Saturday, October 3, 2015

Review: Scrap City by D.S. Thornton


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Would you believe that under the ground, right beneath your city, was another city? Would you believe it was populated with Scrappers, people built of metal and glass and stone? Jerome has no choice but to believe it after he meets Arkie. Arkie is a Scrapper, and he and Jerome quickly become friends—maybe even brothers. So when Arkie's city is in danger, Jerome knows he must help. But helping Arkie means hurting Jerome's dad, the only real family Jerome still has . . .
For ages 10-14.
* Likeable characters: readers will identify with and appreciate Arkie, Jerome, and CiCi
* Real-life struggle (Jerome and Arkie have both lost their mothers) plus a fantastical premise (human-like beings built out of scraps from a junkyard)
* Focus on the environment: all of the Scrappers are built of reused pieces

MY TAKE:
I was on the fence a bit about this book based on the summary, but because I rarely dislike any book by Capstone Young Readers, I figured I'd give this one a try anyway.

In Scrap City, Jerome discovers a young Scrapper named Arkie while he is exploring a junkyard. Thanks to Arkie, he finds out that there's a city beneath his city, and that it's populated by sentient beings that are made up of scrap materials. This world is being threatened, however, and Jerome may be the only one who can help.

I'm actually glad I gave this book a try. I'm not much of a tinkerer, but I do like action-adventure books with a little bit of mystery. This was definitely that. While I get the feeling that this was geared mostly to a young male audience, young girls will still be able to relate to Jerome and connect with the other characters, even the Scrappers.

As you would expect from a book about robots made from recycled materials, this book does encourage reusing and recycling. However, unlike a lot of similar books, this one isn't preachy. It just presents the story and the characters and you get the urged to recycle, upcycle or try building new things on your own. I'd say that's a pretty successful pro-environment book.

I also liked that it tackled issues about oil drilling and Native American land rights. It's not done in a lot of detail, but again, it's easy enough for kids to get the gist.

With around 50 or so pages left, I thought this was going to be a trilogy, but the book seems pretty complete by itself. I'm glad it ended up being a standalone book. This way, there was as much action as possible and the story wasn't spread too thin over the course of a series.

Thanks to NetGalley and Capstone Young Readers for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. It encourages recycling and upcycling, but without getting preachy.
  2. The premise is interesting.
  3. The characters are mostly likable.

THE BAD:

  1. The ending feels a little rushed. 

READ IT IF:

  1. Your child likes robots.
  2. Your child likes making things.
  3. Your child likes adventure books. 

RATING:
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