by Julie Bertagna
April 1st 2008 (first published 2002)
by Walker Books for Young Readers
Hardcover, 352 pages
0802797458 (isbn13: 9780802797452)
rating: 5 of 5 stars
“Once upon a time there was a world. . .a world full of miracles.”
Mara Bell is fifteen years old and the exact image of her grandmother Mary. She lives on Wing, an island in the northern part of an Earth nearly drowned by the melting of the polar ice caps. The waters are continuing to rise, and Mara must trust the instincts she inherited from the strong women in her family. She convinces her neighbors to flee the island for refuge in one of the sky cities, the tall feats of technology so high as to be safe from the storms and rising waters. When they reach the nearest city, however, they are barred from entering and treated like so much refuse that is expelled from the white city itself. Mara has to risk everything to save her people and the other refugees, and possibly fulfill a prophecy. And the waters continue to rise.
The cover of the copy of Exodus that I got from the library there is a quote from The Guardian: “A miracle of a novel. . .a book you will remember for the rest of your life.” I’m a theologian. Floods and Exodus. I remember another book with these phrases that have shaped my life. I didn’t think another could.
I was wrong. There is so much original, so much beautiful, so much of heartrending genius in this novel. The plot moves quickly and effortlessly, there’s action and science-fiction and myth (Joseph Campbell style) and romance. The best I can tell you is to run, run, run and read it yourself.