Ruby Prosser dreams of escaping the Congregation and the early-nineteenth century lifestyle that’s been practiced since the community was first enslaved.
She plots to escape the vicious Darwin West, his cruel Overseers, and the daily struggle to gather the life-prolonging Water that keeps the Congregants alive and gives Darwin his wealth and power. But if Ruby leaves, the Congregation will die without the secret ingredient that makes the Water special: her blood.
So she stays.
But when Ruby meets Ford, the new Overseer who seems barely older than herself, her desire for freedom is too strong. He’s sympathetic, irresistible, forbidden—and her only access to the modern world. Escape with Ford would be so simple, but can Ruby risk the terrible price, dooming the only world she’s ever known?(goodreads)
My thoughts...Drought, the second book by author Pam Bachorz is not a happy go lucky story. It is dark and twisted. It left me cringing and covering my eyes with despair, yet I could not stop reading.
The story takes place in modern times, though it is hard to tell. The main characters, or Congregation, live under the control of a tyrant named Darwin West. This is probably one of the scariest villains I have read in YA literature. The man is evil. Ruby, the heroine, and other members of the congregation have to harvest water for West. The water, which is believed to have healing properties, can only be extracted by scraping water off leaves in the woods. If the Congregants don't perform as expected, they are punished by starvation, physical exertion, and violence.
While Darwin West is a horrifying villain. Ruby is an incredibly strong heroine. She and her people believe they will be saved by a man named Otto, who fled from them around 200 years ago. Ruby longs to be free of the life that has enslaved her for hundreds of years, but not everyone wants change.
As I mentioned above, this book was hard to put down. It was horrifying, agonizing, and painful at times to read. Ruby's mother infuriated me, as did the Elders in the story. The character of Otto baffled me, but the devotion to him was mysterious. I am left pondering why these people have stayed for so long. Was it out of fear? Desperation? Or Faith.
Overall, Drought was not what I expected, but I enjoyed it. This would be a great book for a club or discussion group: it will definitely evoke some strong opinions and discussions.
For more information, visit Pam Bachorz at her website. Find this book at Goodreads for a list of purchase links. Pam will be here in February for an interview!