Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Melanie Crowder
Sarel has lost her family. The memory of gunshots and fire haunt her. Water is almost non-existent in the city and in the desert, so she decides to leave to look for water somewhere, anywhere. Then a boy named Musa turns up. Musa is scabbed and weak from years of being prisoner to the Tandie, a violent gang, so Sarel decides that she’ll help him. She tells him of her plan to leave. He tells her that he has the ability to hear and find water. They search to no avail. To make matters worse, the Tandie show up. After a show down, the Tandie flees and Musa finds a way to the rainwater tunnels underground where they can have water, finally.
Parched is written from three different points of view. The distress of the situation is evident in each one. The story follows the perspective of Nandi, the leader of the dogs, Sarel, the girl whose land the story is set on, and Musa, the boy who can find water. Though distrustful of each other at first, they must learn to work together if they are ever going to survive. The story is beautifully written, putting the reader right into the desert with them. Themes of trust and courage and resilience are woven into the account. This brutally honest portrayal of the struggle to find safety and water may be foreign to those of us in first world countries, but for many, this is real life. Parched is a heart-wrenching reminder to be grateful for the plentiful water and safety that we have.
*Contains mild violence