Seventeen-year-old Cardinal has escaped the virus that ravaged his town, leaving its victims alive but without their memories. He chooses to remain in the quarantined zone, caring for a group of orphaned kids in a mountain camp with the help of the former brutal school bully, now transformed by the virus into his best friend. But then a strong-willed and mysterious young woman appears, and the closed-off world Cardinal has created begins to crumble. A thrilling, fast-paced work of speculative fiction for teens, from a bestselling author, Black River Falls is an unforgettable story about survival, identity, and family.
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There's a lot going on in this dystopian adventure: survival with limited resources, family problems, mysterious characters with unexplained backgrounds. Like Hirsch's The Eleventh Plague and The Darkest Path, Black Rivers Falls gives us a character who is fighting not only against the horrors that have befallen his community, but against his own personal demons. His relationship with Greer, who was completely different before he lost his memory, is interesting, and the town librarian is a fascinating character as well as the key to many of Cardinal's problems.
Readers who like The Maze Runner, Garcia's Contaminated or Haddix's The Always War will find Black River Falls to be a compelling read that makes them question whether it is better to remember the past, even when it is fraught with problems, or to remember it and remain true to themselves.