Dark Life

[box type="info" style="rounded"]This book is the first of a planned series. Disney and the Gotham Group have partnered for a film adaptation.[/box]

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It is sometime in the future. Earthquakes have shattered the continents, the oceans have risen, and dry land is a premium.  A small group of pioneers have moved to the ocean floor – sucking liquid oxygen and living in softsided homes on the bottom of the ocean floor. This is the Dark Life. Meet Ty. A 16 year old who has spent his entire life in the underwater colony. As such, he doesn’t have much tolerance for Topsiders (land dwellers). That is, until he meets Gemma, an orphaned, teen-aged Topsider who has come to Benthic Territory in search of her missing brother. Together, the two find more adventure than they bargained for as their search for Gemma’s brother brings with it action packed encounters with outlaws, a mysterious doctor, and unexepected deep sea powers.

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The author of this book is screenplay writer at Northwestern.  It is no surprise then, that this book reads like a movie script. Rarely does the reader have time to pause before the next action scene has begun and is played out. Again and again Ty and Gemma find themselves in tight situations and again and again they scrape by in a fascinating unexpected, incredulous matter. Still, the book was an okay read and I’m sure would be enjoyed by the budding sci-fi fan.

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  • Author: Kat Falls
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1st edition (May 1, 2010)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Reading Age: Ages 9 and up
  • Scholastic Interest Level: Grades 4-7
  • Scholastic AR Level: 4.3
  • Marketed toward Grades 6-9

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What You Need to Know

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  • Role Models/Authority Figures - Ty is part of a two-parent family and enjoys a stable home life. Life underwater is, in general, one of stability with a strong sense of community. Ty’s parents attempt to stop a group of vigilantes, pointing out that vigilante justice isn’t justice at all.
  • Violence/Scariness – The entire book is one action adventure movie. There are harpoon fights, daggers, and tension filled narrow escapes. Blood is found in a submarine. A man is pushed to his death.
  • Sexual Content - Mentions of Gemma’s “chest” as Ty pushes her against a wall. Ty stares at Gemma’s chest. Gemma asks Ty if he glows “everywhere”. Ty and Gemma kiss at the end.
  • Language – None.
  • Consumerism – None.
  • Drinking/Smoking/Drugs – The two teenagers sneak into a saloon where there is drinking and smoking, but they aren’t part of it.
  • Religion – Strong bend toward Global Warming. Even “Puritans” believe it was a form of God’s punishment. Suggestions that these Puritans believe that “girls should wear long dresses and practice obedience” in order to stop the [ocean] rising.”
  • Other – Ty disobeys and hides things from his parents repeatedly. Going to the underwater canyon when he is told not to, not telling them he followed at outlaw and was attacked, and he and Gemma sneak into a saloon. Gemma pick pockets. Moral Relativism is at its highest, however, when we discover the Seablite Gang (outlaws) are young men, escaped from an underwater boys reformatory where they had science experiments conducted on them. After they have had their vengeance, the gang does not reform. Ty feels sympathy for them, “If I’d been locked up in here, I’d be mad at the government too.”
  • Awards – A Junior Library Guild Selection

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