City of Ember
Published in 2003
Lina has only known life in the City of Ember, a settlement built and stocked with all the supplies its citizens might need hundreds of years earlier. Now the shelves of the storehouses grow increasingly bare, and power outages plague everyone. When Lina and her best friend Doon discover a damaged document, Lina wonders if it could be from the Builders themselves. She and Doon work to decipher the message and save Ember before the city’s power supply fails for the last time.
I picked up this book because a friend recommended it, and I’m so glad I did. Actually, I wish I’d found it sooner, because it’s definitely the kind of story my daughter and I would have enjoyed reading together when she was a little younger. City of Ember would make an excellent family read. If there’s an audiobook version, I’d recommend it for a family road trip.
Reading the chapters, I felt like I could see the city underground. The characters are confused by references to things outside their experience that are commonplace for us. This definitely gave the story that closed-in feel while letting the readers have a bit of a laugh at the joke.
I loved Lina and her family, Doon, and especially Doon’s father, who always encouraged him to think more deeply and critically about the world around him, even when it was an unpopular thing to do.
If you liked The Giver or The Diary of Anne Frank you want to check this one out. Sorry, I know those are both classics… this story definitely has the same kind of feel to me, and has won many awards as well.
Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.
There weren’t many cultural details given about the characters, but most appeared to be white.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Long ago, Builders built the city and left Instructions for the people to follow. Citizens still keep the instructions as sacred, but not in a worshipped sense.
At one point, guards chase Lina and threaten her with confinement.