Review: City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrauCity of Ember
Jeanne DuPrau
Yearling Books
Published in 2003

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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.

Cultural Elements
There weren’t many cultural details given about the characters, but most appeared to be white.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content

Spiritual 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.

Violent Content
At one point, guards chase Lina and threaten her with confinement.

Drug Content



About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

4 thoughts on “Review: City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

  1. I absolutely LOVED this book! I even watched the movie and I’m sad that they’ve canceled their attempt to do a second movie! I think I read this last year or 2015, but it was so beautiful when I read it. I adored the characters and the plot, absolutely loved the book.

    1. I didn’t even know there was a movie! I’m going to have to check it out. Thanks, Paige! I loved the book, too. 🙂

  2. colleenshinephillips – Writer, veteran missionary, adventure and intrigue-lover. Convinced of the power of the word and the Word.
    Colleen says:

    Thanks for this review. I checked out the audio book from the digital library. We will see how it goes, as I listen to it at night. Zzzzz. I need to do it during the day instead. Just as a side note, I like the narrator’s voice. Yay!

    1. Yay! I hope you enjoy the story. I think you’ll like the characters’ voices. 🙂

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