Thursday, May 6, 2010

The City of Ember

Written by Jeanne DuPrau

First line: When the city of Ember was just built and not yet inhabited, the chief builder and the assistant builder, both of them weary, sat down to speak of the future.

Why you should read this book: Powered by a massive hydroelectric generator and peopled by earnest folks with only a sixth grade education, the city of Ember was meant to protect its citizens for only two hundred or so years, but now, at the two hundred forty year mark, the supplies are running low, the power is flickering off and on, and the people of Ember know their small village, surrounded by a dark expanse of nothingness, as the only place in the world. Twelve-year-old graduates choose their future jobs out of a hat, but Lina and Doon, dissatisfied with their choices, agree to trade, so that Lina can run around the city as a messenger and Doon can work underground, in the pipeworks, near the generator. When Lina stumbles upon a mysterious ancient note lost in her grandmother’s closet, she and Doon begin to embrace an idea that always existed in her imagination: perhaps Ember is not the only place in the world, and in that case, there must be a way out.

Why you shouldn’t read this book: You’re already hoarding light bulbs and canned peaches in anticipation of the coming apocalypse.

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