From School Library Journal
Gr 6-10–In this first installment of a planned series, 13-year-old Eli lives in a postapocalyptic domed city run by InfiniCorp. The world has been suffering from global warming, but the corporation insists there is no reason to worry. It uses the power of the CloudNet to distract its citizens from signs that all is not as it should be. Because Eli is one of the few who can resist the CloudNet's power, he is accused of being a “Fogger” (those who are accused of anti-InfiniCorp sentiments) and is sent to a reeducation facility where he is imprisoned and forced to work assembling T-shirts. He meets Tabitha, who is the only other slave who can fight the power of the CloudNet. Together they plot to escape. Taut pacing and interesting characters are offset by flawed world building. A map does add visual clarification to settings that aren't fully fleshed out in the text (though, oddly, the location of the re-education facility is not indicated). Eli's microchip-implanted pet mongoose functions as a deus ex machina, another symptom of sloppy world building. While this is a decent example of dystopian literature, it is not likely to win over those who aren't already enthusiastic readers of the genre.Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH
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Hughes’ ecocrisis dystopia follows a familiar formula yet marks the beginning of a thought-provoking series. Thirteen-year-old Eli is expected to secure an important position in the family’s company, InfiniCorp, which created dome-cities to protect humanity from the ecological disasters Outside. When he notices worrisome problems with the artificial sky and weather, his concerns are dismissed. Unable to simply toe the company line, Eli meets the Friends of Gustavo, who claim they know the truth about the Final Days, and ends up marked as a terrorist. When he is sent to be reeducated, he meets Tabitha, another Friend, and with her and his telepathic pet mongoose, Eli intends to escape and bring change. Hughes takes on digital realities, mind control, corporate conspiracies, climate change, religious mania, and evil family members in this action-packed adventure. Although Eli doesn’t spur the plot forward so much as react as it happens, readers will relate as he ends up in trouble just by being inquisitive and observant. The author’s note includes a reading list and intelligent examples of how real science informed the story. Grades 6-10. --Krista Hutley