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Editor’s Note

“Drought dystopia...”

Stracher’s drought dystopia - think scarcity, disgusting food, and rampant sickness - sent chills down my spine, especially in light of CA's current water shortage. I now appreciate the fraught politics of water distribution.
Scribd Editor

Would you risk everything for someone you just met?

What if he had a secret worth killing for?

Welcome to a future where water is more precious than oil or gold...

Hundreds of millions of people have already died, and millions more will soon fall-victims of disease, hunger, and dehydration. It is a time of drought and war. The rivers have dried up, the polar caps have melted, and drinkable water is now in the hands of the powerful few. There are fines for wasting it and prison sentences for exceeding the quotas.

But Kai didn't seem to care about any of this. He stood in the open road drinking water from a plastic cup, then spilled the remaining drops into the dirt. He didn't go to school, and he traveled with armed guards. Kai claimed he knew a secret-something the government is keeping from us...

And then he was gone. Vanished in the middle of the night. Was he kidnapped? Did he flee? Is he alive or dead? There are no clues, only questions. And no one can guess the lengths to which they will go to keep him silent. We have to find him-and the truth-before it is too late for all of us.

"Let us pray that the world which Cameron Stracher has invented in The Water Wars is testament solely to his pure, wild, and brilliant imagination, and not his ability to see the future. I was parched just reading it." -Laurie David, Academy Awardwinning producer of An Inconvenient Truth and author of The Down to Earth Guide to Global Warming

"A gripping environmental thriller with a too-real message." - Howard Gordon, executive producer of 24 and author of Gideon's War

Published: Sourcebooks on
ISBN: 9781402245442
List price: $16.99
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To put it simply, this was not a good read. Far from it. Recent Dystopian YA fictions that I have read have really disappointed me (For e.g. Ship Breaker). The Water Wars was worse than Ship Breaker. The premise was excellent, and that is what appealed to me. But Cameron Stracher fails to explore the potential of the premise entirely.

I wouldn't go into the details, but this was a major disappointment.more
The good news: I finished it! It's over!

The bad news: everything else.

Vera lives in a world without water: it rains very little, and humankind has wasted (and/or drunk up) all the fresh water. State boundaries have changed; the US is no longer 50 states but 8 territories. The Republic of Illinowa is struggling to get water, battling with the Republic of Minnesota, who in turn is warring with the Empire of Canada for the fresh water that remains.

Vera meets a new boy, Kai, who can somehow sniff out fresh water. (It's somehow implied that it's related to his diabetes, but that makes no sense. Except that's the implication, so.) Then he gets kidnapped, and even though she's known him for about a week, she insists that she and her brother launch a rescue mission. Which they do, and get themselves kidnapped by water pirates before ultimately needing to infiltrate the large-scale, only-for-profit desalination plant (that horribly pollutes everything and is only in it for the money).

Lots of things don't make sense. Lots of (il)logical leaps. Lots of infodumps. And really, incredibly boring. There was nothing to encourage me to pick this up again, so I'm not certain why I finished it, because blah. Flat characters and a bland, boring plot.more
First I have to mention how gorgeous this cover is!! It’s what caught my eye and made me want to learn more about this book. When I saw that it was a dystopian, I was even more excited. I really liked the idea of this book: a future where water is more precious than gold. I think it’s a very original idea. I’ve read a lot of dystopian fiction and many of them have elements that you start to notice repeated in each book. This was an idea that I hadn’t heard before.The two main characters are siblings Vera and Will, though the book is told solely from Vera’s point of view. Vera and Will live with their mother, who is ill, and their father, in a district struggling for water just like everywhere else. One day while waiting for the school bus, Vera sees a boy standing in the middle of the road drinking a cup of water and dumping what’s left on the ground. Vera can’t believe what she’s seeing. You don’t just waste water like that; in fact it’s illegal. When she calls him out on it, Kia looks at her blankly and says that there is plenty of water. Kia and his defiance instantly intrigue Vera. After this chance encounter, Kia becomes an everyday part of Vera’s life, waiting for her at the bus stop, going to her house for dinner. Then one day he’s gone. Vera and Will are determined to rescue him. They set off early in the morning and hope to be home for dinner (how niave). Their search ends up leading them far from home and into the hands of some very dangerous people.I felt like the author was trying to cram in too much action and too many points of interest. Disappointingly, this left him with no climax. Each problem arises quickly and is resolved so fast that it just became unrealistic and boring. By the end, I was like oh geez, they’re two seconds away from death - again. I’m not going to sweat it though because I know everything is going to be hunky dory by the next page. Although this book isn't going to be taking over residence as my new dystopian favorite it wasn't all bad, and overall I'm still glad I gave it a try.more
Considering this was compared to "The Hunger Games", I expected it to be better. This had such an interesting concept for a story, but the way it was told bored me. It made me become a skimmer. I just thought I would have been wowed, but I'm underwhelmed! Vera: Sister to Will, adventerous and brave at times. It is her idea to save Kai. Our main character. Will: Older Brother to Vera, competitive. Seems to have low self-confidence, always thinks they will not be able to do things. A realist. Pulls through when it counts. Curious, a question asker. Kai: New "friend" to Vera and Will, and sort of a love interest for Vera. He is Kidnapped because of his ability to find water to tap into. Fun-loving and kind, a diabetic. Ulysses: A water-pirate, but one who knows loss and compassion. A true friend. A hero. Starts out as a "bad guy", but ends up being one of their strongest allies in the quest to save Kai and his father. Sula: a late character, but a strong one. Independent. Confident. Someone who will get things done. Someone to depend on. Torq: On of the main bad guys. Greedy. The back of this book makes me slightly angry... It says "Would you risk everything for someone you just met? What if he had a secret worth killing for?" Okay, so I know that Vera and Will hadn't known Kai for very long-but the way the back is worded it seems like literaly they had Just met... I don't know why, but it bothers me!!!! Also, the way things just seem to magically get better or a solution just appears right in front of their faces got old really quick. I'm sorry, but places with any kind of security these people would not have been able to do half of the "miracles" that happened to them! It was just to convienant for me. Eh, read it if it interests you but I wouldn't expect anything amazingmore
When Vera first spies Kai, he is dumping the remains of a cup of water into the dust near her Republic of Illinowa home. This very act is unheard of, illegal, grotesque even, in a world where severe water shortages have divided what was the United States into several warring republics. In Vera's world, the Breadbasket of the United States has been transformed into desert, the moisture-less air is practically poison to breathe, and most adults can be referred to as "shakers" because the years of constant thirst have taken their toll. Kai is a mystery. The son of a driller, he travels in a limo with a bodyguard, yet relishes the humble company Vera and her family have to offer. He even claims to know the location of a secret river, something that has fallen to the status of mere myth in a world where people depend on the government's paltry rations of the world's remaining water to survive. Unfortunately, before Vera can figure out Kai's story or her feelings for him, he disappears. The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher is a fast-paced, thrill a minute dystopian that leaves virtually every chapter at a cliffhanger as Vera and her brother, Will, embark on a desperate, often nearly hopeless journey to find Kai. In their journey, they come upon all kinds of humanity from the unexpectedly righteous to the dangerous to the greedy and merciless, all locked in a battle for water and wealth that must be won by whatever means possible. Stracher's world without water is terrifying. The greed and power-mongering caused by such a severe shortage of what we truly require to survive is realistically drawn. Stracher's vision of the political and economic implications of the panic caused by the dwindling of one resource nations once treated as infinite is wholly believable.Unfortunately, much of the rest of the book isn't. Maintaining such a fast pace to the story results in a great many contrivances. The times that Will and Vera are saved from an impossible situation at the last possible second by an unlikely occurrence are practically innumerable. In fact, the very premise of the story asks readers to rely on a quickly and thinly constructed fascination with Kai's improbable knowledge of where to find water and a possible blooming romance between Vera and Kai. The beginning rushes through this crucial set-up period, and this makes Will and Vera's sudden eagerness to find and save Kai on their own seem that much more inexplicable. Vera herself is a lovable enough narrator that you can't help cheering on, but the lack of a very distinctive voice makes it seem that the story could just as easily have been narrated by anyone. Until the politics and economics are fleshed out midway through the novel, Stracher's future feels a little flimsy, driven more by the awkward renaming of everyday things than by explanation. Inexplicably giving something old, a clever new name doesn't quite manage the daunting task of creating a future earth. For example, the pedicycles Will and Vera use to get around. There's no reason given to think that a pedicycle is anything more than a simple bicycle with a new name that seems meant to say "Hey, look, it's the future. We call things different names now." That said, I will say that the new name for synthetically produced avocados - quasi-vocados - put a smile on my face. Despite some problems, The Water Wars is an entertaining, extremely fast-paced adventure that readers will race through. Stracher's got a good handle on the way human nature might restructure a world with a profound shortage of water - the wars that would take place, the companies that would spring up to take advantage of the situation, the bribery and thievery that would become a daily threat to society. For readers who might prefer a more action-packed dystopian story than the more slow-burning, character-driven ones that I seem to prefer, The Water Wars has all the right stuff, but this reader was left just a little lukewarm.more
 What if you didn't have access to water? If you did have water than it wasn't real, it was all made of chemicals. The world is dry, rivers have been damned up and sabotaged. Would you risk your life for a friend, or do you want the fake water?Vera like everyone else has been impacted by the water shortages. Her mother is sick, possible from the chemically enhanced water. Vera and her family have forgotten what real water tastes like.When Vera see's a boy drink a cup of water then drop the leftover water on the ground, she can't help but to go up to him. Wasting water is illegal and you could get in huge trouble for wasting it.After talking to the boy Vera finds out that he is a prospector's son. His dad tries to find and drill his own, real water. Vera learns more about this boys and keeps seeing him when she gets home from school. Vera and her brother Will begin to become friend with this boy, Kai.Will and Vera also begin to notice that Kai is wealthy, like most prospector families are. He has real, clean water at his house, but Vera and Will don't let those things control their relationship with Kai.Kai isn't there one day when Will and Vera get off the bus they worry. When they get to Kai's apartment building they have to sneak in. Kai's apartment is ransacked and Kai and his father are not there.Will and Vera have to make a choice of whether or not they risk everything for Kai or not. Will and Vera sneak away on a search to find Kai and his father. They face ever obstacle imaginable but stick through and try to find Kai.“The Water Wars” by Cameron Stracher was a five star book. It was full of adventure, suspense, thrill, romance, everything a good book needs!The book is about two siblings searching for their friend after he has been kidnapped, of course it will have adventure in it. I loved reading the adventure scenes, and the whole book is an adventure scene! I had trouble putting the book down. The description was great. Cameron Stracher showed me the things that happened but made me feel them too. I was running, hiding, and fighting right along side Vera, Will, and the people they met along the way.Like every good book there was a little romance thrown in there. Not a lot but enough to get the book on my “Best Books” list. Feelings come up between Vera someone else, but Cameron Stracher made the romance small but you could see it was there, so boys shouldn't be afraid. I wanted a little more romance but I wasn't reading a romance novel I was reading a Adventure/Action novel. As good as the book was I thought that at some points it went too fast. They would be in one place then something would automatically happen. There could have been a little more leeway in between things. There were only a few places that did that, so it wasn't enough to ruin the writing in the book.“The Water Wars” by Cameron Stracher is a great read. It was better than drinking clean, pure water.more
The Water Wars by Cameron StracherPages: 240Release Date: January 1st, 2011Date Read: 2011, November 15th-16thRating: 3/5 starsRecommended to: 12+Summary -Vera lives in a decripit world in the near future, a world so caked and dry that there is almost no fresh water. What water is left is usually full of dirt and chemicals - which has caused many to become sick and die - and is regulated by the government to make sure everyone gets a fair shair.But Kai changes things. He is wealthy and water comes easy in his household. He and Vera become close, even with Kai's secrets and Vera's doubts. When Kai goes missing, Vera and her brother, WIll, leave home in search of him, certain he has been kidnapped. And what about that river Kai always talked about? Could it have enough water to build back the earth? The whole world is about to change - and they must face it - no matter the cost.My thoughts -When I see a book has an average of 3 stars as a rating, I usually don't waste time reading it. If virtually everyone thought of it as "just okay", why bother? There are tons of great books out there, just waiting for me to read them.But apparently The Water Wars just wouldn't get out of my head. Every time I saw it, I was in awe of the cover, and what might possibly lay inside. Soon, the temptation became too much. I picked it up at B&N a few weeks ago, and found myself totally engrossed by the first few chapters. I bought it then and there, delving further into the story as soon as I could.At first I was shocked - how did this get only 3 stars average?! It deserves at least 4! The imagery was perfect, the story/writing/characters beautiful...But sometimes beginnings are the author's strong point, as the case with Stracher. The middle? Notsomuch. Sure, I enjoyed it, but there were flaws, flaws I couldn't ignore. In the end, I was glad I had read it, but I wished it would have been more.Character notes -For the most part, these were great characters. Kai is the light, the hope of this story. I loved him instantly (third paragraph down, first page). He was actually what convinced me to buy the book; I wanted to know more. He's a character who makes you cock your head and think. I love that.Will and Ulysses were less thought-provoking but still developed well. However, even then, some of the things Ulysses did were out of character and made me go, "Huh?" Will was completely consistent throughout.Vera herself was...well, I hate to say it, but very childish. Her voice reminded me of that of Scout from To Kill A Mockingbird, which is not in itself a very bad thing... Scout, however, is 8-years-old, and Vera is supposed to be 15. I liked her but was unable to picture her well or keep a consistent personality image. In the end she became something more, but by then the story was over.Story notes -You know those stories that are good and interesting and intense, but you feel like everything is just a tad bit too easy? This was one of those. "Oh, we need to get back onto that island, but we can't swim or fly...we need a boat!" (Insert arguing.) "Oh- wait! There's a boat!" It seemed...pointless.So all-in-all the story had a great beginning, a flat middle, and a good end. And as you see, my problem with The Water Wars is not with the tagline - "Would you be willing to risk everything for someone you just met?" I feel like that tagline greatly misleads. Kai and Vera know each other for 2 months before he disappears. Even better -they see each other almost every day. I'd say she has every right to go after him!Everything else was great, but I, the big-book reader, wanted more meat - description, dialogue, more action, you name it. But, oh well. I liked it for what it was; I was thankful it wasn't all grossly "Global warming! Save the planet!" preachy; I was satisfied in the end.Summing it up -A short, thought-provoking novel. It had me thinking so much about the water I drink, the air I breathe, the food I eat, and the land I see. What if it was all gone - like the snapping of fingers, quick and sudden?For the Parents - A bit of kissing, not described; violence - some blood. 12+more
The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher is a dystopian novel set in the not so distant future. Many of the natural resources that we enjoy today have been depleted. The population is left to depend on the government for the means of survival. However some people hold out hope for a better future, some take it at the cost of others, and some are set to destroy it.I think the concept of this book is really interesting. We use water everyday for many different things but have you ever stopped to think what you would do if suddenly water wasn't available to us anymore. Things we take for granted such as showers, swimming pools and bubble baths would be but a distant memory. Cameron Stracher does a good job painting this scenario. There is definitely a message of conservation interwoven throughout this novel. The Water Wars is told through the eyes of Vera. She's a young teen who lives at home with her older brother, father and mother who is ill. Vera meets Kai one day while waiting for her school bus. Kai is different from anyone she has ever known. She knows from the beginning that there is something different about him. Vera and Kai become instant friends that are inseparable. One day Kai disappears. Vera is fearful of his life and immediately goes in search of him with her brother Will. Together the embark on a journey that leads them to uncover the truth that could change their future.Overall I thought this book was good. It definitely makes you think about all the water you consume and about your carbon footprint. The story line was a little slow in the beginning but about half way through it really picks up and it's full of action. I like Vera and Will. They were both really courageous. I also like the fact they were both just normal kids. This book is full of unique characters. I like the pirates in this book. They are an interesting addition to this novel. The Water Wars is a very interesting read that will have you on your toes.more
The Water Wars initially drew me in because of its unique dystopian premise, and its warning of the future we could have if we don't stop wasting one of our most important resources. Another thing that drew me to the book was the beautiful cover art, which is even more lovely when in hand, as you notice the photo on the back as well as the raised drops of water present on the jacket. Unfortunately, this is where my love affair with this book ended. It could have been great, we could have had it all, but in the end we just didn't mesh. The main characters in the book, Will and Vera, fell flat and were out-shined by their supporting cast; the pirate and female warrior were interesting characters who managed to come to life quickly given the few pages they were given. I also could have cared less about the boy Vera was dead set on rescuing, Kai, and can't see why Vera and Will would have cared so much about him either. Perhaps they followed the adventure and the promise of hope that he provided and it was more of a rebellion than a rescue mission. Many things happened in this novel but when you don't feel connected to the characters it's hard to muster up any interest. It didn't feel like torture to finish the book but I didn't enjoy it either. The Water Wars left me feeling very indifferent which is a shame given all of its potential.more
The Water Wars… loved the concept “where water is more precious than gold or oil-and worth killing for” but it in the end, it fell flat for me.Throughout the whole book Vera goes to GREAT lengths to find her new friend (and possible love interest) Kai. He is a big part of finding water, but I just wished they had more going for them. The characters are one of the strong points of this book. Vera is very determined, brave and an all-around good person. Her brother Will is level headed, strong and a leader at heart, I fell for that guy. As for Kai, I feel like I need to get to know him more, other than being the “privileged” driller’s son( but he was kidnapped from he very beginning, so I have to get him some credit). From what I know about him so far, he's smart and maybe even a rebel. In the beginning, He pours a cup water on the ground like “eh, there’s more where that came from.” There also something very vulnerable about him, he has diabetes, I didn’t expect that, he seems like such a brooding character. I like that fact about him, it makes him more real. The characters are great, the fact that they risked so much to recue each other shows honorable character and loyalty.Stracher’s writing is vivid and imaginative. This dystopian overflows with danger, excitement and did I mention PIRATES! One’s that Jack Sparrow would be proud of! I look forward to reading more adventure’s with Vera and the gang. Well worth a try :)more
With Justin Cronin's praise of Hunger Games-esqe glory I thought I was in for something awesome, but not so much. The world building and atmosphere were done very well, you will actually get thirsty reading this book. Stracher makes some solid observations about the environmental issues of today and where they could lead us in the future, but for all the work put into that the characters suffered. Every character felt paper thin and there was a serious lack of emotion (or let me say reasonable emotion). A Good concept executed semi-poorly combined with lackluster characters makes for a rather careless read, so naturally by the end I couldn't have cared less.more
I actually didn't finish this. I only got 50 pages or so into it. I LOVE dystopian, and the ones with an Eco edge are great. But this was like shoving global warming down my throat. It also really creeped me out and I didn't want to read anymore. I know that's naive, but I didn't want to think about there not being water around when my kids are older. The other thing I just couldn't wrap my head around what the author being a guy, writing as a teenage girl. I know female authors do this all the time, and most do it well, but there was something really off about Vera. I didn't get into much of the romance, but I read in other reviews that it was very one sided and not very epic. We like our epic love stories don't we? So, sorry to those who want to read this and wanted my opinion. I didn't like it enough to even get 100 pages into it. Oh well. Maybe next time.more
With all the YA dystopian novels being released this year and next, it's hard to stand out -especially if you're like me and you are in love with the dystopian genre. I mean, I've been in love with these types of books ever since I read Orwell's 1984 in high school (yeah, I'm a nerd). When the dystopia genre suddenly exploded in the YA genre -which, of course, led to the inevitable cascade of dystopian releases -I was ecstatic. Finally, here was a literary trend that I could get behind!Debut author Cameron Stracher's The Water Wars has been on my 2011 "must read" list for a while. With such an intriguing concept, it was hard to ignore it. Water Wars explores a frighteningly plausible future where water is more valuable than gold -a resource that encues fines for waste harsh consequences for taking more than your share.As readers may expect from the novel's set up, Water Wars is dripping with somewhat over-the-top environmentalism themes and clean water rantings. While this is a great message for modern readers, not to mention the idea and set up of Water Wars is great, it just isn't executed well. From the first page until the very end, I just thought the story was dull and hard to engage in. The characters felt incredibly flat and uninteresting, not to mention that the plot never really went much of anywhere beyond the initial set-up. When I finished the book I was just left with the sense that: yes, wasting water is bad, environmental and conservationism is good, yadda, yadda, but what else is there in this book?Sadly, Water Wars has nothing much to offer for readers beyond a message and a warning. While both of these items are good, I really wish that their could have been more here -like characters or a plot, or at least something interesting to pull me through the story. I really hate to say it, but Water Wars was kind of a bust for me. I really wanted to like it, but it just didn't deliver from a story/entertainment prospective. While offering up messages, especially as importance as this, is certainly a goal of fiction, isn't entertainment also a goal?more
While this books start was promising (dystopic future, potential love story) I'm left not quite sure how I feel about it.When I started reading this book, I was completely captivated by the terrifying future world Cameron Stracher created. The world was painted so dry and so vivid, that I could feel myself choking on the dust, I could feel the moisture being sucked from my skin, I could feel the fear of not being able to have another glass of water (I drank several while reading this!).The problem with this book wasn't in the description of the possible future. No, it fell on the lack of character development. I never really cared enough about Vera, Will or Kai, which to me is a terrible thing. The love story felt forced to me, and it wasn't even a love story, it was just a kind of "hey, they are together" thing. I actually think this book would have been better if they treated Kai as no more than a close friend. Since the bond between Vera and Will as siblings was done nicely, Vera and Will still would have had their adventure, but it wouldn't have felt like such a big and critical piece was extracted from the story.I guess I feel like I read a cautionary tale more than I did a fictional story. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, because it did make me think of how much I really take for granted (alot!) and it was terrifying to think of, just as cautionary tales should be.If you are looking for a vividly created depressed and dark future, this book is for you. If you are looking for a love story or memorable characters...not so much.more
Vera lives in a world where water is rationed. Lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, and any other form of fresh water is dried up. Mostly because of large dams built in Canada. The people in power, of which there are many different organizations and groups, are fighting over the rights to the water for power. Vera meets Kai one day. He is a natural water seeker, a human divining rod, who feels the power of the water deep below Earth's surface. Kai speaks of a flowing river, which peaks Vera and her brother's interest. Then one day, Kai is just gone missing. Will Vera and her brother, Will, be able to find him before someone else does to use his power?Great idea but poor execution. Maybe it's because I've been reading a LOT of young adult dystopias more recently, but I was profoundly disappointed by this one. Not only was it barely believable and trust me, I believe some crazy things if given the opportunity, but it was all over the place. I think the plot is great, but like I said, the way it was presented was poorly done. Half the time I was pulled from the story by something Vera did that did not seem true or realistic. There are a lot more dystopian novels out there to read, I say don't waste your time.more
It was a great read. Nice book to just sit down and read outside on patio or porch... kinda... Really good, anyone who likes dystopia would love it. I love the concept of Water being so scarce.more
Dystopias and post-apocalyptic books naturally appeal to me, being one of those glass-half-empty kinds of people. And speaking of glass-half empty! There’s hardly a drop to be had in any glass in this not-too-far-fetched-seeming story about a future in which drinkable water is the only form of wealth that matters.Fifteen-year-old Vera and her brother, seventeen-year-old Will, residents of the seceded republic of “Illinowa,” live in a world in which the snow masses and ice packs are gone, the aquifers and surface lakes dried up, forests denuded, wetlands drained, and “drought and death" decimating the continents. Desalination is too expensive for most countries, and in any event, when conducted on a large-scale, poisons the oceans with toxic chemicals and sludge. Wars over water make up international “relations.” Although Vera had learned in school about the so-called butterfly effect (i.e., how tiny variations can affect giant systems) what she came to conclude was a little different: "The truth was that butterflies could not disrupt an entire ecosystem simply by beating their wings. It took willful neglect and deliberate blindness, the refusal to see the obvious even as the land grew toxic before our eyes.”When Kai, a friend of Vera’s and Will’s, is kidnapped - presumably because of his father’s water-drilling abilities - Vera and Will set out to rescue him. [Yes, they are naïve and idiotic, but there’s no reason to believe their parents have prepared them to be otherwise.] And even though at this point the book turns somewhat into Illinowa Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, it’s still quite entertaining. It’s true the characters are a bit one-dimensional, but in a likable way; and the episodes are a bit unrealistic and cartoonish, but in a fun “Pirates of the Caribbean” way. And the author never compromises on the seriousness of the water crisis, which exists even now in inchoate form, and has enough potential realism to add a frightening background to a story otherwise occasionally lacking in gravitas.Discussion: If you do a bit of digging into foreign affairs, you will find that the water crisis is real and growing, especially among countries in the Middle East. Turkey, Iraq, and Syria, for example, have long considered water access – not oil - as the key to power in the region, contesting rights to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers for years. In the several wars fought between Israel and the Arab states, getting water to troops has played a key role in military planning. The World Bank reports that 80 countries now have water shortages and 40 percent of the world’s people have no access to clean water or sanitation. Cholera outbreaks from dirty water have been endemic in the undeveloped world. And in fact, water quality is deteriorating even in many areas of the developing world as population increases and salinity caused by industrial farming and over-extraction rises. About 95 percent of the world's cities still dump raw sewage into their waters. The United Nations expects 1.8 billion people to live in regions with absolute water scarcity by 2025.So I thought the basis for the post-apocalyptic scenario was solid, and well-depicted. As for the characters, interestingly in a book for young adults, the teens aren’t fleshed out very well. Vera and Will reminded me a bit of the roles played by then child actors Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney when they would approach every problem with the optimistic and peppy response: “Hey, I know! Let’s put on a show!” On the other hand, the main adult protagonist, Ulysses, is drawn very well indeed. Evaluation: In terms of teen experimentation, there’s nothing more going on in this book than some rather bland kissing. Vera, Will, and Kai might be a bit too simplistic for today’s cynical teens, but I think the apocalyptic scenario, and also the positive relationships with adults make this book worth reading.more
I have this addiction to young adult dystopian fiction lately. I've been listening to them in audio format, but read Cameron Stracher's debut YA novel - The Water Wars. Kudos to the publisher - this was a great cover..Vera and her brother Will live with their family sometime in the future. North America has had the borders redrawn. There are eight republics in what used to be the US and the evil Empire of Canada to the north. What this world lacks is clean drinking water. Indeed, the hopsital will not treat you if you drink tap water - it is considered a self inflicted injury. When Vera meets Kai he is standing in the middle of the road upending a cup of clean water. She is shocked but intrigued. How could he possibly waste water? They become friends, bordering on the romantic. When Kai and his father disappear, Vera and Will set out to find and rescue them.Along the way they encounter water pirates, good guys, bad guys, get wounded, keep going and save their world.I almost felt like Stracher had laid out plot ideas on a whiteboard and connected the dots as he wrote. The characters were never really developed. I found it hard to believe the siblings would run off after someone they barely knew, leaving their sick mother behind. The relationship between Kai and Vera is never developed enough to believe she would chase after him. Their budding romance needed fleshing out. Some of the situations they landed in defied plausibility. The King of the water pirates was an excellent character, one that was fleshed out and that I did really enjoy.Stracher has chosen a current and very possible reality for his novel. The idea of a world without clean water is a distinct reality. This novel would prompt discussion of water conservation.Now, maybe it's just that I don't read and review a lot of YA or that I am looking for a more adult novel in the wrong place. Maybe it's because I listened to The Hunger Games and Matched and found they came alive when narrated. But...The Water Wars just didn't live up to my expectations. The cover blurb "A rousing adventure story in the tradition of The Hunger Games" just didn't deliver. I am sure that a younger reader would find the non stop action appealing.more
I loved the cover of this book, but the insides didn't turn out to be as exciting as I'd hoped. The world that was presented was grim and interesting, but the plot left me wanting more.more
It was very interesting, the way that I encountered this book. As a member of Teen Fire, I was sent an email that requested that I help choose the cover for this book. Through that email, I also got to learn more about the book and the premise left me very interested! I was also excited for this book, not only because the cover that I voted for was the winning cover but also because I would get a chance to review it!In The Water Wars, the reader is introduced to a dystopian world where Water is more valuable then gold or oil. People would do almost anything for just one cup of water. Vera, is a simple girl who lives with her father, sick mother, and older brother. She finds herself witnessing a strange boy, drinking out of a Styrofoam cup and then pouring the liquid onto the ground. There was water inside of that cup. Vera is both fascinated and terrified by this stranger because of how careless he was to waste the water. The price for wasting water is extremely serious.After becoming friends with Kai, Vera is horrified to learn that he has vanished without a trace. Although she's only known him for such a SHORT amount of time, she needs to find him, no matter the danger or impossibility. Now this is where my disappointment with the story begins. There is no way that I could comprehend Vera's decision to search for Kai. I simply could not believe that he was so important to her that she would leave her family behind, just to make sure he was somewhere safe.Although her brother did accompanied her on her search, they still end up in serious danger. The beginning of the story was really good and I kept thinking that it would keep getting better but sadly... it didn't. I really wanted to like this book, believe me I did. What I did like though were the pirates. They were really interesting characters, despite the fact that their in the story for a short time. I wished that the story could have focused more on Vera and her brother's experience with the Pirates. Other then that, the story was simply okay. I was also hoping that it would be a stand alone novel but I guess there might be a sequel with the way the book ended.I don't think I would want to continue reading about Vera and whatever journey comes her way in the world of The Water Wars. I didn't make a strong connection with the story, to continue reading about it in the next part. I think I would recommend this to dystopian lovers but not as a strong recommendation.more
The Short of It:The Water Wars is a fast-paced novel geared towards young adults. Its premise is promising… the nation is experiencing a water shortage and it’s left the landscape bone dry. However, as interesting as the story is, the characters take a backseat to the action. The Rest of It:Vera and her family struggle to survive on water rations that are modified by desalinization. The removal of salt and minerals is the only way to make salt water palatable and it’s left them weak, and in the case of Vera’s mother, ill. One day, Vera meets a boy by the name of Kai. Kai is special in that he lives with the privileged and seems to have access to an unlimited supply of fresh drinking water. His ability to locate fresh water is soon found out and he is kidnapped. Vera and her brother Will trek across the barren landscape in search of Kai and encounter obstacles such as water pirates, government intervention and flash floods from compromised dams.The premise behind the book is quite frightening to consider. Stracher does an excellent job setting up the landscape. I could easily visualize the overall dustiness of a land without water. However, the characters, with the exception of Vera, seemed a little flat to me. Vera reminded me a lot of Katniss from The Hunger Games. She is determined and plucky and believable. However, Kai…who is such an important piece of the puzzle seems vacant in some way. Granted, he’s missing for a good chunk of the novel, but when he’s present, he’s not really PRESENT. His personality doesn’t really come through and this made it hard for me to buy the little romance between the two.As far as action, there’s plenty of it but it didn’t allow a reader to linger with these characters for too long. They were off and running throughout the entire novel. From a tween’s perspective though, I imagine this would be right up their alley. Tweens don’t want to spend ages getting to the main story. They want you to get to the point quickly, and I do feel that Stracher succeeded in doing that. Also, the narrative structure played out like a movie which I think younger readers tend to like when reading a book.In summary, younger readers (tweens and teens) will enjoy it whereas older readers might find it lacking.more
I was so excited to read The Water Wars (just look at that absolutely UH-MAZE-ING cover, it's freaking gorgeous) that I started at soon as I got it, but after reading it the only thing I love about it is the cover. Neither Vera, Will, or Kai were good characters, they were all really boring and single layered. Sula and the pirate king, Ulysses, were more interesting and they were secondary characters. I don't understand why Will and Vera would risk their lives and the lives of their parents to save a boy that they barely know, but I can get over that. What I can't get over is all the over the top rediculous situations that the kids got into and eventually got out of alive. I can suspend reality only so much. You can't do that much to a massive corporation and still be alive. Sorry, it just doesn't work that way. Also, the ending was really annoying and seems like there could possibly be made into a series, but I hope not. All in all it was a very lack-luster novel. If you want a beautiful book to put on your shelf then buy The Water Wars. If you want a beautiful book that is actually a good book on the inside too, DO NOT buy The Water Wars.more
First off, let's start with the cover for this book... Amazing, right?! I helped pick it. [I took part in the poll that helped choose the cover ... so, you're quite welcome (brushes shoulders off)- haha]. Secondly, let's talk about the very seductive premise to this story. I mean we've seen all sorts of dystopian story lines as of late (i.e. zombies, war, lack of oil, even too much water), but this is the first story where I've read where it's the water that is scarce. The world's inhabitants live in a parched world where you can literally feel their thirst. Imagine how important water is for even the minimalist things.... like a common cold for instance. Without water and being properly hydrated you can just imagine the complications your body might suffer. Well, that is the world that Vera and her brother Will live in. While waiting for her bus to school one day, Vera meets Kai. Kai, who isn't suffering from the same waterless existence as everyone else... who is driven to school in a limo, has bodyguards and lives in a very posh home. As their friendship grows, Vera and Kai begin to develop stronger feelings for one another. And then one day, Kai disappears. Vera and Will set off to find him and won't let anything stand in their way until they are reunited.Mr. Stracher has phenomenal world-building skills. Not only was I enthralled by the world unfolding in the pages of The Water Wars but for some reason I kept getting up to get glass after glass of water. Reading of this waterless world made me dang thirsty the whole time I was reading it.While I did find the world-building suspenseful and creative, I had a hard time liking the characters. Vera, our narrator, was not someone I could relate to. Sadly, she was not very memorable at all. It was like living the story through her eyes but not really getting the full emotions of it. Her friendship/relationship with Kye was brief, rushed and the ensuing adventure/danger, felt unwarranted after knowing someone for only a few short weeks. That's just my opinion though. I also had a slight problem with the overall message of the story. Don't take me wrong, I'm all about "going green" and saving the planet, but I really don't like when this message comes across in a preachy/propaganda-ish manner. I also found it strange that Vera (the narrator) is a girl, when the book totally feels like a "boy" story to me (that may also be a boy on the cover)... hmmmm. I truly tried to enjoy this story, but it just didn't live up to my expectations.All in all, this was a fast-paced story, full of adventure, danger, mystery and even some (very mild) romance. I honestly cannot say I would recommend this one since I felt the characters were too under-developed to be ignored, but if you can overlook that and just enjoy the action sequences, then you might want to check it out. For me, it just fell flat.more
Things have gone really bad in this book. The polar ice has melted and been harvested, dams have been cut off, and rivers are dry. The world has been through wars and what once was the US is now a couple of smaller countries. Vera and her brothers live in Illionowa. They are normal kids, except for being thirsty all the time, eating bad food, and worrying about the future. But they still seem hopeful, and love to watch YouToo. Kai is a mystery kid that Vera meets. He keeps his secrets close, and I like him.You will also meet a pirate (liked him too), bad people who blow up things, and hear tales about the evil Canadians..what?! Oh yes, Canadians are really really bad in this book. I found that really fun actually.One thing though, these kids are way too lucky, but then again if they weren't lucky they would have been dead long ago during their little adventure. So I can deal with that, they are kids, it's a YA book, and there are some really bad people here. They need friends on their side and get out of situations more easily.I liked the take on water in this book. Because it is a very likely scenario that plays out in this book. It could happen, it is also critical of the government and even of those trying to save the nature, the paramilitary group, everyone have something to gain, and the goals are not always in the best interest of the many.The end is an end, but still there is an opening, for things to get better, or get really really bad. Recommendation and final thoughts:An easy YA book that gave you something to think about at the same time. I could see teens reading this one in school and discussing afterwards why things went bad, how to stop them, and different scenarios.more
While The Water Wars has a unique dystopian concept, I felt it was poorly executed. The apocalyptic world that Cameron Stracher invented was lacking in solidity—it had no real background (all we’re told is that there was “a war”, with undertones of global warming and poor care of the environment). The characters hop from location to location, but none of the settings had much distinction from the other. The characters of The Water Wars also fell flat, in my opinion. Vera’s narration was first-person, but after the story ended, I still felt as if I didn’t know her. She was just an eye through which the reader was supposed to observe the action. Likewise, Kai, the boy with water-finding powers, wasn’t interesting at all. He had only a few lines, and Vera knew him only for a little while before running off to risk her life to find him. I felt as if he should have been a much more compelling character to have others risk their lives for him. The Water Wars felt a bit like a middle-grade novel in that most of the adult characters were kind of…dumb. Most of the adults Vera and her brother encountered on their adventures turned to the children for advice or help. While this sends a great message to kids (your opinions matter!), I felt it was extremely unrealistic, especially considering the pasts of these adult characters. One thing The Water Wars did NOT lack was action. The book practically lives on action—the characters are quickly dropped into one scary situation after the next, and almost every chapter ended with a cliffhanger. All the action (fight scenes, chase scenes, things-blowing-up scenes) helps distract from the book’s weak points, but as a reader who loves some good character development, the action didn’t save The Water Wars from being a book that I disliked. So, in all honesty, I cannot say that I’d recommend The Water Wars. The lack of development in both characters and the setting was too glaring for me to ignore. The action/adventure elements of the story were fun, but overall the novel fell flat for me.more
Siblings Vera and Will live a fairly typical post-apocalyptic life in a world where water is a precious commodity and thus heavily rationed and a dangerous commodity to work with. But their lives change when they befriend the enigmatic Kai, who seems to have a talent for finding hidden water sources. Kai’s family is unthinkably wealthy with water, and so when he disappears, Vera and Will think that someone may have kidnapped him for his information. They set off on a daring rescue across the blighted landscape, dodging water pirates and government organizations in order to find their friend.Man. I really wanted to like this one. It’s dystopian, first of all, and it’s not too much a stretch of the imagination to picture our future being like this. And for the first few chapters all was still well. The world-building is solidly vivid—I could clearly visualize the parched, struggling land that Vera lives in when I closed my eyes—and the characters, while not standouts, were at least not irritating. Vera’s not a particularly convincing narrator, but I was willing to overlook narratorial blandness in favor of the attention-holding world-building.But when Vera and Will set off to rescue Kai is when the book completely lost my interest and sympathies. THE WATER WARS seems like an overly ambitious melding of too many genres—dystopian, Western, action. One minute they’re plodding along in a lonely, lonely world where it feels like they’re the only people around; the next, they’ve been captured by water pirates? And the next, a big explosion (quite literally) sweeps them away…but right into the hands of other evil dudes?? I’m sorry, but that’s where I stopped reading. I like the premise well enough, but it turns out that Stracher never fully convinces me to invest in these characters’ outcomes, which was apparent after they began encountering extravagant deus ex machinas.more
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Reviews

To put it simply, this was not a good read. Far from it. Recent Dystopian YA fictions that I have read have really disappointed me (For e.g. Ship Breaker). The Water Wars was worse than Ship Breaker. The premise was excellent, and that is what appealed to me. But Cameron Stracher fails to explore the potential of the premise entirely.

I wouldn't go into the details, but this was a major disappointment.more
The good news: I finished it! It's over!

The bad news: everything else.

Vera lives in a world without water: it rains very little, and humankind has wasted (and/or drunk up) all the fresh water. State boundaries have changed; the US is no longer 50 states but 8 territories. The Republic of Illinowa is struggling to get water, battling with the Republic of Minnesota, who in turn is warring with the Empire of Canada for the fresh water that remains.

Vera meets a new boy, Kai, who can somehow sniff out fresh water. (It's somehow implied that it's related to his diabetes, but that makes no sense. Except that's the implication, so.) Then he gets kidnapped, and even though she's known him for about a week, she insists that she and her brother launch a rescue mission. Which they do, and get themselves kidnapped by water pirates before ultimately needing to infiltrate the large-scale, only-for-profit desalination plant (that horribly pollutes everything and is only in it for the money).

Lots of things don't make sense. Lots of (il)logical leaps. Lots of infodumps. And really, incredibly boring. There was nothing to encourage me to pick this up again, so I'm not certain why I finished it, because blah. Flat characters and a bland, boring plot.more
First I have to mention how gorgeous this cover is!! It’s what caught my eye and made me want to learn more about this book. When I saw that it was a dystopian, I was even more excited. I really liked the idea of this book: a future where water is more precious than gold. I think it’s a very original idea. I’ve read a lot of dystopian fiction and many of them have elements that you start to notice repeated in each book. This was an idea that I hadn’t heard before.The two main characters are siblings Vera and Will, though the book is told solely from Vera’s point of view. Vera and Will live with their mother, who is ill, and their father, in a district struggling for water just like everywhere else. One day while waiting for the school bus, Vera sees a boy standing in the middle of the road drinking a cup of water and dumping what’s left on the ground. Vera can’t believe what she’s seeing. You don’t just waste water like that; in fact it’s illegal. When she calls him out on it, Kia looks at her blankly and says that there is plenty of water. Kia and his defiance instantly intrigue Vera. After this chance encounter, Kia becomes an everyday part of Vera’s life, waiting for her at the bus stop, going to her house for dinner. Then one day he’s gone. Vera and Will are determined to rescue him. They set off early in the morning and hope to be home for dinner (how niave). Their search ends up leading them far from home and into the hands of some very dangerous people.I felt like the author was trying to cram in too much action and too many points of interest. Disappointingly, this left him with no climax. Each problem arises quickly and is resolved so fast that it just became unrealistic and boring. By the end, I was like oh geez, they’re two seconds away from death - again. I’m not going to sweat it though because I know everything is going to be hunky dory by the next page. Although this book isn't going to be taking over residence as my new dystopian favorite it wasn't all bad, and overall I'm still glad I gave it a try.more
Considering this was compared to "The Hunger Games", I expected it to be better. This had such an interesting concept for a story, but the way it was told bored me. It made me become a skimmer. I just thought I would have been wowed, but I'm underwhelmed! Vera: Sister to Will, adventerous and brave at times. It is her idea to save Kai. Our main character. Will: Older Brother to Vera, competitive. Seems to have low self-confidence, always thinks they will not be able to do things. A realist. Pulls through when it counts. Curious, a question asker. Kai: New "friend" to Vera and Will, and sort of a love interest for Vera. He is Kidnapped because of his ability to find water to tap into. Fun-loving and kind, a diabetic. Ulysses: A water-pirate, but one who knows loss and compassion. A true friend. A hero. Starts out as a "bad guy", but ends up being one of their strongest allies in the quest to save Kai and his father. Sula: a late character, but a strong one. Independent. Confident. Someone who will get things done. Someone to depend on. Torq: On of the main bad guys. Greedy. The back of this book makes me slightly angry... It says "Would you risk everything for someone you just met? What if he had a secret worth killing for?" Okay, so I know that Vera and Will hadn't known Kai for very long-but the way the back is worded it seems like literaly they had Just met... I don't know why, but it bothers me!!!! Also, the way things just seem to magically get better or a solution just appears right in front of their faces got old really quick. I'm sorry, but places with any kind of security these people would not have been able to do half of the "miracles" that happened to them! It was just to convienant for me. Eh, read it if it interests you but I wouldn't expect anything amazingmore
When Vera first spies Kai, he is dumping the remains of a cup of water into the dust near her Republic of Illinowa home. This very act is unheard of, illegal, grotesque even, in a world where severe water shortages have divided what was the United States into several warring republics. In Vera's world, the Breadbasket of the United States has been transformed into desert, the moisture-less air is practically poison to breathe, and most adults can be referred to as "shakers" because the years of constant thirst have taken their toll. Kai is a mystery. The son of a driller, he travels in a limo with a bodyguard, yet relishes the humble company Vera and her family have to offer. He even claims to know the location of a secret river, something that has fallen to the status of mere myth in a world where people depend on the government's paltry rations of the world's remaining water to survive. Unfortunately, before Vera can figure out Kai's story or her feelings for him, he disappears. The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher is a fast-paced, thrill a minute dystopian that leaves virtually every chapter at a cliffhanger as Vera and her brother, Will, embark on a desperate, often nearly hopeless journey to find Kai. In their journey, they come upon all kinds of humanity from the unexpectedly righteous to the dangerous to the greedy and merciless, all locked in a battle for water and wealth that must be won by whatever means possible. Stracher's world without water is terrifying. The greed and power-mongering caused by such a severe shortage of what we truly require to survive is realistically drawn. Stracher's vision of the political and economic implications of the panic caused by the dwindling of one resource nations once treated as infinite is wholly believable.Unfortunately, much of the rest of the book isn't. Maintaining such a fast pace to the story results in a great many contrivances. The times that Will and Vera are saved from an impossible situation at the last possible second by an unlikely occurrence are practically innumerable. In fact, the very premise of the story asks readers to rely on a quickly and thinly constructed fascination with Kai's improbable knowledge of where to find water and a possible blooming romance between Vera and Kai. The beginning rushes through this crucial set-up period, and this makes Will and Vera's sudden eagerness to find and save Kai on their own seem that much more inexplicable. Vera herself is a lovable enough narrator that you can't help cheering on, but the lack of a very distinctive voice makes it seem that the story could just as easily have been narrated by anyone. Until the politics and economics are fleshed out midway through the novel, Stracher's future feels a little flimsy, driven more by the awkward renaming of everyday things than by explanation. Inexplicably giving something old, a clever new name doesn't quite manage the daunting task of creating a future earth. For example, the pedicycles Will and Vera use to get around. There's no reason given to think that a pedicycle is anything more than a simple bicycle with a new name that seems meant to say "Hey, look, it's the future. We call things different names now." That said, I will say that the new name for synthetically produced avocados - quasi-vocados - put a smile on my face. Despite some problems, The Water Wars is an entertaining, extremely fast-paced adventure that readers will race through. Stracher's got a good handle on the way human nature might restructure a world with a profound shortage of water - the wars that would take place, the companies that would spring up to take advantage of the situation, the bribery and thievery that would become a daily threat to society. For readers who might prefer a more action-packed dystopian story than the more slow-burning, character-driven ones that I seem to prefer, The Water Wars has all the right stuff, but this reader was left just a little lukewarm.more
 What if you didn't have access to water? If you did have water than it wasn't real, it was all made of chemicals. The world is dry, rivers have been damned up and sabotaged. Would you risk your life for a friend, or do you want the fake water?Vera like everyone else has been impacted by the water shortages. Her mother is sick, possible from the chemically enhanced water. Vera and her family have forgotten what real water tastes like.When Vera see's a boy drink a cup of water then drop the leftover water on the ground, she can't help but to go up to him. Wasting water is illegal and you could get in huge trouble for wasting it.After talking to the boy Vera finds out that he is a prospector's son. His dad tries to find and drill his own, real water. Vera learns more about this boys and keeps seeing him when she gets home from school. Vera and her brother Will begin to become friend with this boy, Kai.Will and Vera also begin to notice that Kai is wealthy, like most prospector families are. He has real, clean water at his house, but Vera and Will don't let those things control their relationship with Kai.Kai isn't there one day when Will and Vera get off the bus they worry. When they get to Kai's apartment building they have to sneak in. Kai's apartment is ransacked and Kai and his father are not there.Will and Vera have to make a choice of whether or not they risk everything for Kai or not. Will and Vera sneak away on a search to find Kai and his father. They face ever obstacle imaginable but stick through and try to find Kai.“The Water Wars” by Cameron Stracher was a five star book. It was full of adventure, suspense, thrill, romance, everything a good book needs!The book is about two siblings searching for their friend after he has been kidnapped, of course it will have adventure in it. I loved reading the adventure scenes, and the whole book is an adventure scene! I had trouble putting the book down. The description was great. Cameron Stracher showed me the things that happened but made me feel them too. I was running, hiding, and fighting right along side Vera, Will, and the people they met along the way.Like every good book there was a little romance thrown in there. Not a lot but enough to get the book on my “Best Books” list. Feelings come up between Vera someone else, but Cameron Stracher made the romance small but you could see it was there, so boys shouldn't be afraid. I wanted a little more romance but I wasn't reading a romance novel I was reading a Adventure/Action novel. As good as the book was I thought that at some points it went too fast. They would be in one place then something would automatically happen. There could have been a little more leeway in between things. There were only a few places that did that, so it wasn't enough to ruin the writing in the book.“The Water Wars” by Cameron Stracher is a great read. It was better than drinking clean, pure water.more
The Water Wars by Cameron StracherPages: 240Release Date: January 1st, 2011Date Read: 2011, November 15th-16thRating: 3/5 starsRecommended to: 12+Summary -Vera lives in a decripit world in the near future, a world so caked and dry that there is almost no fresh water. What water is left is usually full of dirt and chemicals - which has caused many to become sick and die - and is regulated by the government to make sure everyone gets a fair shair.But Kai changes things. He is wealthy and water comes easy in his household. He and Vera become close, even with Kai's secrets and Vera's doubts. When Kai goes missing, Vera and her brother, WIll, leave home in search of him, certain he has been kidnapped. And what about that river Kai always talked about? Could it have enough water to build back the earth? The whole world is about to change - and they must face it - no matter the cost.My thoughts -When I see a book has an average of 3 stars as a rating, I usually don't waste time reading it. If virtually everyone thought of it as "just okay", why bother? There are tons of great books out there, just waiting for me to read them.But apparently The Water Wars just wouldn't get out of my head. Every time I saw it, I was in awe of the cover, and what might possibly lay inside. Soon, the temptation became too much. I picked it up at B&N a few weeks ago, and found myself totally engrossed by the first few chapters. I bought it then and there, delving further into the story as soon as I could.At first I was shocked - how did this get only 3 stars average?! It deserves at least 4! The imagery was perfect, the story/writing/characters beautiful...But sometimes beginnings are the author's strong point, as the case with Stracher. The middle? Notsomuch. Sure, I enjoyed it, but there were flaws, flaws I couldn't ignore. In the end, I was glad I had read it, but I wished it would have been more.Character notes -For the most part, these were great characters. Kai is the light, the hope of this story. I loved him instantly (third paragraph down, first page). He was actually what convinced me to buy the book; I wanted to know more. He's a character who makes you cock your head and think. I love that.Will and Ulysses were less thought-provoking but still developed well. However, even then, some of the things Ulysses did were out of character and made me go, "Huh?" Will was completely consistent throughout.Vera herself was...well, I hate to say it, but very childish. Her voice reminded me of that of Scout from To Kill A Mockingbird, which is not in itself a very bad thing... Scout, however, is 8-years-old, and Vera is supposed to be 15. I liked her but was unable to picture her well or keep a consistent personality image. In the end she became something more, but by then the story was over.Story notes -You know those stories that are good and interesting and intense, but you feel like everything is just a tad bit too easy? This was one of those. "Oh, we need to get back onto that island, but we can't swim or fly...we need a boat!" (Insert arguing.) "Oh- wait! There's a boat!" It seemed...pointless.So all-in-all the story had a great beginning, a flat middle, and a good end. And as you see, my problem with The Water Wars is not with the tagline - "Would you be willing to risk everything for someone you just met?" I feel like that tagline greatly misleads. Kai and Vera know each other for 2 months before he disappears. Even better -they see each other almost every day. I'd say she has every right to go after him!Everything else was great, but I, the big-book reader, wanted more meat - description, dialogue, more action, you name it. But, oh well. I liked it for what it was; I was thankful it wasn't all grossly "Global warming! Save the planet!" preachy; I was satisfied in the end.Summing it up -A short, thought-provoking novel. It had me thinking so much about the water I drink, the air I breathe, the food I eat, and the land I see. What if it was all gone - like the snapping of fingers, quick and sudden?For the Parents - A bit of kissing, not described; violence - some blood. 12+more
The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher is a dystopian novel set in the not so distant future. Many of the natural resources that we enjoy today have been depleted. The population is left to depend on the government for the means of survival. However some people hold out hope for a better future, some take it at the cost of others, and some are set to destroy it.I think the concept of this book is really interesting. We use water everyday for many different things but have you ever stopped to think what you would do if suddenly water wasn't available to us anymore. Things we take for granted such as showers, swimming pools and bubble baths would be but a distant memory. Cameron Stracher does a good job painting this scenario. There is definitely a message of conservation interwoven throughout this novel. The Water Wars is told through the eyes of Vera. She's a young teen who lives at home with her older brother, father and mother who is ill. Vera meets Kai one day while waiting for her school bus. Kai is different from anyone she has ever known. She knows from the beginning that there is something different about him. Vera and Kai become instant friends that are inseparable. One day Kai disappears. Vera is fearful of his life and immediately goes in search of him with her brother Will. Together the embark on a journey that leads them to uncover the truth that could change their future.Overall I thought this book was good. It definitely makes you think about all the water you consume and about your carbon footprint. The story line was a little slow in the beginning but about half way through it really picks up and it's full of action. I like Vera and Will. They were both really courageous. I also like the fact they were both just normal kids. This book is full of unique characters. I like the pirates in this book. They are an interesting addition to this novel. The Water Wars is a very interesting read that will have you on your toes.more
The Water Wars initially drew me in because of its unique dystopian premise, and its warning of the future we could have if we don't stop wasting one of our most important resources. Another thing that drew me to the book was the beautiful cover art, which is even more lovely when in hand, as you notice the photo on the back as well as the raised drops of water present on the jacket. Unfortunately, this is where my love affair with this book ended. It could have been great, we could have had it all, but in the end we just didn't mesh. The main characters in the book, Will and Vera, fell flat and were out-shined by their supporting cast; the pirate and female warrior were interesting characters who managed to come to life quickly given the few pages they were given. I also could have cared less about the boy Vera was dead set on rescuing, Kai, and can't see why Vera and Will would have cared so much about him either. Perhaps they followed the adventure and the promise of hope that he provided and it was more of a rebellion than a rescue mission. Many things happened in this novel but when you don't feel connected to the characters it's hard to muster up any interest. It didn't feel like torture to finish the book but I didn't enjoy it either. The Water Wars left me feeling very indifferent which is a shame given all of its potential.more
The Water Wars… loved the concept “where water is more precious than gold or oil-and worth killing for” but it in the end, it fell flat for me.Throughout the whole book Vera goes to GREAT lengths to find her new friend (and possible love interest) Kai. He is a big part of finding water, but I just wished they had more going for them. The characters are one of the strong points of this book. Vera is very determined, brave and an all-around good person. Her brother Will is level headed, strong and a leader at heart, I fell for that guy. As for Kai, I feel like I need to get to know him more, other than being the “privileged” driller’s son( but he was kidnapped from he very beginning, so I have to get him some credit). From what I know about him so far, he's smart and maybe even a rebel. In the beginning, He pours a cup water on the ground like “eh, there’s more where that came from.” There also something very vulnerable about him, he has diabetes, I didn’t expect that, he seems like such a brooding character. I like that fact about him, it makes him more real. The characters are great, the fact that they risked so much to recue each other shows honorable character and loyalty.Stracher’s writing is vivid and imaginative. This dystopian overflows with danger, excitement and did I mention PIRATES! One’s that Jack Sparrow would be proud of! I look forward to reading more adventure’s with Vera and the gang. Well worth a try :)more
With Justin Cronin's praise of Hunger Games-esqe glory I thought I was in for something awesome, but not so much. The world building and atmosphere were done very well, you will actually get thirsty reading this book. Stracher makes some solid observations about the environmental issues of today and where they could lead us in the future, but for all the work put into that the characters suffered. Every character felt paper thin and there was a serious lack of emotion (or let me say reasonable emotion). A Good concept executed semi-poorly combined with lackluster characters makes for a rather careless read, so naturally by the end I couldn't have cared less.more
I actually didn't finish this. I only got 50 pages or so into it. I LOVE dystopian, and the ones with an Eco edge are great. But this was like shoving global warming down my throat. It also really creeped me out and I didn't want to read anymore. I know that's naive, but I didn't want to think about there not being water around when my kids are older. The other thing I just couldn't wrap my head around what the author being a guy, writing as a teenage girl. I know female authors do this all the time, and most do it well, but there was something really off about Vera. I didn't get into much of the romance, but I read in other reviews that it was very one sided and not very epic. We like our epic love stories don't we? So, sorry to those who want to read this and wanted my opinion. I didn't like it enough to even get 100 pages into it. Oh well. Maybe next time.more
With all the YA dystopian novels being released this year and next, it's hard to stand out -especially if you're like me and you are in love with the dystopian genre. I mean, I've been in love with these types of books ever since I read Orwell's 1984 in high school (yeah, I'm a nerd). When the dystopia genre suddenly exploded in the YA genre -which, of course, led to the inevitable cascade of dystopian releases -I was ecstatic. Finally, here was a literary trend that I could get behind!Debut author Cameron Stracher's The Water Wars has been on my 2011 "must read" list for a while. With such an intriguing concept, it was hard to ignore it. Water Wars explores a frighteningly plausible future where water is more valuable than gold -a resource that encues fines for waste harsh consequences for taking more than your share.As readers may expect from the novel's set up, Water Wars is dripping with somewhat over-the-top environmentalism themes and clean water rantings. While this is a great message for modern readers, not to mention the idea and set up of Water Wars is great, it just isn't executed well. From the first page until the very end, I just thought the story was dull and hard to engage in. The characters felt incredibly flat and uninteresting, not to mention that the plot never really went much of anywhere beyond the initial set-up. When I finished the book I was just left with the sense that: yes, wasting water is bad, environmental and conservationism is good, yadda, yadda, but what else is there in this book?Sadly, Water Wars has nothing much to offer for readers beyond a message and a warning. While both of these items are good, I really wish that their could have been more here -like characters or a plot, or at least something interesting to pull me through the story. I really hate to say it, but Water Wars was kind of a bust for me. I really wanted to like it, but it just didn't deliver from a story/entertainment prospective. While offering up messages, especially as importance as this, is certainly a goal of fiction, isn't entertainment also a goal?more
While this books start was promising (dystopic future, potential love story) I'm left not quite sure how I feel about it.When I started reading this book, I was completely captivated by the terrifying future world Cameron Stracher created. The world was painted so dry and so vivid, that I could feel myself choking on the dust, I could feel the moisture being sucked from my skin, I could feel the fear of not being able to have another glass of water (I drank several while reading this!).The problem with this book wasn't in the description of the possible future. No, it fell on the lack of character development. I never really cared enough about Vera, Will or Kai, which to me is a terrible thing. The love story felt forced to me, and it wasn't even a love story, it was just a kind of "hey, they are together" thing. I actually think this book would have been better if they treated Kai as no more than a close friend. Since the bond between Vera and Will as siblings was done nicely, Vera and Will still would have had their adventure, but it wouldn't have felt like such a big and critical piece was extracted from the story.I guess I feel like I read a cautionary tale more than I did a fictional story. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, because it did make me think of how much I really take for granted (alot!) and it was terrifying to think of, just as cautionary tales should be.If you are looking for a vividly created depressed and dark future, this book is for you. If you are looking for a love story or memorable characters...not so much.more
Vera lives in a world where water is rationed. Lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, and any other form of fresh water is dried up. Mostly because of large dams built in Canada. The people in power, of which there are many different organizations and groups, are fighting over the rights to the water for power. Vera meets Kai one day. He is a natural water seeker, a human divining rod, who feels the power of the water deep below Earth's surface. Kai speaks of a flowing river, which peaks Vera and her brother's interest. Then one day, Kai is just gone missing. Will Vera and her brother, Will, be able to find him before someone else does to use his power?Great idea but poor execution. Maybe it's because I've been reading a LOT of young adult dystopias more recently, but I was profoundly disappointed by this one. Not only was it barely believable and trust me, I believe some crazy things if given the opportunity, but it was all over the place. I think the plot is great, but like I said, the way it was presented was poorly done. Half the time I was pulled from the story by something Vera did that did not seem true or realistic. There are a lot more dystopian novels out there to read, I say don't waste your time.more
It was a great read. Nice book to just sit down and read outside on patio or porch... kinda... Really good, anyone who likes dystopia would love it. I love the concept of Water being so scarce.more
Dystopias and post-apocalyptic books naturally appeal to me, being one of those glass-half-empty kinds of people. And speaking of glass-half empty! There’s hardly a drop to be had in any glass in this not-too-far-fetched-seeming story about a future in which drinkable water is the only form of wealth that matters.Fifteen-year-old Vera and her brother, seventeen-year-old Will, residents of the seceded republic of “Illinowa,” live in a world in which the snow masses and ice packs are gone, the aquifers and surface lakes dried up, forests denuded, wetlands drained, and “drought and death" decimating the continents. Desalination is too expensive for most countries, and in any event, when conducted on a large-scale, poisons the oceans with toxic chemicals and sludge. Wars over water make up international “relations.” Although Vera had learned in school about the so-called butterfly effect (i.e., how tiny variations can affect giant systems) what she came to conclude was a little different: "The truth was that butterflies could not disrupt an entire ecosystem simply by beating their wings. It took willful neglect and deliberate blindness, the refusal to see the obvious even as the land grew toxic before our eyes.”When Kai, a friend of Vera’s and Will’s, is kidnapped - presumably because of his father’s water-drilling abilities - Vera and Will set out to rescue him. [Yes, they are naïve and idiotic, but there’s no reason to believe their parents have prepared them to be otherwise.] And even though at this point the book turns somewhat into Illinowa Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, it’s still quite entertaining. It’s true the characters are a bit one-dimensional, but in a likable way; and the episodes are a bit unrealistic and cartoonish, but in a fun “Pirates of the Caribbean” way. And the author never compromises on the seriousness of the water crisis, which exists even now in inchoate form, and has enough potential realism to add a frightening background to a story otherwise occasionally lacking in gravitas.Discussion: If you do a bit of digging into foreign affairs, you will find that the water crisis is real and growing, especially among countries in the Middle East. Turkey, Iraq, and Syria, for example, have long considered water access – not oil - as the key to power in the region, contesting rights to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers for years. In the several wars fought between Israel and the Arab states, getting water to troops has played a key role in military planning. The World Bank reports that 80 countries now have water shortages and 40 percent of the world’s people have no access to clean water or sanitation. Cholera outbreaks from dirty water have been endemic in the undeveloped world. And in fact, water quality is deteriorating even in many areas of the developing world as population increases and salinity caused by industrial farming and over-extraction rises. About 95 percent of the world's cities still dump raw sewage into their waters. The United Nations expects 1.8 billion people to live in regions with absolute water scarcity by 2025.So I thought the basis for the post-apocalyptic scenario was solid, and well-depicted. As for the characters, interestingly in a book for young adults, the teens aren’t fleshed out very well. Vera and Will reminded me a bit of the roles played by then child actors Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney when they would approach every problem with the optimistic and peppy response: “Hey, I know! Let’s put on a show!” On the other hand, the main adult protagonist, Ulysses, is drawn very well indeed. Evaluation: In terms of teen experimentation, there’s nothing more going on in this book than some rather bland kissing. Vera, Will, and Kai might be a bit too simplistic for today’s cynical teens, but I think the apocalyptic scenario, and also the positive relationships with adults make this book worth reading.more
I have this addiction to young adult dystopian fiction lately. I've been listening to them in audio format, but read Cameron Stracher's debut YA novel - The Water Wars. Kudos to the publisher - this was a great cover..Vera and her brother Will live with their family sometime in the future. North America has had the borders redrawn. There are eight republics in what used to be the US and the evil Empire of Canada to the north. What this world lacks is clean drinking water. Indeed, the hopsital will not treat you if you drink tap water - it is considered a self inflicted injury. When Vera meets Kai he is standing in the middle of the road upending a cup of clean water. She is shocked but intrigued. How could he possibly waste water? They become friends, bordering on the romantic. When Kai and his father disappear, Vera and Will set out to find and rescue them.Along the way they encounter water pirates, good guys, bad guys, get wounded, keep going and save their world.I almost felt like Stracher had laid out plot ideas on a whiteboard and connected the dots as he wrote. The characters were never really developed. I found it hard to believe the siblings would run off after someone they barely knew, leaving their sick mother behind. The relationship between Kai and Vera is never developed enough to believe she would chase after him. Their budding romance needed fleshing out. Some of the situations they landed in defied plausibility. The King of the water pirates was an excellent character, one that was fleshed out and that I did really enjoy.Stracher has chosen a current and very possible reality for his novel. The idea of a world without clean water is a distinct reality. This novel would prompt discussion of water conservation.Now, maybe it's just that I don't read and review a lot of YA or that I am looking for a more adult novel in the wrong place. Maybe it's because I listened to The Hunger Games and Matched and found they came alive when narrated. But...The Water Wars just didn't live up to my expectations. The cover blurb "A rousing adventure story in the tradition of The Hunger Games" just didn't deliver. I am sure that a younger reader would find the non stop action appealing.more
I loved the cover of this book, but the insides didn't turn out to be as exciting as I'd hoped. The world that was presented was grim and interesting, but the plot left me wanting more.more
It was very interesting, the way that I encountered this book. As a member of Teen Fire, I was sent an email that requested that I help choose the cover for this book. Through that email, I also got to learn more about the book and the premise left me very interested! I was also excited for this book, not only because the cover that I voted for was the winning cover but also because I would get a chance to review it!In The Water Wars, the reader is introduced to a dystopian world where Water is more valuable then gold or oil. People would do almost anything for just one cup of water. Vera, is a simple girl who lives with her father, sick mother, and older brother. She finds herself witnessing a strange boy, drinking out of a Styrofoam cup and then pouring the liquid onto the ground. There was water inside of that cup. Vera is both fascinated and terrified by this stranger because of how careless he was to waste the water. The price for wasting water is extremely serious.After becoming friends with Kai, Vera is horrified to learn that he has vanished without a trace. Although she's only known him for such a SHORT amount of time, she needs to find him, no matter the danger or impossibility. Now this is where my disappointment with the story begins. There is no way that I could comprehend Vera's decision to search for Kai. I simply could not believe that he was so important to her that she would leave her family behind, just to make sure he was somewhere safe.Although her brother did accompanied her on her search, they still end up in serious danger. The beginning of the story was really good and I kept thinking that it would keep getting better but sadly... it didn't. I really wanted to like this book, believe me I did. What I did like though were the pirates. They were really interesting characters, despite the fact that their in the story for a short time. I wished that the story could have focused more on Vera and her brother's experience with the Pirates. Other then that, the story was simply okay. I was also hoping that it would be a stand alone novel but I guess there might be a sequel with the way the book ended.I don't think I would want to continue reading about Vera and whatever journey comes her way in the world of The Water Wars. I didn't make a strong connection with the story, to continue reading about it in the next part. I think I would recommend this to dystopian lovers but not as a strong recommendation.more
The Short of It:The Water Wars is a fast-paced novel geared towards young adults. Its premise is promising… the nation is experiencing a water shortage and it’s left the landscape bone dry. However, as interesting as the story is, the characters take a backseat to the action. The Rest of It:Vera and her family struggle to survive on water rations that are modified by desalinization. The removal of salt and minerals is the only way to make salt water palatable and it’s left them weak, and in the case of Vera’s mother, ill. One day, Vera meets a boy by the name of Kai. Kai is special in that he lives with the privileged and seems to have access to an unlimited supply of fresh drinking water. His ability to locate fresh water is soon found out and he is kidnapped. Vera and her brother Will trek across the barren landscape in search of Kai and encounter obstacles such as water pirates, government intervention and flash floods from compromised dams.The premise behind the book is quite frightening to consider. Stracher does an excellent job setting up the landscape. I could easily visualize the overall dustiness of a land without water. However, the characters, with the exception of Vera, seemed a little flat to me. Vera reminded me a lot of Katniss from The Hunger Games. She is determined and plucky and believable. However, Kai…who is such an important piece of the puzzle seems vacant in some way. Granted, he’s missing for a good chunk of the novel, but when he’s present, he’s not really PRESENT. His personality doesn’t really come through and this made it hard for me to buy the little romance between the two.As far as action, there’s plenty of it but it didn’t allow a reader to linger with these characters for too long. They were off and running throughout the entire novel. From a tween’s perspective though, I imagine this would be right up their alley. Tweens don’t want to spend ages getting to the main story. They want you to get to the point quickly, and I do feel that Stracher succeeded in doing that. Also, the narrative structure played out like a movie which I think younger readers tend to like when reading a book.In summary, younger readers (tweens and teens) will enjoy it whereas older readers might find it lacking.more
I was so excited to read The Water Wars (just look at that absolutely UH-MAZE-ING cover, it's freaking gorgeous) that I started at soon as I got it, but after reading it the only thing I love about it is the cover. Neither Vera, Will, or Kai were good characters, they were all really boring and single layered. Sula and the pirate king, Ulysses, were more interesting and they were secondary characters. I don't understand why Will and Vera would risk their lives and the lives of their parents to save a boy that they barely know, but I can get over that. What I can't get over is all the over the top rediculous situations that the kids got into and eventually got out of alive. I can suspend reality only so much. You can't do that much to a massive corporation and still be alive. Sorry, it just doesn't work that way. Also, the ending was really annoying and seems like there could possibly be made into a series, but I hope not. All in all it was a very lack-luster novel. If you want a beautiful book to put on your shelf then buy The Water Wars. If you want a beautiful book that is actually a good book on the inside too, DO NOT buy The Water Wars.more
First off, let's start with the cover for this book... Amazing, right?! I helped pick it. [I took part in the poll that helped choose the cover ... so, you're quite welcome (brushes shoulders off)- haha]. Secondly, let's talk about the very seductive premise to this story. I mean we've seen all sorts of dystopian story lines as of late (i.e. zombies, war, lack of oil, even too much water), but this is the first story where I've read where it's the water that is scarce. The world's inhabitants live in a parched world where you can literally feel their thirst. Imagine how important water is for even the minimalist things.... like a common cold for instance. Without water and being properly hydrated you can just imagine the complications your body might suffer. Well, that is the world that Vera and her brother Will live in. While waiting for her bus to school one day, Vera meets Kai. Kai, who isn't suffering from the same waterless existence as everyone else... who is driven to school in a limo, has bodyguards and lives in a very posh home. As their friendship grows, Vera and Kai begin to develop stronger feelings for one another. And then one day, Kai disappears. Vera and Will set off to find him and won't let anything stand in their way until they are reunited.Mr. Stracher has phenomenal world-building skills. Not only was I enthralled by the world unfolding in the pages of The Water Wars but for some reason I kept getting up to get glass after glass of water. Reading of this waterless world made me dang thirsty the whole time I was reading it.While I did find the world-building suspenseful and creative, I had a hard time liking the characters. Vera, our narrator, was not someone I could relate to. Sadly, she was not very memorable at all. It was like living the story through her eyes but not really getting the full emotions of it. Her friendship/relationship with Kye was brief, rushed and the ensuing adventure/danger, felt unwarranted after knowing someone for only a few short weeks. That's just my opinion though. I also had a slight problem with the overall message of the story. Don't take me wrong, I'm all about "going green" and saving the planet, but I really don't like when this message comes across in a preachy/propaganda-ish manner. I also found it strange that Vera (the narrator) is a girl, when the book totally feels like a "boy" story to me (that may also be a boy on the cover)... hmmmm. I truly tried to enjoy this story, but it just didn't live up to my expectations.All in all, this was a fast-paced story, full of adventure, danger, mystery and even some (very mild) romance. I honestly cannot say I would recommend this one since I felt the characters were too under-developed to be ignored, but if you can overlook that and just enjoy the action sequences, then you might want to check it out. For me, it just fell flat.more
Things have gone really bad in this book. The polar ice has melted and been harvested, dams have been cut off, and rivers are dry. The world has been through wars and what once was the US is now a couple of smaller countries. Vera and her brothers live in Illionowa. They are normal kids, except for being thirsty all the time, eating bad food, and worrying about the future. But they still seem hopeful, and love to watch YouToo. Kai is a mystery kid that Vera meets. He keeps his secrets close, and I like him.You will also meet a pirate (liked him too), bad people who blow up things, and hear tales about the evil Canadians..what?! Oh yes, Canadians are really really bad in this book. I found that really fun actually.One thing though, these kids are way too lucky, but then again if they weren't lucky they would have been dead long ago during their little adventure. So I can deal with that, they are kids, it's a YA book, and there are some really bad people here. They need friends on their side and get out of situations more easily.I liked the take on water in this book. Because it is a very likely scenario that plays out in this book. It could happen, it is also critical of the government and even of those trying to save the nature, the paramilitary group, everyone have something to gain, and the goals are not always in the best interest of the many.The end is an end, but still there is an opening, for things to get better, or get really really bad. Recommendation and final thoughts:An easy YA book that gave you something to think about at the same time. I could see teens reading this one in school and discussing afterwards why things went bad, how to stop them, and different scenarios.more
While The Water Wars has a unique dystopian concept, I felt it was poorly executed. The apocalyptic world that Cameron Stracher invented was lacking in solidity—it had no real background (all we’re told is that there was “a war”, with undertones of global warming and poor care of the environment). The characters hop from location to location, but none of the settings had much distinction from the other. The characters of The Water Wars also fell flat, in my opinion. Vera’s narration was first-person, but after the story ended, I still felt as if I didn’t know her. She was just an eye through which the reader was supposed to observe the action. Likewise, Kai, the boy with water-finding powers, wasn’t interesting at all. He had only a few lines, and Vera knew him only for a little while before running off to risk her life to find him. I felt as if he should have been a much more compelling character to have others risk their lives for him. The Water Wars felt a bit like a middle-grade novel in that most of the adult characters were kind of…dumb. Most of the adults Vera and her brother encountered on their adventures turned to the children for advice or help. While this sends a great message to kids (your opinions matter!), I felt it was extremely unrealistic, especially considering the pasts of these adult characters. One thing The Water Wars did NOT lack was action. The book practically lives on action—the characters are quickly dropped into one scary situation after the next, and almost every chapter ended with a cliffhanger. All the action (fight scenes, chase scenes, things-blowing-up scenes) helps distract from the book’s weak points, but as a reader who loves some good character development, the action didn’t save The Water Wars from being a book that I disliked. So, in all honesty, I cannot say that I’d recommend The Water Wars. The lack of development in both characters and the setting was too glaring for me to ignore. The action/adventure elements of the story were fun, but overall the novel fell flat for me.more
Siblings Vera and Will live a fairly typical post-apocalyptic life in a world where water is a precious commodity and thus heavily rationed and a dangerous commodity to work with. But their lives change when they befriend the enigmatic Kai, who seems to have a talent for finding hidden water sources. Kai’s family is unthinkably wealthy with water, and so when he disappears, Vera and Will think that someone may have kidnapped him for his information. They set off on a daring rescue across the blighted landscape, dodging water pirates and government organizations in order to find their friend.Man. I really wanted to like this one. It’s dystopian, first of all, and it’s not too much a stretch of the imagination to picture our future being like this. And for the first few chapters all was still well. The world-building is solidly vivid—I could clearly visualize the parched, struggling land that Vera lives in when I closed my eyes—and the characters, while not standouts, were at least not irritating. Vera’s not a particularly convincing narrator, but I was willing to overlook narratorial blandness in favor of the attention-holding world-building.But when Vera and Will set off to rescue Kai is when the book completely lost my interest and sympathies. THE WATER WARS seems like an overly ambitious melding of too many genres—dystopian, Western, action. One minute they’re plodding along in a lonely, lonely world where it feels like they’re the only people around; the next, they’ve been captured by water pirates? And the next, a big explosion (quite literally) sweeps them away…but right into the hands of other evil dudes?? I’m sorry, but that’s where I stopped reading. I like the premise well enough, but it turns out that Stracher never fully convinces me to invest in these characters’ outcomes, which was apparent after they began encountering extravagant deus ex machinas.more
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