This is another young adult novel. The setting is the US in the future stretching from the mid-west up to the Canadian border and over to the Eastern sea-board. The polar ice caps have melted, aquifers have been poisoned by man or seawater and fresh water is at a premium.
The very few control the water and who gets it. The general public is kept in a sort of slave state by being fed a steady diet of propaganda and bad water that keeps them alive for a time but kills them before they grow old.
A young girl meets a boy who doesn't seem to believe in the propaganda. He doesn't have to go to school and learn about weather, water and the war over the water. He is rich. He has a gasoline powered car and body guards and fresh, clean water - lots of it.
The girl and her brother become friends with this strange boy. When he disappears, they decide they must rescue him. They head out on a great adventure full of danger as well as knowledge of the truth of the world and who controls it and how.
This was a pretty good book although the environmental message felt like it was being crammed down my throat. I keep looking for a book that gives us that great environmental message without feeling like it's so obvious. Being young adult fiction, the heroes are inevitably teen-agers. This time, at least, they are aided by a couple of unlikely adults along the way.
Perhaps it's because I have been reading so many books that are part of a series, but this book (as well as other non-series books) have felt like they ended a little too quickly and neatly. It's the feeling I get with some foreign films where it just ends and you think "they must have run out of money and decided to just end it there." It felt like the author said, "I'm almost out of paper and I don't want to have to run to the store for more so I'll just wrap it up in the next 10 pages."