. The story is a bit too formulaic and requires too much suspension of belief for an adult audience to truly enjoy; there’s plenty of other high-quality reading in this genre for adults to dig into.

One of the key ingredients in this type of novel is world building. The book’s author, Jaleigh Johnson, does a pretty good job of making a cohesive world. Her video game and fantasy background translate well into the creation of this universe. There’s just enough fantasy, sci-fi, and even steampunk to make this trip magical. Kids may not mind this as much, but I was a bit bothered by the idea of people sustaining themselves with junk that fell out of the sky. And I was going bonkers by the 50th repetition of “oh goddess” (think any phrase we use like “oh God”, or “God help me”, or “for God’s sake”, and replace “God” with “goddess”—it got a little old after a while).

So that you understand the whole junk falling out of the sky thing, let’s talk a bit about the story. Some of it is really good. You have one group of people that collect and fix junk that falls from the sky in the form of meteorites from other planets. Piper, one of the main girls, is one of these people. She finds a wounded girl, Anna, crashed out at this caravan. Anna’s memory is hit-and-miss, but Anna has the mark of the dragonfly (an elaborate tattoo). These dragonfly-marked people are rare, kingly, and powerful.
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