Author: Nielsen, Jennifer A.
When the lethal plague known as the Scourge returns to Keldan the victims are sent to Attic Island, and Ani Mells of the River People is among them--but Ani does not feel sick, and with the help of her best friend, Weevil, she sets out to uncover the truth of what is happening, and expose the lies the people of Keldan have been told.
Download a Teacher's Guide
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.20
Points: 12.0 Quiz: 184288
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.50
Points: 19.0 Quiz: 69463
Kirkus Reviews (-) (05/15/16)
School Library Journal (05/01/16)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (07/16)
The Hornbook (00/07/16)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 05/01/2016 Gr 5–8—Under orders from Governor Felling, wardens enter the River People's country to extract five grubs, a derogatory name given to its citizens. But the grub, Ani Mells, turns out to be a handful. When Ani is tested for the Scourge, a disease plaguing the people of Keldan, she gets quarantined on Attic Island with the other Colonists who test positive for the disease. The problem is, patients enter the island but never leave. Ani suspects there is more going on than meets the eye, and in order to survive, she must uncover the truth. The story quickly advances from there, with Ani embroiled in a fight for her life. The characters are well defined and memorable. Feisty Ani, a likable character who is thoughtful and strong, drives the story forward and keeps readers wanting to know more. - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 07/01/2016 Ani is sure that she doesn’t have the Scourge, the deadly plague that seems to have returned after centuries of dormancy. Nevertheless, she tests positive for it, and off she goes to Attic Island, a quarantine colony where the infected receive extremely limited amounts of medicine and wait to die. Ani’s not content with that fate, however, and she’s certain that there is something suspicious afoot, so she causes trouble for the guards (who curiously never contract the supposedly contagious illness) and for the governor. She’s absolutely correct in her suspicions, but whether or not she has the true Scourge or a manufactured lookalike, she may not survive the murderous governor long enough to tell the world what she has discovered. Readers will almost certainly have it all figured out before the protagonist, but given the fact that she is in mortal peril most of the time, it’s forgivable that she’s a bit slow on the uptake. There are old animosities between two cultures, Ani’s River People and the posher townsfolk, that are now being thrown together in the quarantine community that make the lack of collaboration understandable. Ani’s willingness to help others, a hard battle in herself as she tries to get over long-held assumptions, demonstrates effectively how emergencies can bridge distances. AS - Copyright 2016 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Booklist - 09/15/2016 Nielsen is no stranger to stories featuring impulsive protagonists caught in a complicated fantasy adventure. In her newest novel, she mixes in a fatal plague, nefarious rulers, and a scapegoated minority, lending a modern feel to a somewhat medieval setting. Heroine Ani Mells, self-described as “not the type of girl who panicked over ordinary near-death experiences,” is what is known as a “grub,” one of the second-class River People. When she is caught one day by the country’s wardens, she finds herself ordered to an island set aside for the Scourge victims. Though she’s never felt ill, she is fingered as having the dreaded disease. Luckily, her best friend Weevil manages to tag along. They begin to piece together the secrets of the dreary Colony, where the sick are seemingly being worked to death, until they’re secluded in an infirmary, never to be seen again. Constant action, with the underdogs earning the respect of the older Scourge victims, will keep readers engaged through numerous plot twists until a triumphant ending. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.