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Zenith by Julie Bertagna
Review by Gayle Surrette
Walker Books for Young Readers Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780802798039
Date: 17 March 2009 List Price $16.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Zenith takes up immediately after the events of Exodus, the ships are on their way to Greenland on automatic pilot. At least Mara hopes they are, she can't see any other ships but their own. The people on the ship are fighting among themselves and nothing is as she thought it would be. Disaster strikes when the ship cuts through a cluster of other ships destroying some of them and possibly killing people -- Mara is devastated but still hopes that Greenland will be their salvation and survival.

Tuck, whose mother was killed when the white ship cut through their floating city wants revenge. But his glimpse of the grieving girl on the deck of the white ship has him curious about what really happened. So, when the Gypseas vote to follow and avenge themselves, he has no choice but to go.

More Julie Bertagna:
* Exodus
* Zenith

Fox has stayed behind in the drowned ruins at the foot of the city he grew up in. He plans to learn and then foment change. The city should not be allowed to exist to use slave labor and to ignore the suffering on the surface and all around it.

These three story lines alternate and some eventually merge as the ship moves to Greenland and eventually lands on the coast to find things very different from what they expected. The people on the ship must learn to work together and to share, or none of them will survive.

Much darker and grittier than the previous book, Bertagna deals with many issues that face people no matter what their age or situation. Who do I wish to be? How do I become someone I'm proud to be? What am I willing to do to survive? Each character has a different answer. Each grows from his or her experiences and inner values to choose their path. There are some unexpected twists and turns throughout as the events unfold in this world where climate change has caused the seas to rise and the land masses to disappear under the waves.

Post-apocalyptic stories can go dark as people pine for what they lost. They can also transcend that depression when, instead, the characters strive to overcome the new obstacles and build a new world for themselves. Bertagna gives hope that these people who have lost their land, their homes, and their families will strive to create something new rather than give up.

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