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Pills And Starships
BIBLIO:2014, Akashic Books, Ages 12-18, $11.95.
FORMAT: Young Adult
Natalie's world in her journal is a place where she escapes. She writes in a journal as if she were talking to the aliens that would arrive after her world is gone. She writes about how life was in stories she heard from her aging parents and information obtained by watching old screen shows. In her present world pop-up adds on corporate veneer cloud the place she lives, the last of the forests are being eaten by beetles, people are standing in line for medicines to cure diseases brought on by mosquito's and flies, all due to global warming. There are those who live well, like her family, and others who are poor, sick and starving. Her aging parents, now in their 80's and 90's, have signed a death contract to end their lives. This is something the Corp does to control population. While Natalie writes in her journal her rebel younger brother Sam is investigating his conspiracy theories. He spies, hacks into the service corporation data and researches on rogue sites. According to Sam he feels the corporate entities, that also rule, are out there making war.
Upon the family's arrival in Hawaii it's supposed to be like a family vacation where they spend the last few days enjoying the sunsets and each other. But that is not the case. Sam and his rebel friends have something else in mind. Neither Natalie or Sam want to loose their parents and their parents don't want to live because they can't stand to see the changes in the planet. The planet is dying and people aren't having babies anymore. After their parents departure, Natalie and Sam will go to a group home for survivors. One thing that helps them cope is all the meds or pharma they take to adjust their moods. Everyone takes them, keeping them distant from all that's wrong, and all that's changing. Sam finally convinces Natalie that the Corp has a secret. Now they have less than five days to save their parents and all of the rebels from the Corp plan to control the population. Unfortunately for them, a large storm is approaching and that could stop everything the rebels have sacrificed. Can Sam and Natalie save themselves, their parents and the rebels against the Corp and a vicious storm? And if so, then what?
Author Lydia Millet has created a story that is filled with possibilities from the effects of global warming and a changing world. This “it could happen” feeling readers will get gives pause and has readers questioning the “what if's.” Readers will enjoy the change in the characters and excitedly turn the pages to see the fight all the way to the end. Parents and teachers will approve. This is a great read-aloud story for classrooms that will encourage conversation about our real changing world.