Project F

Project F
Age Range
Release Date
October 10, 2023
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There are no cars, planes, television, or smart phones. Climate change wreaked havoc on Earth hundreds of years ago, and now people live a simpler life.

Then thirteen-year-old Keith uncovers a secret. It’s a mysterious mission known only as Project F. It’s advanced, it’s scientific, and it’s going to change the world. It’s exactly the kind of adventure Keith has always longed to be a part of.

And what is adventure without a little danger, right? But how much danger is Keith willing to risk? For himself? For his family? For his community? For the entire world…?

Jeanne DuPrau's The City of Ember was an instant hit when it arrived on bookshelves. It has become a modern classic beloved by readers selling hundreds of thousands of copies a year! In her latest novel, she explores timely questions about the Earth and our use of its resources. A bold novel, Project F asks how much you are willing to risk to save the future.

Editor review

1 review
Those who fail to learn from the past...
(Updated: September 13, 2023)
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
What worked:
The author creates a novel vision of a future world that follows an environmental crisis on Earth. Coal apparently has the worst reputation of all energy sources as no one would dare use it today. Electricity is one common thread between past and present as it was deemed too important for the survival of humanity. The plot has the feel of a society wiped out and starting over with bits of saved technology thrown in. It’s interesting to see what inventions are kept from life centuries before. The characters travel by steam engine because it’s the fastest form of transportation but they use horse-drawn carriages around town. However, they have electric lights and use telephones to make calls across the country. Characters have vague impressions of the previous world without any specific examples.
Keith is the main character and he has an insatiable taste for adventure. Before a train ride across the country, he tells his father he won’t get involved in anything that’s not his business but that’s not Keith’s personality. It won’t surprise anyone when he doesn’t turn a lost bag into lost and found and decides to track down the owner on his own. He ends up in the middle of an exciting opportunity even though he has doubts about whether it’s legal. Even worse, he drags his six-year-old cousin Lulu into it and makes her promise to keep a secret. Lulu’s already dealing with the sudden death of her parents so withholding the truth from others and telling small lies creates an emotional dilemma.
The message underscoring the story concerns environmental issues and how they may ultimately make Earth uninhabitable. Characters in the story don’t typically experience the negative effects of pollution and the callous treatment people have toward flora and fauna. However, they’ve been taught horror stories of how animals, plants, and resources were eliminated to critical levels. The sensitivity to nature is exemplified when a group of girls are appalled that another girl kills a butterfly for no reason. It’s just a bug, right? The new laws don’t allow humans to do anything that might harm wildlife. The book’s conflict emerges when readers discover some characters have a radically different and dangerous outlook on their future.
What didn’t work as well:
The revelation of Project F is a bit anticlimactic but the energy source is what’s significant. The plot and characters could be more developed and some parts of the story feel disjointed. A subplot involving a group of girls is related to the narrative but it feels like something totally separate. It doesn’t add much to the book.
The Final Verdict:
The book presents a dystopian view of a world that survived the environmental emergency we currently face. Keith and Lulu’s participation in Project F allows young readers to connect with the characters and generates important questions for consideration. Overall, this book is a quick read that will be enjoyed by lovers of nature and adventure.
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