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Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

*Sila's Revenge* by Jamie Bastedo- young adult book review
Sila's Revenge
by Jamie Bastedo
Grades 7+ 192 pages Red Deer Press June 2010 Paperback    

Picture it. You’ve just turned 18 years old, and you’re invited to perform at Carnegie Hall. That’s where Ashley Anowiak and her Dream Drummers are standing, and they certainly ought to be on top of the world. Their home village of Nanurtalik on Canada’s arctic coast, almost is on top of the world, but the perspective from there isn’t as good as one might think.

Don’t tell Ashley and her neighbors that climate change is a ridiculous theory propagated by wild-eyed enviro-hippies. With Arctic ice thawing at an unprecedented rate, Nanurtalik is melting away with it. In Ashley’s words,
“We can’t trust the ice anymore…. When the ice changed and [polar bears] can’t find seals, they come into town, sniffing out garbage or chomping on sled dogs… I’ve seen my friend’s house get bowled over by a freak storm. I’ve seen my own dog crushed to death in a mudslide triggered by melting permafrost…. I’ve seen Elders break down and cry because they can’t predict the weather anymore.”
Eco-warrior Ashley knows that Sila, the upholder of the universe, the spirit of the earth, is taking revenge for the way humans have abused the planet. Ashley knows this because she is one of the rare people sensitive enough to hear Sila whispering.

When Jack Masters, an indecently wealthy and powerful oil man, arranges for the Dream Drummers to visit New York and appear at Carnegie Hall, Ashley seizes the opportunity to awaken a new audience to the drastic changes in climate. It would seem to be a fine line to walk, given that Jack Masters and his Empire Oil Company are perpetrating some of the worst abuses against Sila and her children.

But Jack Masters is an enigma; he makes his fortune in a business that exploits the Earth’s natural resources, and he drives cars powered by water. He has spent his life exploring solar and wind power, he lives close to the land in his native Australia, and now he wants the Dream Drummers to bring their message to the Scorched Earth Concert, a massive gathering that Masters has organized to bring full worldwide awareness to the condition of the planet.

The other Dream Drummers are excited about the opportunity to become music stars overnight, but Ashley knows in her bones that there’s more to Jack Masters than meets the eye. For starters, he kidnaps the Dream Drummers…

Author Jamie Bastedo is an ecologist and a resident of Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories. His own connection with the land and concern for the environment breathes life into the character of Ashley.

Yes, Bastedo is a fine writer, but more than that, he is able to sift through all the data and pull out the most riveting and heartbreaking examples of environmental destruction for his readers. By bringing the Arctic to Australia, Bastedo makes a statement about the similarity of peoples and problems, and about the need for a unified front to preserve all of life on this planet. Sila's Revenge is a page-turning adventure tale, but it is also a call to action.

This book speaks for the young adults it is written for, addressing an issue that will define their future and showing them a protagonist they can emulate. As Ashley says to an assembled crowd of over-30 scientists, “There’s no more time to pussyfoot around with carbon tagets fifty years from now…. Most of you will be dead by that time. We’re the ones who’ll still be here…”
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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  Deborah Adams/2010 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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