The Scavengers by Michael Perry – Book Review

by Jennifer Donovan

5M4B disclosure

the scavengers

I’ve been reading this book aloud with my 10-year-old son. My intention was to read with him aloud for a few days, and then finish it quickly myself and turn it over to him to finish himself, so I could finish it in time for this review. Full disclosure, I haven’t quite finished it, because enjoying this experience with my son is trumping my gig as a book reviewer, and that’s how it should be, right? I’m enjoying his reactions and insightful comments so much that I decided not to stick to my original plan. Ultimately I think that’s a pretty good testament to the strength of the novel. So unless author Michael Perry kills off all the beloved characters or they wake up and discover that it was all a dream, I feel confident in strongly recommending it, even though I haven’t finished reading it yet.

The Scavengers is an imaginative novel for 9 – 12 year olds set in a dystopian future. If you aren’t a fan of Young Adult fiction, you might not be familiar with this genre of fiction, but it’s very popular (Think Divergent, The Hunger Games, etc). A dystopia is defined as “an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one.” What makes this novel so unique is that it is geared to younger readers and from the perspective of a girl their age.

Maggie and her family live outbubble. Those who live in the Bubble are taken care of (and controlled) by the government, whereas those like Maggie’s family have chosen to live out on their own, even though there is no electricity and dangers like GreyDevil scavengers (a sort of human mutant) and Solar Bears (another mutant, bears crossed with wolves). Because they have to make due with what they have and Maggie and her brother Dookie can’t be entertained like kids of today with electronic devices, there’s a sort of Little House on the Prairie vibe, but the novelty and danger make pioneering definitely more exciting.

Michael Perry’s writing is descriptive and the plot and situations are imaginative and unique to this age group. Many 4th and 5th graders are in a hurry to read some of the YA books I mentioned above, but this one has the same appealing theme but is targeted right to them.

Read his guest post at 5 Minutes for Books about 5 Ways My Mom Helped Me Become a Writer (leaving a comment over there will earn you an extra entry below).

Enter to win

Follow the instructions below to enter to win a copy. Start off by leaving a comment telling me with whom you’d like to share this wonderful book (and maybe it’s just yourself. That’s fine too!).

Find More

Find more great book suggestions on our Books Pinterest Board.

pinterest books board

Follow all our Pinterest boards at


Email Author    |    Website About Jennifer Donovan

Jennifer Donovan has been a part of the 5 Minutes for Mom team since 2007. She writes product reviews, covers events, and manages the 5 Minutes for Books weekly column and website. She lives in Houston and blogs at Snapshot about life with her family.

View all articles by

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Marilyn Nawara September 1, 2014 at 11:17 am

I would read it with my granddaughter.


2 Holly September 1, 2014 at 2:01 pm

I’d read it with my daughters who love that genre.


3 cguard September 1, 2014 at 2:23 pm

I would begin it with 4th and 5th graders when I sub in their rooms and then finish it by myself as we love Michael Perry!


4 Tricia September 1, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Who’ll be reading it? For starters, my son, two daughters, me…I’ve enjoyed all of Michael Perry’s books, and I look forward to sharing his book with them.


5 Janelle September 1, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Love WI author Michael Perry. My daughter is going into 4th grade, and I think she’d enjoy reading this book.


6 anne September 1, 2014 at 8:38 pm

I will read this with my grandson and granddaughter. Most wonderful.


7 Patricia Wojnar Crowley September 1, 2014 at 8:54 pm

I’d like to share it with my nieces and nephews!


8 Leela September 2, 2014 at 5:38 am

It would be for my kids.


9 Leela September 2, 2014 at 5:39 am

Entered Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good giveaway.


10 Heather B September 2, 2014 at 2:16 pm

I think both my 13 and 10 year olds would enjoy this with me!


11 Terra Heck September 2, 2014 at 4:02 pm

I’d like to read the book first then pass it along to my 11 yoa step-daughter. Thanks.


12 liza vladyka September 2, 2014 at 6:04 pm

I think my son would like this book its in his genre


13 Daniel M September 2, 2014 at 10:39 pm

looks like one for my nephew!


14 Daniel M September 2, 2014 at 10:44 pm

entered Feast for Thieves


15 Liz September 3, 2014 at 2:38 pm

My daughter would LOVE this!


16 Jerry Olinski September 3, 2014 at 3:28 pm

I would give it to my grandson.


17 Kerrie Mayans September 4, 2014 at 2:11 pm

I would probably read it aloud to my eight year old son.


18 Staci A September 4, 2014 at 8:42 pm

I’d read it with my 10 yo son!


19 Nancy September 5, 2014 at 6:38 am

This would be nice to add to our family library.


20 Nancy September 5, 2014 at 6:38 am

I entered the giveaway for Madame Picasso.


21 Wehaf September 6, 2014 at 1:32 am

I would probably share this with my oldest nephew, but I would definitely read it myself, first.


22 Kathi September 7, 2014 at 1:40 pm

I will be reading this with my 7-year-old son, who, like the author, cannot put books down!


23 helen September 7, 2014 at 4:14 pm

I’ll be reading this book aloud on our road trips, no matter how short, to my husband as he drives and to our 12 year old son who has a cognitive disability.


24 Jenny September 7, 2014 at 7:18 pm

This would be a great book for my son.


25 Anita Yancey September 8, 2014 at 1:35 pm

I would like to share it with my daughter. She would love this book.


26 Donna O'Neil September 10, 2014 at 11:09 am

I will give it to my daughter.


27 Nannypanpan September 10, 2014 at 1:32 pm

Would love it for my nephew


28 Nannypanpan September 10, 2014 at 1:34 pm

Entered Stanley the builder


29 Sindy Murray September 11, 2014 at 11:53 am

I would like to read it and if my son is interest it, he may read it too!


30 Sarah Jestings September 12, 2014 at 1:40 am

I would love to win this for my Son.


31 Kristie September 12, 2014 at 9:55 am

I think my daughter would really enjoy this! :-)


32 michelle koerner September 12, 2014 at 5:36 pm

i would share this with my oldes daughter buti would read it first! i actually really enjoy young adultish books, harry potter is one of my favorite series! lol.


33 Diana Hatch September 13, 2014 at 9:21 am

Just for me!


34 Seyma Shabbir September 13, 2014 at 10:02 am

I would love to give this to my sons!


35 Carol Jensen-Olson October 8, 2014 at 3:19 pm

I love Michael Perry, so when I heard his interview on NPR with Michael Feldman I knew I had to get this book and give it a chance. I picked up this book and could not put it down. It is a page turner. Being a Language Arts teacher, I loved the word play and the references to Emily Dickinson her poetry and her life style. What a delicious way to expose students to poetry by, in my estimation, a great poet. Being an adult I identified with this book through the Mad Max movie, Mocking J in the Hunger Games and of course the all too famous zombie invasion. In my mind, something for everyone. The humor that Michael adds keeps the story light enough but not an overkill and his choice of characters brings back the family and friends in his own life. I could see Old Tom, the sheds and trucks, and all of the other paraphernalia that find their way to the countryside. I am raving about this book on Facebook and my only regret is my kids are too grown up for me to read this book to them. I hope this story does not stop here, even though it could.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: