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The Water Wars Hardcover – January 1, 2011

3.4 out of 5 stars 93 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7-10-In a futuristic world desperate for water, Vera and her older brother, Will, struggle to help their father eke out a meager living and care for their stricken mother. When Vera befriends Kai, a wealthy teen whose father is a wildcat water driller away for months at a time, he soon becomes a fixture at their home. After he fails to meet them one day, Vera and Will stumble upon evidence that he was abducted. Their search for their friend takes them far from their republic of Illinowa in what was the Midwestern United States through the republic of Minnesota and into Canada. Along the way, they are befriended by a band of pirates and taken hostage by a group of domestic terrorists. They eventually escape and track Kai and his father to Bluewater, the shadowy organization that has a monopoly on the water desalinization process and intends to exploit Kai's rare gift of divination. Stracher has created a realistic dystopian world ravaged by drought and taken from today's headlines as scientists warn of probable water shortages in the future. The fast-paced plot, nonstop action, and hopeful conclusion will appeal to teens, who likely won't mind that some of the minor characters are two-dimensional stereotypes. Others, such as the pirate leader Ulysses, are intriguing, fleshed-out characters who complement Stracher's likable sibling protagonists.-Leah J. Sparks, formerly at Bowie Public Library, MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


"THE WATER WARS is a gripping environmental thriller with a too-real message. Cameron Stracher tells a story with quick pacing, compelling characters and a vision of a frightening future." - Howard Gordon, Executive Producer, '24,' and author of Gideon's War (forthcoming 2011)

"Let us pray that the world which Cameron Stracher has invented in THE WATER WARS is testament solely to his pure, wild, and brilliant imagination, and not his ability to see the future. I was parched just reading it." - Laurie David, academy award winning producer of An Inconvenient Truth, and author of The Down to Earth Guide to Global Warming

"In the tradition of THE HUNGER GAMES, Cameron Stracher's WATER WARS is both a trenchant cautionary tale of a world drained of its most precious resource and a rousing adventure-story of the plucky young heroes who set out to save it. Perfect for young readers-but with more than enough substance for mom and dad as well." - Justin Cronin, author of THE PASSAGE

"Adult author Stracher (The Laws of Return) offers a bleak picture of the future in his first YA novel... It's clear that Stracher has put much thought into the effects of cataclysmic water shortages. His fast-paced, nonstop thriller doesn't hold back in its portrayal of a parched, desperate world. " - Publishers Weekly

""Preble artfully combines contemporary characters with classic figures from Russian mythology to create the second installment in this intriguing series... After reading Haunted, those who missed Dreaming Anastasia will likely want to go back to the first book in the series so that they can spend more time in Preble's multi-dimensional world."– Kate Girard, RT" - RT

"Brilliant and terrifying, Stracher's water-desperate world will make readers re-think letting the water run before a shower or while brushing their teeth. As Will and Vera criss-cross this world, it becomes evident that Stracher has truly considered all of the different outcomes that a water shortage would have on a society. Stracher has created a large cast of characters with enormous skill that has each person standing out from the rest." - RT

"The thematic impact of The Water Wars was just as intense and disturbing, if not more so, than the Hunger Games novels. Readers of all ages should read this stark novel about greed and ignorance and apathy – a wonderful book to initiate discussions (in classrooms, between parents and their children, book clubs, etc.) about environmental stewardship and how the actions of one person can change the world for the better..." - Explorations: The Barnes & Noble SciFi & Fantasy Blog

"This fast-paced dystopian story paints a compelling picture of a world devoid of an adequate drinking supply, caught between warring governments and special-interest corporations. The characters are colorful and interesting, and in some respects, the scenario is frighteningly plausible... It is a recommended read that will make readers consider their own wastefulness of this precious resource." - VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)

"Heart Racing: If finishing The Hunger Games left a gaping hole in your life, Cameron Stracher's Water Wars aims to fill it. Set in a dystopian future where a lack of water trumps all else, this adventure tale will keep you turning pages far into the night." - Campus Circle Newspaper

"The action here will take your breath away, with chase scenes and double-crosses... Author Cameron Stracher's dark novel is a page-turner and I was up way past my bedtime reading it. It's easy to visualize the Armageddon-like landscape that Stracher describes, and it's all-too-easy to imagine the futuristic scenario that makes water so precious.

Go without food for three weeks and you'll lose a lot of weight. Go without water for three days and you'll die... Don't consider going without "The Water Wars" at all." - Detroit Lakes Tribune

"Once you start reading The Water Wars, a simple glass of water becomes something special. The author has done a wonderful job of creating a bleak world, and he describes the dry, parched environment so well that I became thirsty just reading his words... The Water Wars is filled with nonstop action and it moves along at a breathless pace... The Water Wars is the kind of book I keep thinking about long after I've finished reading because it's based on a realistic scenario. And even though it deals with environmental issues and greed, it never felt preachy. It would be a great book for parents and teens to read together and discuss." - DaemonsBooks.com

""I know a river," says Kai. His words seem impossible yet tantalizing to Vera and her brother, Will, whose
mother is slowly dying for lack of clean water. Shaped by severe drought, their civilization is caught in a
power struggle among governments, and between governments and outsiders such as pirates and
environmentalists. When Kai is kidnapped, Will and Vera begin a David-and-Goliath rescue mission that
pits them and the allies they find against formidable, well-armed enemies. Set in a dismal future society,
this dystopian novel sets up a good premise... Once the plot gets in gear, the driving force is action... Readers
who enjoy the adventure may also find some social and ecological food for thought along the way." - Booklist

""...a powerful message. I would recommend this novel for those who enjoy dystopian novels with a hint of sci-fi thrown into the mix." - Sacramento Book Review" - Sacramento Book Review

""The Water Wars is a thought-provoking dystopian thriller with a valuable message about the dangers of assuming that earth's resources are unlimited... With it's conservation message and ethical dilemmas, The Water Wars would provide interesting material for a middle school book report." - Story Snoops" - Story Snoops

""...leaves you really thinking about the world and just how valuable the little things we have are. I like that Stracher took something that we don't usually think about a lot, like water- and flipped it to make readers aware of just how valuable this natural resource is to us... a thrilling novel that shows us what could happen if an important resource becomes scarce." - Zoe's Book Reviews" - Zoe's Book Reviews

""The book moves in a fast-paced style and changes settings rapidly. It really takes you on an amazing odyssey." - Bookish Delights" - Bookish Delights

""Vera lives with her brother Will and her father in the Republic of Llinowa. This is in the future when water is more precious than silver and gold, and politics is all about water. Then one day Vera meets Kia, and he doesn't even seem to care about water at all. When Kia goes missing, her and Will go looking for him. During the journey they will encounter many obstacles and make many new friends. Will they discover Kia's secret and also a limitless supply of water?

"The Water Wars" is a futuristic book where the world has mostly dried out and water is the most expensive and precious thing of all. This is an outstanding novel by Cameron Stracher, unlike anything else I've read. It's quite unique and engrossing. I am eagerly awaiting Cameron Stracher's next novel." - Night Owl Reviews

""Fast-paced, suspenseful and nicely developed...I would definitely read more by Stracher and perhaps more books from the dystopian genre too." - Books and Literature for Teens" - Books and Literature for Teens

"The characters will reach readers, but it's the plot and action that will hold their attention as well as the descriptive writing that brings this bleak future world into the minds of those that pick up this book. Another good addition to those who love dystopian novels." - YA Books and More

"Cameron Stracher provides a strong cautionary tale based on the premise that in the near future the liquid wars will focus on water and not oil." - Midwest Book Review

Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 17 years
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 750L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire; First Edition edition (January 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402243693
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402243691
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,407,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Cameron Stracher was born and raised in Roslyn, Long Island. At a young age, he wanted to be a writer, and had his first play produced while an undergraduate at Amherst College. After college, he retreated to Woods Hole, Massachusetts, where he tried to write the Great American Novel. Failing miserably, he enrolled at Harvard Law School, where he still managed to take a writing workshop from Mary Robison at Harvard College. He returned to Woods Hole after earning his J.D. degree, and was the only waiter at the Coonamessett Inn who was also admitted to the New York State bar. Finally, succumbing to parental and financial pressure, he got a real job at Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C., where he lasted for one year before fleeing for the Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa.

He spent four years in Iowa City, studying under Frank Conroy, James Salter, Marilynne Robinson, Meg Wolitzer, and Deborah Eisenberg. After graduating, he moved to New York City where Cameron practiced law at Friedman & Kaplan, and then became in-house counsel at CBS, handling libel, privacy, copyright and other claims for the network. One of the highlights of his career during those years was getting Dan Rather out of jury duty.

Cameron won a fiction fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts in 1994, and his first novel, The Laws of Return, was published by William Morrow in 1996. His non-fiction account of his life as a law firm associate, Double Billing: A Young Lawyer's Tale of Greed, Sex, Lies, and a Swivel Chair, was also published by Morrow in 1998. He left CBS in 1999 and joined the media law firm Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, where he became partner and helped open the New York office. In 2001, he began teaching at New York Law School, and eventually became the Publisher of the Law Review and the Co-Director of the school's new Program in Law & Journalism. His second book of non-fiction, Dinner with Dad: How I Found My Way Back to the Family Table, was published by Random House in 2007. It was recently optioned for television by 3Arts Entertainment. In 2010 Cameron left New York Law School to spend more time writing and with his family. In 2011, Sourcebooks published his first YA novel, the dystopian thriller The Water Wars. In 2013, his non-fiction book about running, Kings of the Road, was published by Houghton Mifflin. In 2014, it was named best book of the year by the American Track & Field Writers of America.

At present, he is Of Counsel to Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, and General Counsel - Media at American Media, where he supervises all pre-publication review for the National Enquirer, Star and OK! magazines and all litigation for American Media publications. He also maintains his own solo practice where he counsels media companies like Hybrid Films, producer of Dog The Bounty Hunter and 3Ball Entertainment, which produces Extreme Weight Loss, among other television programs.

In addition to his books, Cameron has written for The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. He lives in Connecticut with his wife, two children, and one dog.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In his most recent novel, Cameron Stracher paints a vivid picture of what the world could become if the water shortage were to occur. It's a realistic and terrifyingly plausible scenario that will definitely make you reflect on many political and economical issues of modern times. The Water Wars is a dark and disturbing environmental thriller. It carries a profound message that will resonate with readers.

Cameron Stracher created a breathtakingly grim and horrifying reality. A world almost completely deprived of water. Or with not enough water left for people to live normally. Just the idea of that makes me instantly thirsty and, frankly, I can't imagine anything more horrible than dying from thirst. In fact, that's exactly what happened in the world created by Stracher. Hundreds of millions of people have died due to dehydration. There is no free access to drinking water anymore. Lakes, rivers, ponds.. everything have dried up and now the only source of drinking water is controlled by the government. The government gets to decide how much water you get per week. They can also send you to jail for wasting it, even if its just a few spilled drops.

Vera and Will get by just fine on the Government assigned rations. Sure, they sometimes have to survive a day or two without drinking anything, and even the water they get to drink, the one provided by The Water Authority, isn't anything like the fresh water in old days - it's a desalinated ocean water that tastes of chemicals and something burned. That is all they have, though, they can either drink it or die. Many people, including their mother, get sick and no one can tell whether it's the water, the air, or something else. Will, however, is convinced that it's something in the water that is making people ill.
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Format: Paperback
Well...this is basically a poorly-written book about how terrible the world would be if all the evil water-wasting totalitarian governments and capitalists managed to get together and suspend the laws of physics.
The story's set-up is that drinkable water has become very scarce--people have food and various consumer goods--even tap water! The tap water is full of germs and/or toxins, so they have to rely on expensive government-rationed water.
Now, I'm very good at buying novels' fantastic premises, but I can't suspend my disbelief so far as to accept that people have become totally incapable of purifying their own water. The characters in this book have access to plenty of tap water, and yet avoid it like the plague. Purifying water is not that hard, people! You do not need a major corporation to set up a huge desalinization plant. Boil it for five minutes and distill it. No big deal. My eight-year-old sister knows how to build a distillation system out of ordinary household materials. (And no, it wasn't a homeschool project.)
So the entire set-up rests on rescinding the laws of physics. I'm not buying it, dude.
I might have forgiven this gaping hole if the plot or characters were good, but, well, they weren't. The characters are boring, and the plot consists mainly of the main character and her brother getting kidnapped...four times.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I bought this book on the Kindle, so it was more than the cover art that persuaded me. Still, it was a dissapointment. The characters were under developed, as were their relationships. It felt as though it were written (and edited -if edited) by a student, I was surprised that this wasn't a first novel. The idea was interesting, but the story too fantastical to believe. And by fantastical I'm not talking about the dystopian setting but the ridiculous chain of events that most reviewers refer to as the action/adventure that was so thrilling. I agree that it was fast-paced and still mildly entertaining, but altogether unbelievable and unfortunately, unaffecting.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Glad I knew nothing about the bad reviews before picking Water Wars up. Those who complain about character development really do not get this book. It is a dystopian thriller crossed with a fantastic Missing Impossible film.

Vera and Will live in a world after the polar ice caps have melted, after the destruction of the United States and most of the world as we known it due to environmental disaster of epic scale and global warming become a daily living nightmare come true.

Vera and Will live in the territory known as Illinowa. Minnesota is its own water hoarding republic. The most precious thing on Earth is drinking water and while regular civilians live a life of perpetual thirst, rich ones like Vera and Will's new friend Kai know that there is enough water to start anew but that an evil company, Bluewater and the worldwide republics in its back pocket will do anything to keep its civilians dumb to the truth.

It is a world of dry showers, water wasting crops supplamanted for soy substitutes for even avocados, school involves being brainwashed into daily cluelessness about what the governments are really doing and no one, except people like Kai, can imagine speaking out against these governments even as they believe that the converted sea water the government gives them to drink along with the slow perpetual thirst slowly kills them.

Sadly, people like Will and Vera's parents remember a world of bubble baths, showers, real food, crops, a free country and pure, fresh drinking water and rivers that flowed impeded. Children hear and see pictures of this past in school but to them it seems more fiction than fact. After all, all they have ever known is thirst.
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