I love dystopian, post-apocalyptic fiction for teens, and Dark Life by Kat Falls falls into that category. I have it for my students to read in my classroom, but I hadn’t read it until this weekend. It was one of this “oh, it’s there, I’ll get to it eventually” books. Like so many books, I really wish I hadn’t waited.
The book is told from the perspective of Ty, a boy living undersea with his parents after the Rising, a catastrophic event that destroyed a lot of land, resulting in people being crammed into whatever land is left. The only place where people can live with their own land is, well, on the bottom of the ocean floor.
Ty loves living there, and after finding an abandoned sub, he runs into Gemma, and the two are off on a dangerous adventure that will change not only their lives, but also the lives of everyone around them.
I loved the characters and the plot in this book. There were so many twists and turns that I was thrown for a loop every time it changed! That rarely happens for me, so kudos to the author! The cover of the book is appealing visually as well, because the title looks like Mother of Pearl at a certain angle, possibly mimicking the “shine” the characters have from eating bioluminescent fish.
But back to the characters. Ty loves living undersea and will do just about anything to stay there, including hiding who he is. He fears going Topside, and readers do find out why later on. When the Seablite Gang appears, there are so many questions unanswered. Quite a few of them are by the end of the book, but before those are solved, even more questions popped up. Are people who they really say they are? Who is the mysterious Akai that scientists supposedly studied? Who is the doctor who wrote the report? How much land around the world is left, and are there really no other undersea territories?
While I was reading this book, I was reminded very much of Ganymede by Robert Heinlein. The idea of homesteading in an area that was once deemed unfit for human life fascinates me, and in that regard the books are similar. It is also about coming of age in such a landscape, though in Dark Life the homestead is underwater, and in Ganymede, the homestead is on a moon of Jupiter.
The books is published by Scholastic and has a sequel, Rip Tide, out now. I cannot wait to get my hands on it!