The Scavengers by Michael Perry – Book Review

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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).

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  1. cguard says

    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!

  2. Tricia says

    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.

  3. Terra Heck says

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

  4. helen says

    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.

  5. michelle koerner says

    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.

  6. Carol Jensen-Olson says

    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.

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