The Scavengers

The Scavengers
Age Range
Release Date
September 01, 2014
Buy This Book
Holes meets The City of Ember in this imaginative, captivating, and humorous middle grade novel from New York Times bestselling adult author Michael Perry. When the world started to fall apart, the government gave everyone two choices: move into the Bubble Cities...or take their chances outside. Twelve-year-old Maggie and her family chose the latter. They live in the world that was left behind. Deciding it’s time to grow up and grow tough, Maggie rechristens herself “Ford Falcon”—a name taken from the beat-up car she finds at a nearby junkyard. This is where Ford’s family goes to scavenge for things they can use and barter with. Thus far, they have been able to survive this brave new world by working together. But when Ford returns one day to discover her home ransacked and her family missing, she must find the strength to survive on her own and rescue her loved ones. This wholly original tween novel combines a page-turning adventure, heartfelt family story, and triumphant journey of self-discovery. With Scavengers, Michael Perry achieves the perfect mix of humor and heart in a world where one person’s junk is another person’s key to survival.

Editor review

1 review
A humorous dystopian adventure
(Updated: December 13, 2014)
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
THE SCAVENGERS is a humorous adventure set in a dystopian Midwest United States, where a girl named Maggie must rescue her family and friends from certain danger.

What I loved:

Maggie's realistically independent attitude. The girl wants so bad to be on her own, living by her own rules and making her own way in the world. But she is well aware that not only does she still need her family's support to survive - they need her help as well. This co-dependence of their family while Maggie can still be somewhat independent and strong-willed is really great.

The focus on the animals in the story was really cool. I often encounter young readers who want animal books, but are reading at a higher level than their peers. Having a lengthy middle grade novel to give them that has its own story and focus, but features a lot of animals and environmental themes is a great thing.

What I wanted less of:

The overwrought, overwritten, and complex language and writing. The word play was interesting at first, and it provided a fun and quirky alternative to the usual prose that young readers may find boring. However, it got to be simply a distraction from the plot and the character development. There is so much of the wordplay, pig latin, slang and made-up words that frankly if you took out half of it there would still be enough to make an impact. I think that young readers who are reading at a very high level for their age might find it interesting, but for the majority of middle grade readers it will simply make the story too challenging to follow.

The verdict: A unique, strangely written dystopia for middle grade readers. I would recommend it to funky kids who are into music from the 60s, who really love Mark Twain stories, and want something funny and adventurous. THE SCAVENGERS may also appeal to some adults who want a funny dystopia with a lot of environmental focus.
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