Scott, Victoria. Fire and Flood. Scholastic, 2014.
Tella Holloway’s brother, Cody, is very sick and dying. When, out of the blue, she gets a chance to try to save his life, she jumps at it. Against her parents’ wishes, she enters the Brimstone Bleed. The prize is The Cure—the remedy to save her brother’s life. To win, Tella will have to journey across a jungle, a desert, an ocean, and the mountains against other Contenders. There is only one prize, and she vows she will win it for Cody.
The Contenders’ only help comes from their Pandoras, genetically engineered animals with unique fantastical abilities. Tella’s Pandora, KD-8, which she names Madox, is a black fox with bright green eyes. He has the power to morph into other Pandoras and to read Tella’s thoughts.
As Tella bands together with other Contenders, she discovers that some Contenders are helpful and kind, while others are cutthroat and brutal. What Tella eventually discovers from Guy Chambers, another Contender, is that not everything is at it seems, and there is a reason for everything—especially in the Brimstone Bleed.
This book started out eerily similar to The Hunger Games, but ended up being something different entirely. Tella starts out as an average teenager, but grows and matures as the story develops. She becomes a stronger and more compassionate protagonist. Guy Chambers, Tella’s eventual love interest, is smart and well versed in survival techniques. However, he has a sweet, caring side that is “swoon-worthy” that will appeal to teen girls.
The mix between science fiction, romance, and adventure will attract both male and female readers. This book will be enjoyed by readers looking for a book similar to The Hunger Games and by those who enjoy a good survival story. The second book in the series, Salt and Stone, is expected to be released in March, 2014.
I recommend Fire and Flood for middle school, high school, and public libraries. I give it four out of five fleur de lis!