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The Water Wars Hardcover – January 1, 2011

3.4 out of 5 stars 96 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

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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 (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,229,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Evie Seo TOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 19, 2012
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: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been sitting on this review for a little while because I wasn't sure if I was going to finish reading the book or not. And now that I'm sure that I can't finish it, I'm writing a review on what I did read and explaining why I couldn't finish. I want to explain too why I gave this three stars instead of one (which, according to my star chart, means I didn't finish). I won't be posting this review anywhere but on my own site.

The reason this receives three stars is because the idea is a fantastic one. The progression of the story is fascinating and I really wanted to know the outcome. The whole dystopia was interesting and well fleshed out with details that I wouldn't personally have thought of which always is a great thing to read for me. While the idea and the world were built out of wonderful, what I struggled with was the execution of the point of view and the writing style.

First, the execution of the point of view was strange and stiff to me. I wonder if it has something to do with the fact that it's a grown man writing the point of view of a young girl. I'm guessing from the unemotional, flat voice of the narrator that Mr. Stracher doesn't have daughters or nieces or much interaction with young girls. I think he needed to have done a little more research because the way the story is told from her point of view it sounded like the recounting of a story that happened 5 years ago. There was no immediacy or emotional connection to what was happening.

And second, other than the dispassionate narrator, the writing style had something to it that I can't put my finger on but that made it really hard to enjoy reading. I love being immersed in the world of the book I'm reading and feel like I'm living it.
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