Ruby dreams of leaving the Congregation and the cruel rule of slaver Darwin West and his Overseers. Each day is a struggle to collect precious water. The work is brutal. They still live as if it's 1812, the year they were all enslaved.
Ruby's mother leads the Congregation with hopes that their savior will come and deliver them. All Ruby sees though is endless work and brutality.
Then Ruby falls in love with Ford, a new Overseer, who's unlike anyone she's met before. She longs to run away with him and leave the Congregation behind. Guilt holds her back as it's her blood that makes the water so special. Without it, the Congregation will die.
This is a compelling dystopia tale of a girl and the struggles she goes through with her so-called calling and her desire to follow her heart. Ruby's trials are heartbreaking especially when she witnesses her mother's daily beatings by a cruel overlord.
I wanted Ruby to escape with Ford. I also thought the Congregation was selfish to make her feel she had to stay. Ford's character showed hope, something the whole Congregation longed for. I was curious though how the 'outside' world didn't know about the Congregation. That aspect of this tale had The Village by M. Night Shyamalan feel to it. Both have societies hidden by the modern world. Both have terrible secrets though in Drought I felt as if Ruby did end up making the choice on whether she should stay or follow her heart. Plus the characters in Drought are more fleshed out like how Ruby's own mother isn't exactly honest with her and the others.
Another Egmont winner!