Friday, August 3, 2012

Armageddon Summer by Jane Yolen and Bruce Coville

I try to make my ratings predict the entertainment value for young readers, and I gave this book a rating of three out of five. Reverend Beelson predicts that God will set the world up in flames on July 27, but his Believers will be saved atop a mountain in Massachusetts. Jed and his father, and Marina's family, move to the camp where they prepare for armageddon. Jed seems to doubt that the prophecy will come true, but he stays at the camp to support his father. Marina believes in the power of God but doesn't understand how he can destroy the rest of the world. The camp is surrounded by an electric fence and armed guards, so the Believers can't leave and the rest of the world can't enter. Things get tense inside and outside the fence as the day of doom nears.

The book was well-written, but I'm not sure how many of my students are ready for the seriousness of this topic. Religion and God are a major focus of the plot, and God's destruction of the non-chosen humans is at the heart of the conflict. Those topics are pretty heavy for my sixth graders. The authors did a nice job of sharing Jed's and Miana's mixed emotions, and alternating their points of view in the chapters was effective. The book has an appropriate audience, but I'm not sure that it's my students.

The lexile level of this book from is 820

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