Well, the bad news is, The Scourge did not turn out to be my new favorite book. The good news is, there were still some parts worth reading. Overall, the story didn't do much to catch my interest or create suspense. I guess part of the problem here is I'm a jaded twenty-something amateur critic and this book was intended for middle-grade audiences.
|Tweens Read Too|
The heroine, Ani, tests positive for a disease called the Scourge and she is sent to a colony for other Scourge victims. Ani is a stereotypical "tough" girl, and I couldn't really relate to her, but the feisty heroine has a loyal-to-death best friend named Weevil follows her to the colony. I could understand Ani's point of view on the town girl she meets, Della, but Ani takes a while to make up her mind whether or not to trust Della. At the colony, the Wardens enforce strict rules and make everyone work, even though they are "sick". Though she is weakened by the sickness, Ani fights back against the Wardens every step of the way. There is a particularly stirring scene when Ani has to climb the treadmill as the other colonists watch and rally around her. Ani also defies the odds to uncover the truth and make her escape, including (my favorite part) climb out of a pit of venomous snakes.
The Scourge is an improvement over Nielsen's last stand-alone book, A Night Divided. But I have yet to see a first-person female narrator in one of her books who actually catches my interest.