Friday, March 18, 2016

Philbrick, Rodman. The Big Dark.

Philbrick, Rodman.  The Big Dark.  Blue Sky Press, imprint of Scholastic      2016  178p.  $17.99  ISBN 978-0-545-78975-2      elem/ms  Science fiction  VG-BN

One New Year’s Eve, the electricity in Charlie Cobb’s small town of Harmony, New Hampshire, suddenly goes out, and everyone is left without heat or electricity and must figure out how to cope.  Apparently the power outage has been caused by an electromagnetic pulse, and nothing can be done about it except for the town to survive as best it can through community effort and cooperation. In the midst of this crisis, one man, the school custodian, proves himself a natural leader, while another, a crazed militiaman with White supremacist ideas, takes it into his head to bully everyone in the town by stealing supplies, burning down the supermarket, wielding his rifle irresponsibly, and even attempting murder. Charlie has one main concern ... his mother, who is diabetic, is running out of medicine, and there is no easy way to find more for her. He must take matters into his own hands and try to find her the medicine she needs, even if it means cross-country skiing to a larger city thirty miles away.
In this gripping coming-of-age adventure, the reader gets to know the different kinds of people who make up a community, and all their strengths, weaknesses, and personalities. The result is a very satisfying read that points to the strength of community and love in the face of a dire ecological crisis.  Philbrick keeps the tension going until the very last page, and has a remarkable gift for bringing characters and situations to life and making the reader care about them. Recommended for older elementary and middle-school kids of both sexes.           

Summary: On New Year’s Eve a solar flare caused by an electromagnetic pulse causes all the electricity to go out, and Charlie and his family and neighbors must figure out how to survive without heat and electricity.  Meanwhile, a nasty neighbor uses the situation to try to take over the town. 

Science fiction, Electrical emergency-Fiction                     --Carol Kennedy

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