Title: The Ward
Author: Jordana Frankel
Publisher/Year: HarperCollins Publishers 4/30/13
Length: 480 pages
Jordana Frankel’s thrilling and imaginative YA dystopian novel The Ward is set in a near-future New York City. A catastrophic flood has washed out Manhattan, leaving the rivers polluted, and entire neighborhoods underwater. Some areas are quarantined because of an outbreak of a deadly disease.
The illness, known as the Blight, is killing sixteen-year-old Ren’s sister. Desperate to save her sister’s life, Ren agrees to lead a secret mission from the government to search for a cure. But her quest leads to a confounding mystery beneath the water and an unlikely friendship with a passionate scientist.
I really enjoyed this story. I’m a sucker for all things Dystopian in nature and i love when stories are centered around NYC since that’s where i live. We’re taken to a point in history where there’s been a natural disaster of sorts – the ice caps have all melted and New York City has been virtually flooded. Much of the area is actually considered islands once again, and the skyscrapers that we know and love here now are under water by significant measures.Society is also dealing with an epidemic of sorts as well – the Blight which is a contagious virus that causes tumors to grow at rapid rates.
So at the beginning of the story, we’re introduced to Ren who’s just a Tween herself and in an orphanage because that’s the life that most kids have at this point. Their parents have died from the plague. Ren breaks out of the orphanage to try her hand at racing and this is where we’re then fast forwarded a few years. Ren is the only girl racer and quite amazing at it – she’s never lost. During the 3 years in the fast forward though, she was captured byt the governing body the DI or what not and in exchange for her life and freedom, she’s become a scout for them. See, in addition to illness and the flood, the people of New York have an issue with finding freshwater since the flooding has left everything disease ridden. People have to wait for freshwater rations and it’s a tough thing. So as a scout, Ren has to maintain nightly contact with the DI (and keep it a secret) that she’s searching for this freshwater.
One night at a race, she’s approached by someone who claims to be part of the DI and tells her to re-route her race course and go to a different area in the city that is supposed to have freshwater. Ren has no choice but to follow orders and almost kills herself in the process. What she finds there not only is freshwater, but the linkage to an even deeper story. there’s a connection to a long sought after ‘fountain of youth’ of sorts – a body of water with healing properties, and everyone wants a piece of it.
This story takes us on the journey that Ren then has moving forward. What to do with what she learns of this water, dealing with the people that know about it and that want at it….and those that she still has to keep in the dark for their own safety.
There’s teen angst, a bit of romance and some great family love. ( and a little bit of edward cullen in the mix with the copper haired leading male)
All in all, i really liked this story because it’s a different take on things – bringing back the dystopian that i love so much and a twist of mythology that everyone wants to believe is true. The way that this story is set up also allows for us to hope that there’s another installment and that this is just the beginning of a series