Camp Eden is trying to make campers feel like everything is just fine, but their 22nd century world ravaged by global warming lurks just beyond the BioDome with its radiation-blocking panels and artificial sky.
So how does average guy Owen find himself drowned on the first day of camp, yet alive and a super-swimmer soon after? Why does any visit to the camp infirmary – from sprained ankle to skin rash – involve a blood test? And that voice beckoning him toward the light deep in the lake…an ancient prophecy? Can the legend of Atlantis be real? Is Lilly part of the prophecy, too?
I met author Kevin Emerson at KidLitCon in Seattle last September, shortly after this book was headed to his publisher, so I was pleased to see its “book birthday” scheduled for May 22 and truly enjoyed reading Owen’s adventures in a solar-scorched future with a mystery that ties him to the distant past.
Book info: The Lost Code (The Atlanteans book 1) / Kevin Emerson. Katherine Tegen Books, 2012. [author’s website] [publisher site] Review copy courtesy of the author; cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My Book Talk: Drowning on the first day of summer camp was not on Owen’s agenda. He hadn’t planned on being underwater for ten minutes and getting cuts on his neck, either. Or being bullied by his bunkmates or hearing voices call him underwater or kissing a girl or being chased by terrorists…
Owen felt strange at Camp Eden, being outside under the huge BioDome with a real lake and trees instead of safely inside the caves of Yellowstone Hub with his dad. Could those TruSky panels really protect campers from the massive solar radiation blasting Earth since the ozone layer had vanished? Better safe than sorry, they slather on NoRad lotion for all daylight activities.
Failing the swim test was bad, but the itchy wounds on his neck are even worse. Dr. Maria said not to get them wet, but a shower makes the pain stop. Cute lifeguard Lilly told Owen to go with any strange urges he has near the lake, so a night swim with the counselors-in-training sounds great – and he’s suddenly in his element, swimming and diving deep using his new gills. During the daytime, the thick NoRad lotion disguises their necks, and every night the CITs and Owen explore the lake’s depths – and sometimes the voice calls him toward an azure light.
Long-time camper Leech bullies everyone in their cabin, goes fishing with the camp director, and generally is obnoxious. He knows the secret trails in the camp forest and cheats during team challenges. Does he suspect that Owen isn’t just a skinny kid from the Hub anymore?
Touring the Eagle Eye Observatory which watches over the 200,000 inhabitants of EdenWest Dome, wondering if Dr. Maria knows more than she’s telling him about why he survived so long underwater, trying to stay away from Leech while he listens for the lake voice – Owen’s summer is turning out to be no picnic.
Why does the voice tell him of a prophecy?
Can there really be people who live and survive outside the Dome?
Is the camp director friend or enemy?
Can Owen trust the visions about the future of his world and the Atlantis of its past?
First in a series, finding The Lost Code could be the secret that rescues humanity from itself or the final step in sealing their fate. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)