From School Library Journal
Grade 8–10—In an alternate 21st century, teens have cell phones and cars, and worry about who will take them to homecoming and whether or not to have sex. They also have dragon drills—just in case the creatures cross the border and attack. After World War II, the dragons, who had been in hiding for centuries, reemerged from myth into real life. Humans, still on edge from the trauma of the war, struck out at them, causing a conflict in which many on both sides died. A truce was reached, a border was created, and a tentative peace was established. Seventeen-year-old Kay lives on the border of Dragon. After a fall during an ill-advised solo climb, she is rescued by Artegal, a dragon who is studying human language. Over the next weeks, a tentative friendship grows into a bond between them. When the border is breached and a conflict begins, they must rely on their friendship to repair the damage before too many lives are lost. The intense climactic action will appeal to reluctant readers, but to get there they will have to get through some slower-paced chapters. Vaughn has grounded this fantastical tale with typical teenage concerns such as relationships, parents, and school; and Kay is a strong, likable heroine. The result is a novel that will appeal to those who like relationship-driven stories as well as those who enjoy fantasies such as Christopher Paolini's Eragon
(Knopf, 2003).—Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO
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The notion that huge, flying dragons exist is only one of the leaps of faith that Vaughn’s debut YA novel requires of its readers. A nuclear war between humans and dragons resulted in a truce that divided the species' worlds. Seventeen-year-old Kay Wyatt lives in the closest human town to Dragon with her mother, who works for Border Enforcement. After Kay falls into a river and is swept across the border, she is rescued by a passing dragon, who wants to practice human speech. The two become friends, meet secretly, and even practice flying together. Then military hawks fake an incident that sparks a war, and Kay’s father is the first victim. Eventually Kay and her dragon friend devise a scheme to stop hostilities and then set out in search of legendary islands, where they hope to find escape and peace. Readers willing to suspend disbelief will be swept along by this series starter’s fast pace, appealing characters, and interesting conceptual blend of legend and technology. Grades 7-10. --Lynn Rutan