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By Julie Bertagna

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Format: Paperback, 352 pages
Published In: United Kingdom, 01 June 2003
A lyrical, sweeping, epic story of survival against the odds - from one of Britain's most exciting young writers. It is 2099 - and the world is gradually drowning, as mighty Arctic ice floes melt, the seas rise, and land disappears forever beneath storm-tossed waves. For 15-year-old Mara, her family and community, huddled on the fast-disappearing island of Wing, the new century brings flight. Packed into tiny boats, a terrifying journey begins to a bizarre city that rises into the sky, built on the drowned remains of the ancient city of Glasgow. But even here there is no safety and, shut out of the city, Mara realizes they are asylum-seekers in a world torn between high-tech wizardry and the most primitive injustice. To save her people, Mara must not only find a way into the city but also search for a new land and a new home...

About the Author

After an early career as a teacher and freelance feature writer for major Scottish newspapers, Julie Bertagna has quickly established a reputation as an author of powerful and original fiction for young people. EXODUS, her first novel for Macmillan, was shortlisted for the Whitbread Children's Book of the Year Award and won the Lancashire Children's Book of the Year Award and the Angus Award. THE OPPOSITE OF CHOCOLATE was shortlisted for the Book Trust Teenage Prize 2004. Julie lives in Glasgow with her husband and daughter.


Gr 9 Up-In this epic tale of global warming and environmental disaster set at the dawn of the next century, 15-year-old Mara has lived with the realization that the world is drowning. Growing up on Wing, she has watched her North Atlantic island become smaller each year, and people have long ago abandoned technology in their struggles to subsist. After a particularly bad ocean surge, another part of the village is lost. This spurs Mara to convince the villagers that they will have a chance at a new life in the Sky Cities, which she has located on the now-defunct version of the Internet. After a grueling journey, the refugees find themselves locked out of the city by a giant wall. As sickness and disease claim some of her people, Mara decides to find a way into the city to save them. Through the netherworld (under the city), the teen has encounters with the ratbashers (urchins) and the Treenesters. The Treenesters think that Mara is The Face in the Stone that will save them. Ecologically conscious teens will embrace this girl who is destined to save humanity.-June H. Keuhn, Corning East High School, NY Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

EAN: 9780330399081
ISBN: 033039908X
Publisher: Young Picador
Dimensions: 19.7 x 13 x 2.2 centimeters (0.24 kg)
Age Range: 10-14 years
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1 review(s)
All Reviews
Laraine Barker on
Mara's island home is slowly drowning beneath storm-tossed waves. As mighty icecaps melt, the Earth is losing its land to the ocean--and Mara knows she and her whole community will soon drown.
However, there may still be hope. For Mara's favourite occupation is visiting the Weave (a version of the World Wide Web) on her portable cyberwizz (an outdated piece of "virtual reality" type technology, powered by solar batteries) and there she sees something extraordinary--hints of a New World, rising from the sea and reaching into the sky, cities where desperate refugees can surely find safety.

In a frantic bid for survival, Mara and her friends set sail in the ultimate exodus. But Mara's quest will become something even greater--a journey into humanity's capacity for good and evil, and a heart-wrenching story of love and loss ...

"Intellectually rigorous and bursting with humanity, this is a book to read again and again," said the Sunday Herald.

What could I possibly add this? Exodus is a truly stunning book, an engrossing read for both young people and adults, and deserves to win many awards and become a top best-seller. Unfortunately, the latter is unlikely; it's seldom the best books that become best-sellers.

Warning: If sad stories tend to make you weep, keep plenty of tissues handy. Julie Bertagna tells her story without a hint of sentimentality, but its powerful simplicity is still bound to land some readers in tears.

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