The Scourge

8 CDs. 8:43 hrs. Scholastic Audio. Aug. 2016. $39.99. ISBN 9781338050936. digital download.
Gr 6–8—Ani Mells, a scrappy teen, is willing to take risks to help keep her family fed. When she runs into wardens while foraging, her refusal to obey means both she and her friend Weevil are detained and tested for the Scourge, a fatal disease that has plagued the townsfolk but generally left Ani and Weevil's River People alone. When Ani tests positive, she and Weevil are sent to the Colony on Attic Island to live out the rest of their short lives with others who are infected. As they struggle to make sense of things, Ani and Weevil strengthen their friendship and come to realize that the "pinchworms" (rich folks) and "grubs" (River People) would be more powerful as allies than as enemies. Narrator Brittany Pressley voices Ani with determination and occasional quavering vulnerability. She does equally well with stalwart Weevil, wealthy Della, harsh Governor Felling, and many others.
VERDICT A solid choice for younger teens and those who want a fast- paced dystopian novel without extreme violence.

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