Dark Life is similar to City of Ember in many ways but at the same time different and original. Dark Life takes place in the future, under the sea which has expanded and covered much of the land due to global warming. The main character, Ty, has grown up under the sea, as his parents are scientists and pioneers. Ty loves it under the water and one day while exploring he finds a sub with a girl on it. Gemma is on a quest to find her brother and is a “Topsider” (lives on the little land remaining in very cramped housing) and together they search and encounter bad guys that are trying to rob and steal and perhaps even destroy the fragile community his parents have built. It’s interesting and a bit too fantastic at times (like I’m not sure why the outlaws attacked Ty’s neighbor’s house...doesn’t fit with their pattern and only served to cause drama?). Other than a couple pieces not quite fitting, it is a great read.
Grades 4-8 Caudill Nominee 2012