Author: Forde, Patricia
Letta, charged with collecting and saving words, uncovers a sinister plan to suppress language, robbing the people of Ark of the power of speech, and realizes she must also save the culture itself.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.40
Points: 11.0 Quiz: 190290
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.40
Points: 19.0 Quiz: 71746
School Library Journal (00/05/17)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 05/01/2017 Gr 7–10—In this gripping postapocalyptic thriller, a handful of people have survived the Melting, a climate change—induced catastrophe, thanks to the foresight and scientific inventiveness of John Noa and his band of Green Warriors. These survivors now live together in a community known as the Ark, where life is possible but far from pleasant: water and food are strictly rationed, art and music are forbidden, and even speech is stringently controlled. Blaming the Melting on humanity's ability to dissemble, Noa has limited speech to a diminishing number of words kept on an official List—now down to 500 entries—with harsh penalties for those who use unauthorized vocabulary. In a plot that hews closely to YA dystopian tropes, Letta, the brave young protagonist who is charged with helping maintain the List, is a firm believer in Noa's rules until Marlo, a handsome member of the resistance, shows up injured in her shop and shortly thereafter, her master, Benjamin, is reported dead under mysterious circumstances. As she helps Marlo and investigates Benjamin's purported death, Letta uncovers Noa's plan to render humanity completely speechless with the chemical Nicene—a name that calls to mind the Nicene Creed, the doctrine stating Christianity's most fundamental beliefs. Although the underlying premise and certain plot elements sometimes require a large dose of suspended disbelief, ultimately, this new entry into the dystopian field can be enjoyed on many levels. It is a well-crafted page-turner, as well as a compelling commentary on censorship and the role of language, while also inviting discussion about what distinguishes humans from animals. VERDICT For dystopian fiction aficionados, this well-paced entry offers plenty of food for thought.—Eileen Makoff, P.S. 90 Edna Cohen School, NY - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 07/01/2017 Letta, Ark’s apprentice Wordsmith, may be too young to remember the “Melting,” but John Noa, the town’s ruler, is not. How could he forget the floods, the famine, or their insidious origin: “dangerous, destructive words”? Thanks to Noa, Ark now relies on List, a fiercely regulated collection of permissible phrases. But there’s no hope in Ark, and there’s certainly no love. What’s worse: List is quickly diminishing. Yet, with the help of a ragtag crew of outsiders, Letta might be the one to save it. While debut author Forde’s premise is intriguing, its execution vacillates in effectiveness; List’s 500-word vocabulary is employed arbitrarily, and the conversations it generates, while illuminating the absurdity of limited language (“Criminal. Steal food. Bad boy”), often cripple plot development and hamstring secondary characters. List’s inception, too, is foggy. Still, Forde’s exploration of language as both weapon and savior is a noble one, and environmental undertones bolster its power. Pair with Patrick Ness’ The Knife of Never Letting Go (2008) for more intellect-fueled dystopian adventure. - Copyright 2017 Booklist.