The City of Ember!
Does anyone else remember the movie that came out about five years ago? Wasn’t much of a hit. But I clearly remember the book floating through my elementary school classrooms, being passed off from one curious child to the next. I even had to be put on a wait list at the library to read the sequel.
In case you never read The City of Ember, I’ll give you a short synopsis. The end of the world has come and gone. An entire civilization, perhaps the only one left, has moved underground with no access to the outside world. They grow vegetables in greenhouses powered by electricity, use electricity to get water from inside the earth, and have electric light bulbs for suns. Sadly, the electricity is running out – quickly. Lina Mayfleet, a child of Ember, discovers a mysterious document that could save the city. She and her friend Doon must lead the city into the outside world before they’re trapped in darkness forever.
Much like The City of Ember, The Light of the Fireflies by Paul Pen is set in a post-apocalyptic world. A family is living underground after a fire nearly burns them all to death. The main character, a young boy, spends his days wondering what the world is like outside, why the family is shut in the basement, and who the father of his sister’s baby is. After fireflies appear in his bedroom he creates a master plan to escape, similar to the way Lina and Doon make it out of Ember.
Overall The Light of the Fireflies is a mature, and haunting, story about “finding the light in the darkness of places” (as the back of the book reads, but really, it’s true). It’s about finding a way out of the situation you’re in rather than making the best of things. If you’re ready to cry, get angry, and feel inspired you can pick up this book on the Kindle eStore (free in the month of March for Prime members) or Barnes and Noble.