Vera is extremely cautious of the water-wasting boy she sees on the road. It's not normal (or legal) to waste water in such a manner. She approaches the boy & so starts the journey of a lifetime.
Vera and her older brother Will live in what used to be the Mid-West, but is now known as the territory of Illinowa. The Great Panic, due to drastically reducing water supplies, tore the United States & other countries to shreds. Now everyone scrambles to save up ration cards in order to obtain potable water from the government. Many people are sick, and some are even dying, from the lack of water & the illnesses that stem from that situation.
Kai is alone on the main road outside of Vera's home when she sees him wasting water on the road. He is the son of a very important water-seeker, so he doesn't have to go to school & he has all the water he'll ever need. These two form a tredipatious friendship based in after-school snacks & dreaming of far away lands & times in abundance with water. Vera even finds herself wishing to be more than just friends with him over time.
Everything changes though when Kai's bodyguards are murdered & Kai is kidnapped. Vera & Will race off to help him, encountering pirates, fighting environmental terrorists & even rebelling against corrupt government water companies. All in the name of the main life-force on this planet.
The Water Wars was... different. I feel kind of ambivalent about the whole book. There were definitely parts I liked, mostly based in the writing style & descriptions; and there were parts, like the fantastical nature of the story, that just didn't jive with me. I felt like I kept getting glimpses of how this world should be set up, without every really getting the whole picture. All I kept picturing were desert towns instead of a nation that has been through complete and total upheaval. Part of that might have to do with the simple fact that I couldn't tell where we were in relation to today. There were definitely references to today's society & pop culture to identify eras, but no definite knowledge of how long it took the country to devolve so far.
I must say that I really enjoyed the different groups we encounter in this book. The pirates were my favorite because they weren't at all on my radar of expectations. The environmental terrorists were fascinating to delve into simply because the leader was honest that their work isn't always what's best for the planet. I thought that made a real statement about their self-awareness.
Overall the characters were self-containing and quite predictable. I found that reassuring given the unsure footing we were on in relation to the rest of the book. A quirky, unique look at a future society devoid the most precious resource we have, The Water Wars is one to at least give a fair shake.
If you've read it, what did you think?