Stuff for the Teen Age
Drought by Pam Bachorz
For nearly 200 years, Ruby and her mother have led their group of congregants through years and years of backbreaking work, hoping for the return of Otto, Ruby's father and their leader, to come and save them. They are forced to harvest water, an almost impossible task, and are beaten if they don’t reach their quota.
Ruby dreams of freedom and when Ford, a handsome Overseer, promises to bring her into the modern world, she is tempted to leave. But it is her blood that keeps the congregation alive. Leaving would mean death for the people that she loves. There are religious overtones in the book, but it is done in a subtle way. Ruby and the congregants are enslaved and cannot leave because of their belief in Otto. And Ruby is shunned for dreaming about a world outside of her family and religion. The Overseers and others who live outside of the compound see the congregation as a backwards cult, and the congregants can't imagine life in the outside world.
After the success of The Hunger Games, there has been a great demand for novels set in a dystopian setting, and some are better than others. In Drought, Pam Bachorz creates a bleak and desperate world within the modern world, though many of the characters seem to be a little flat, either very pious, or very evil. Thankfully, the starcrossed romance between Ruby and Ford breathes life into the story.