In a small town scratching out survival beyond Word War III, twelve-year-old Hope Toriella vows to make a place for herself among the townspeople as an inventor. Despite the horrible flops her past attempts have been, she is certain that this time, she’s got a winner ready for unveiling. While Hope hasn’t developed a talent for inventing yet, she certainly has a gift for trouble, and that’s just what she gets when she answers the challenge put forth by the mysterious newcomer, Brock, who dares her to jump through a deadly pocket of Bomb’s Breath that surrounds the town in the aftermath of war.
While Hope and her friends have attempted this feat before, most consider it certain death, and Hope has to lie to keep herself and her friends from getting into trouble. Just as she wiggles out of one mess, another drops into her lap. Strange men threaten to hurt the townspeople unless they turn over an irreplaceable antibiotic. With an outbreak of disease already beginning, Hope knows her people cannot turn over the medicine. Instead, she and her friends must escape through ice, snow, and the deadly Bomb’s Breath to a neighboring settlement to bring back help.
Eddleman creates a fascinating post-apocalyptic world in which the earth’s magnetic fields have been disrupted by the use of a Green Bomb during a massive world-wide war. Many of the technological advances of the last several hundred years have been lost, and the surviving settlements in the story are largely agricultural and isolated. What is left unexplored is what happened to the winning nations of the war? Are they as decimated as American cities seem to be? Are other more important areas occupied by soldiers of this other group? Or has the change in the earth’s atmosphere destroyed those in power as well? The reader is left with little time to wonder, however, because the rest of the story moves at a rapid pace, and is filled with other creative elements which are tightly woven into the story.
A few brief and pretty sterile references to death. Some scenes contain brief instances of violence on the part of bandits attacking townspeople. One man is shot in the leg.
Hope and her classmates are tasked with finding a local plant which is then turned into a valuable antibiotic.