Serve Your Country, Conserve Your Water, Observe Your Neighbor.
This is the slogan of the Sustainability Unit and of a country gone eco-hysterical. After nearly twelve months without rain and the hinges of the world barely still oiled, Thomas and his younger brother, Dustin, set out across a drought-ridden landscape in search of answers. What they discover along the way will change their lives, and their country, forever.
The Cloud Seeders by James Zerndt is a different kind of Dystopian novel.The whole of the United States is a dust bowl. There's been no rain and there doesn't seem to be any hope of rain in the near future. Water usage is rationed and monitored. If you see someone using water in a way they shouldn't, or when they shouldn't, you can turn them in and get.... points.
Thomas and Dustin work for the people who monitor water and electricity usage. They write people up for "abusing" the system and get rewarded for the number of people they report. Dustin also happens to be Thomas's younger brother. And virtually all he has in the world. His parents are gone. His only friend is Jerusha, a girl who doesn't mind bending the rules a bit.
Her rule bending sets the trio off on a road trip to find Thomas's and Dustin's parents. They find so much more than that, though. A map and an address left by their father leads them to an auto garage with more answers than they ever thought they'd find.
This was unlike any other dystopian book I've read before. And hits the closest to home because, while far fetched, is not necessarily impossible to imagine as a potential fate for humanity. What if our resources run out? What if we could get ticketed just for drinking water when we're thirsty? What if we're expected to just follow blindly and anything other than blind obedience results in severe punishment?
It's a scary thing to think of... but with the way things are these days... not hard to imagine.
I liked that this book was from a male point of view. I don't read many of those. Thomas is playing parent and brother to Dustin. Trying to do what's best for him while keeping a horrible secret from him at the same time. Dustin is young, and acts that way. I dare say he'd be a typical child under normal circumstances. Under the circumstances in this story, he's as normal as he can get. Jerusha is anti-government. She's the kind of girl my husband would definitely be friends with. She's suspicious and a rebel and ends up being one of the best allies the brothers have. Thomas is in love with her and Dustin looks to her for comfort, since his mother is nowhere to be found.
They come across an old family friend that they've never heard of, and a community of people intent on preserving their self-sustaining way of life and their freedom. Since marrying Jerry, I've been super in to being self reliant and living off-grid and that sort of thing, so this was the perfect book for me to read.
The world of The Cloud Seeders is a scary one, for reasons I've already mentioned. But can you imagine, I mean REALLY imagine, living in a place where you don't even have the freedom to do something like was your hands or drink a glass of iced water.
There's so much I want to say about this story, but I can't figure out how to do it in a way that wouldn't completely spoil it for everyone else.The ending was definitely not expected. Well, really the last quarter of the book, not just the very end. But it offers an amazing explanation for the story and will really get your blood boiling.
I'd recommend this as a read for an older-ish crowd. Not necessarily child friendly. But definitely a book you want to pick up and get in to.