By Cameron Stracher
Sourcebooks, $9.99, 240 pages

The Water Wars is Cameron Stracher’s first young-adult novel. His futuristic book is set after “The Great Panic” ravaged the United States. The US has been divided into eight territories with separate governments that fight over a resource which has become more precious than gold or oil: water. Only the rich are able to afford clean drinking water, and waste is a crime.

When Stracher’s protagonist, Vera, sees Kai drink half a glass of water and carelessly dump the other half in the dirt, she thinks he’s downright insane. He doesn’t go to school, rides around in a limo with armed guards, and makes dangerous statements such as, “the government is keeping secrets from you.” (33).

“The government is keeping secrets from you” (33).

Vera and her brother William befriend Kai, but when his apartment is ransacked and his bodyguard is murdered, they find themselves on the adventure of a lifetime. They are captured by pirates, threatened by rebel armies, and battle with Bluewater, a malevolent, money-hungry corporation.

While Stracher’s book begins to drag soon after Kai is captured, and while it is lacking a great deal of historical context, The Water Wars may be appealing to middle school students who enjoy action-packed books and semi post-apocalyptic stories.

Reviewed by Emily Davis