- Age Range: 10 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 5 - 7
- Lexile Measure: 890L (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 160 pages
- Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (June 4, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0547976518
- ISBN-13: 978-0547976518
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 40 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,391,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Parched Hardcover – June 4, 2013
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From School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Imagine life with no water-no rain, no dew, no rivers or lakes-nothing. This sparely written tale tells of two young teens working together to survive a devastating drought in southern Africa. Musa, an African boy, has been sold into slavery because of his dowsing ability. His cruel owners keep him alive only to use his talents. Sarel, a Caucasian girl, faces an uncertain future after her parents are brutally shot by thugs looking for water. Alone with her family's pack of Rhodesian ridgebacks in the African bush, she decides to leave her homestead. But Nandi, leader of the dog pack, refuses to leave. She senses help is coming. Musa escapes his captors and flees toward the only water source he senses-across the desert, near Sarel's home. Nearly dead from dehydration, he collapses upon meeting Sarel. Grudgingly, she nurses him back to health. Together, they attempt to find what Musa knows is there. The story moves well, alternating among the perspectives of Sarel, Musa, and Nandi. However, it is slightly jarring to continually transition between human and canine perspectives. The writing, especially the descriptions of the drought conditions and extreme thirst, is excellent. Readers develop a cheerleader relationship with Sarel and Musa, hoping with each chapter that they will find water, somewhere, somehow. This is by no means an essential purchase, but it is a compelling read.-Lisa Crandall, formerly at the Capital Area District Library, Holt, MIα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
The desperate search for water is the haunting drama in this spare contemporary survival story. After her parents are slaughtered, Sarel runs from home into the dry desert. Her dog Nandi runs with her. In the city, young Musa escapes from the gang that kept him prisoner. Can the three fugitives trust each other and survive together? The girl, the boy, and the dog tell their stories in spare alternating narratives as they run through the drought-stricken countryside, remembering the horror left behind, and always driven by the overwhelming search for water. Musa has the special power to use dowsing sticks to find water beneath the ground, which is why his captors held him. Now can he find a well or a river to save himself and his companions? From the title on, the direct, powerful prose in this first novel dramatizes the exciting contemporary survival story. The climax will stay with readers: the elemental bliss of slaking thirst with a drink of water at last. Fans of Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet (1987) will want this. Grades 4-8. --Hazel Rochman