Tuesday, October 7, 2014

On a Clear Day by Walter Dean Myers

What will the Bronx be like in 2035?  In this posthumously published novel, Walter Dean Myers takes readers on a journey into a vision of the near future.  That vision includes cars that drive themselves, a concentration of power in the hands of a few, the rise of gated communities, microchips embedded in humans at birth, and a spunky protagonist named Dahlia.  A fifteen-year-old math whiz whose mother recently passed away, Dahlia lives on her own in a house with neighbors she considers family in a western part of the Bronx.  What does Dahlia need to know to determine whether she and other bright teens can make a difference while societies around the world seem to be heading towards total atomization and increasingly giving up autonomy to the rule of a few corporations?  This new novel will be of interest to fans of the late, great Myers, as well as readers interested in dystopian futures and the role of teenagers in averting disaster by becoming engaged citizens.  With this text Myers seems to have taken all of his contemporary concerns about young people and woven them into a novel with his tried-and-true structure.  Seasoned readers will find his experiment with a teenaged girl’s voice to be of interest.  We eagerly await students’ verdicts. --Jessica Fenster-Sparber

Myers, Walter Dean.  On A Clear Day.  New York: HarperCollins, 2014.

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