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Exodus Hardcover – April 1, 2008
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About the Author
Julie Bertagna started her career as a teacher and freelance feature writer for major Scottish newspapers and has established a reputation as an author of powerful and original fiction for young people. She lives in Glasgow with her husband and daughter. Visit her Web site at www.juliebertagna.com
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Top Customer Reviews
The premise is an interesting one - what if the entire earth were flooded because the polar ice caps melted? The story is an interesting one and the plot moves along pretty nicely.
There were quite a few things I did not like, however. The dialogue was pretty horrible. Lots of gasping and whining and such. Some pretty cheesy exchanges. Also, within the plot there were a lot of unbelievable coincidences. The protagonist whines about how difficult things are and how she doesn't know how she will proceed. Then, voila! Something happens that makes everything ok. There are also a few references made to the fact that there are no women in charge and no women "dreamers." These references to women's rights really felt out of place. That facet of the story was never fleshed out so these mentions seem distracting rather than a real piece of the plot. They were unnecessary. If this was something that the author really wanted to explore she should have made it a larger part of the plot.
Overall, this book was ok. I liked it and really enjoyed parts of it but cannot rate it higher because of the issues stated above. I think most adults reading this would agree with me. However, tweens and young teens may rate this much higher.
Like the best of the genre, Exodus is both imaginative and profound. The future technology is inventive but believable, as is the geology of the flooded Earth. While this does have some naïveté of younger fiction ("steal a uniform, so we can sneak around in disguise,") Bertagna depicts intense emotions with sophistication (including death, despair and sensual love). Most importantly, the view from a failing, future world resonates with provocative insights (and irony) about our own time. The privileged are blind to the exploitation of outsiders. Virtual connections outweigh human ones. Survival is entwined with selfishness. And of course, the idea that the fixtures of our own world -- cars, agriculture, democracy -may not be permanent. This is up there with Uglies as far as clever and absorbing YA dystopia. I'm off to read the sequel!
Howewver, there may still be hope. For Mara's favourite occupation is visiting the Weave (a version of the World Wide Web) on her portable cyberwizz (an outdated piece of "virtual reality" type technology, powered by solar batteries) and there she sees something extraordinary--hints of a New World, rising from the sea and reaching into the sky; cities where desperate refugees can surely find safety.
In a frantic bid for survival, Mara and her friends set sail in the ultimate exodus. But Mara's quest will become something even greater--a journey into humanity's capacity for good and evil, and a heart-wrenching story of love and loss ...
"Intellectually rigorous and bursting with humanity, this is a book to read again and again," said the Sunday Herald.
What could I possibly add this this? Exodus is a truly stunning book, an engrossing read for both young people and adults, and deserves to win many awards and become a top bestseller. Unfortunately, the latter is unlikely; it's seldom the best books that become bestsellers.
Warning: If sad stories tend to make you weep, keep plenty of tissues handy. Julie Bertagna tells her story without a hint of sentimentality, but its powerful simplicity is still bound to land some readers in tears.
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