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In this haunting, lyrical novel told from three perspectives, Sarel has just witnessed the violent murder of her parents. But she is not completely alone on the drought-ridden land. Nandi is the leader of a pack of dogs who looks out for her pups and for skinny Sarel-girl. Nandi knows they are all in trouble, and she knows, too, that a boy is coming—an escaped prisoner with the water song inside him. A hard-hitting but ultimately hopeful survival story.
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A Junior Library Guild Selection
"Brutally beautiful, this is a story that both inspires and sounds an alarm, a story of courage and heart. Just like Musa’s ability to tap into water, it asks us to tap into our own humanity, even though it might be more deeply hidden than we can imagine."
—Kathi Appelt, Newbery Honor-winning author of The Underneath
"A thrilling, imaginative soul quencher. Crowder’s stunning debut is sure to become a modern classic."
—Rita Williams-Garcia, Newbery Honor-winning author of One Crazy Summer
"Spare, unflinching, and beautifully written, this novel walks the line between magic and reality."
— Franny Bilingsley, National Book Award finalist for Chime
"Thirst and heat are palpable as kids and dogs fight fatal dehydration. . . . A wrenching piece with a wisp of hope for the protagonists if not for the rest of their world."
"The writing, especially the descriptions of the drought conditions and extreme thirst, is excellent."
—School Library Journal
"The direct powerful prose in this first novel dramatizes the exciting contemporary survival story. . . . Fans of Gary Paulsen's Hatchet (1987) will want this."
"Taut yet descriptive, Crowder's writing dramatically captures the characters' desperation; the blistering heat and their acute hunger and thirst are entirely persuasive."
* "Crowder's spare storytelling and third-person narration provide young readers some safe distance for witnessing the tragic events, while well-chosen details and taut descriptions effectively convey the intensity of the situation."
—Bulletin, starred review