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The Ward

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Sixteen-year-old Ren is a daredevil mobile racer who will risk everything to survive in the Ward, what remains of a water-logged Manhattan. To save her sister, who is suffering from a deadly illness thought to be caused by years of pollution, Ren accepts a secret mission from the government: to search for a freshwater source in the Ward, with the hope of it leading to a cure.

However, she never expects that her search will lead to dangerous encounters with a passionate young scientist; a web of deceit and lies; and an earth-shattering mystery that’s lurking deep beneath the water’s rippling surface.

Jordana Frankel’s ambitious debut novel and the first in a two-book series, The Ward is arresting, cinematic, and thrilling—perfect for fans of Scott Westerfeld or Ann Aguirre.

465 pages, Hardcover

First published April 30, 2013

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About the author

Jordana Frankel

3 books120 followers
Jordana Frankel is a Jersey native.

She's been a camp counselor, a salesperson of diamonds, a hostess at a southwestern grill, an archivist of rare books, a yoga instructor, and a reading teacher, but her shining moment was when she got to hang out in Walmart for 12 hours a day as the AXE girl.

She received her B.A. in English from Goucher College, graduated and then went to live in Italy for a year. Afterwards she then went for her MFA in Poetry at Hollins University.

But then she graduated and she moved back to NYC.

She got her first job at The Literary Group International as a literary agency, where she'd started as an intern reading queries and then assisted editorially. At Linn Prentis Literary, also a literary agency, she handled foreign sales, picked up gems from unsolicited mail, and helped authors through the publishing process. And then it was onto The Book Report Network where she handled ads and promos for features on Teenreads.com, Kidsreads.com, and GraphicNovelReporter.com.

Jordana is currently writing a (history textbook/)novel entitled THE WARD, forthcoming from KT Books/HarperCollins in 2013. She also teaches creative writing workshops for kids ages 8 to 18 through Writopia Lab, a non-profit organization based in New York City.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 298 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews293k followers
March 2, 2013

3 1/2 stars
Ever since I was about eight years old, I've had the same recurring nightmare that can be pretty much summed up by this picture:

Needless to say, over the years I have developed a rather intense fear of deep water, waves, the ocean in general and drowning. I know this latter fear is probably shared by all remotely sane human beings but I'm talking about an irrational fear of it. Basically, I tend to avoid watery situations altogether. Now, let's ask: what is good dystopian fiction? Is it not that which portrays nightmare futures which, even though not always realistic, are told convincingly enough that you can completely believe in it? The Ward is my nightmare future. The idea, for me, that dystopia = flooded world makes every bit of sense and manages to absolutely terrify me.

On top of my personal fears, The Ward is an addictive and exhilarating read which should appeal to fans of books like Legend and Divergent, but it will also satisfy readers who feel every dystopian release is exactly the same as the last. I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed this book, mostly because I had started reading with the question "how good can another dystopia be?" floating around in my mind. I think the novel's unique spin is down to the elements found more often in fantasy - something that may not appeal to readers who prefer more realistic dystopian worlds.

I think one of the most important feelings you have to capture in dystopian fiction - and many books neglect to - is that sense of frustration, despair and anger at the society the characters live in. The vast majority of this book's readers hail from countries that have strict legal systems, that are protected by a police force, that allow you to voice your concerns. In The Ward we are reminded just how lucky we are. The reader experiences the anger Ren feels at the Governor and the society in which she lives, we experience her frustration at being unable to help the ones she loves and, most importantly, we rally behind her when she plans to take on the big guys.

You might be wondering why a book I'm speaking so highly of got only three and half stars. In fact, the majority of this book deserves at least four if not higher. So it is with a great shuddering sigh that I have to talk - again - about the portrayal of female characters. I do not understand why this has to happen in nearly every single novel. But here we are again with a scenario where every female character is hot and evil except for the protagonist and her sister. The protagonist - Ren - sees herself as unattractive and often compares herself to these other hot girls, but the guys all want her anyway. The hot mean girls are, of course, sluts and the proud owners of some silicone: "her dress is less dress, more handkerchief. I bet Kent doesn't know that her breasts aren't naturally that gravity defying." I always find it strange that we're supposed to see the "plain" MC as the "nice girl" when she's being so bitchy about other women. If it wasn't for Ren's relationship with her sister, I might have seriously hated her.

The story's main focus is on Ren and her sister (who's not her biological sister but her closest friend); the latter is infected with the HBNC virus and depends completely on Ren for survival. Ren supports them both by racing and, on occasion, accepting secret missions from the government. However, an unexpected discovery pulls Ren into a situation she could never have anticipated. Suddenly she finds herself questioning everything and everyone. Who can she trust? How far is she willing to go to save Aven? And just who are the real "bad guys"?

The mobile racing is told excellently and also offers the opportunity to take a look at the sexism that faces women who perform male-dominated roles. I'd wondered if detailed descriptions of races would bore me, but the author keeps it fast-paced, dangerous and exciting enough that there's no time to be bored. Then again, the same could be said of the whole book. As well as the action scenes, Frankel also captures Ren and Aven's relationship perfectly. Ren's desperation to keep Aven alive and her despair over the possibility of losing the one person she truly loves is heartbreaking.

I personally think this is a great book overall. It isn't without faults but they matter less and less as the story progresses and Ren's choices become bigger and bigger. The more information that is revealed, the better it gets, in my opinion. Hopefully, the sequel will be just as good.
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,365 followers
April 21, 2013
Another one to bite the dust.

I haven't had the best of luck with dystopians lately. It may just be that I'm burnt out from them in general, though I'm likely just tired of the same formula in every single one. Sure this one had a slightly original premise with the world being in water etc, but it's unfortunate that this wasn't used in a more appealing way; except for a few words here and there about the world going to hell and high water, we don't get any explanation at all on how this world came about, nor how society lives besides being sick and the adoption process (which was kind of thin). I find it imperative in any dystopian to truly connect the reader to the alarming nature of its futuristic world. It's what I love about the genre; when done right, the future we see is plausible, making them frightening and its plot fascinating.

At first I was actually enjoying the book, the protagonist was one I really liked as she's strong and confident. I liked that she took care of her friend for so long, putting herself in danger to make sure they had enough money. After a while, however, she really got on my nerves and I'm not even sure I can pinpoint why. Her obsession with Derek became irritating, as well as her reaction and snide comments about his girl-who-is-just-a-friend (in her words). None of the characters really connected with me. Aside from Aven who I thought was a fun character--ironically with her sickness she's the one who gave the book the most life--none of the secondary roles had that great a personality, either. Most of them blended with one another; Ter, Kent, Benny... I couldn't tell you who's who.

The biggest issue I had with this book, though, was not the lack of world building or personality, it was with the inclusion of a fantastical/magical element in the plot. I was not expecting it, nor did I think it fit well with the rest of the story. It was turned from what could have been a great survival story into this chase for immortality. It was odd to say the least. I was quite enjoying it until this aspect was introduced so I do blame it for my breakup with this book. It wasn't a serious dystopian to me anymore. Maybe some readers will really enjoy this bout of folklore in it, but when not expecting it I could see it receiving adverse reactions as well, making this novel a possible hit or miss for many.

I also have to point this out because it did bug me throughout: it is possible to turn sea water into fresh drinkable water using a desalination process--you can find many do it at home instructions online. While I understand they don't have access to the internet anymore, they seem to be quite efficient technologically-wise--what with their Omnimobiles (land, sea, and air vehicles) and VEL tests to check for contagion--you'd think they would be able to use the ocean they live in to create drinkable water and squash this water shortage that is apparently a prominent problem. Although I'm no expert on desalination, maybe they couldn't get the materials needed, or maybe they do have a system in place and only the rich have access to it, but I think this is where the author comes short--she failed to convince me of the world I was brought into. I never felt the dangers encompassing it and I found myself incredibly bored, to be honest.

I don't think this was a terrible book. It has a really interesting setting with aspects that some will enjoy much more than I did, so I'm not going to say you should definitely pass on it, but I think it's best to read a few reviews to get a better idea of what you'll be getting into.

An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,161 followers
August 29, 2015
Wow, NYC under water? How did that happen?
We don't know.

Are there other cities/states that are underwater?
We don't know.

They have a fresh water shortage. Can't the federal government help, or is there still a federal government?
We don't know.

Why wasn't this unlivable/flooded city evacuated?
We don't know.

Okay, well can you at least give us more details on this disease, like when it began, whether it is a problem world-wide, how it is transmitted, etc...?

So, you want us to forget that any other place exists outside of New York City, believe in a killer disease with no information about it, and that there are gangs of teens who race boat-cars across the tops of famous buildings at night for kicks?
And, not only that, but that the only girl racer is suddenly going to save the world, meaning NYC of course, while racing her boat-car to find some magic fresh water that cures disease and is the fountain of youth?
Yes, is that a problem?.......Hello?
Please come back and read my book!
Profile Image for Dark Faerie Tales.
2,274 reviews546 followers
April 28, 2013
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales.

Quick & Dirty: A fantastic dystopian similar to Mad Max. On the search for fresh water, the main character discovers much more than the truth.

Opening Sentence: This is no ordinary flea-bitten day — not for me, it ain’t.

The Review:

When The Ward by Jordana Frankel was first brought to my attention, they told me it was about a dystopian society searching for freshwater. If you have read the synopsis, you might get the same message out of it. But let me tell you, it is so much more than that. I was excited to read The Ward, only for the promise of infinite possibilities where Frankel could have taken me. She not only exceeded my expectations, but she managed to make a lasting impression. Now let me tell you a little more about The Ward.

The beautiful cover gives you clues on what it’s about. A society, decaying each day by an incurable disease, thirsty for fresh water that is to be believed as nonexistent. A young girl, sixteen-year-old Ren is a racer. She defies gravity and is filled with bravado to race mobiles around the the most dangerous courses. She risks everything to survive in the Ward, not only for herself but for her adopted sister who is trying to survive the deadly illness. The illness is believed to be caused by years of pollution. It not only has affected the people but their surroundings. Fresh water is nonexistent, and the government has tapped Ren to scout for fresh water while on her races. But in search of fresh water, she discovers much more than just the truth. The big question is what will she do with it all once she has it in her grasp.

I loved Ren. Wait, in the beginning, I struggled a bit. I felt she was so disconnected and void of any human emotions. But I quickly realized it’s what she does to protect herself and her heart. She’s tough on the outside, but soft and vulnerable on the inside. She uses her confidence as a shield, never thinking about what it could mean or what it could sacrifice. I loved her for who she was and who she eventually became. In the moments behind the controls of her mobile, she is at peace. Adrenaline fuels her calm, and fear becomes her strength.

In this world that Frankel wrote, The Ward showcases the reality of depleting resources. Frankel writes an environment that isn’t pretty, where the poor only get poorer in sickness and never health. I found the world to be another character, and something that is an unstable variable of twists and turns. The Ward’s world lacks fresh water, something that the people yearn for and will only obtain dependent on your social status. Fresh water becomes the key to health and happiness, a symbol for so many things.

The plot is interesting, reminding me of details from Mad Max. A dystopian society on the cusp of death and decay because of lack of simple resources. But Frankel adds an element that turns it into a hint of fantasy. The culture that she introduces surprised me, and at first I wasn’t sure if it was good or not. As I continued reading the story, I grew more and more interested in this culture. It added a depth to The Ward that gratified my imagination.

As much as I loved The Ward, I did feel I didn’t connect to the story at times. Let me explain why, and only because my reading preferences may differ from yours and that my nuances may be your favorite things. It throws me off sometimes when the momentum of the story changes. What I thought was a simple dystopian suddenly changed to showcase a culture. While I did love this, it took me a while to love the idea. It threw me off, and I simply wasn’t expecting it. I enjoyed the hint of a love story, but I would have rather loved Ren as the badass that she began as. While I feel she deserves love, especially after you read more about her, I think she was strong enough on her own. She survived everything and anything, at that point, and I thought she would have survived without an interest.

But as I write this, I realize that all of these details that I laid out are what made me love the book. Frankel threw curves, wrote twists, and took turns that I didn’t expect. The Ward was outside of the norm, and I loved that.

I highly enjoyed Frankel’s The Ward. I think you will too!

Notable Scene:

My Rimbo’s nose slices into the water. Against the window, a great splash crashes. I remember too late that I should have tried to open it before going under.

Will the glass hold? Maybe I should have had it replaced . . . maybe it really is too old.

Right, I remind myself. Like I could have seen this coming.

Any moment now I bet it will crack directly over my head. Bust open, sending a dozen pointy daggers down on me.

For the briefest instant the tail nods against the surface, readying itself to sink. Then the nose and front wheel sucks slowly underwater.

My Rimbo isn’t airtight and so, within moments, water begins to flow through the unsealed spaces. I tug at the moonroof, trying to slide it open, but the water’s weight is too heavy. Nothing budges. My Hessians feel the leak first, poor things, and then my toes feel cold and wet.

The water is rising.

FTC Advisory: Katherine Tegan Books/Harper Collins provided me with a copy of The Ward. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
Profile Image for Andye.Reads.
843 reviews427 followers
April 29, 2013
At a Glance:

The Ward was a high adrenaline story that had all the elements that make you feel things in books. There were car races and chases, government conspiracies, cities covered in undrinkable water, loves that rival any I've read about, and huge surprise that completely changes what you thought this book was going to be. Though bits were confusing, overall I really enjoyed this book a lot.

The Audiobook:

This was one of the best audiobooks I've listened to in awhile. The reader Merritt Hicks does a flawless job of bringing all the characters to life. I love the slightly New Yorkish, tough-girl accent she had for Ren. It was perfect! Every character was distinct, none were cheesy, I honestly have no complaints. The emotions she brought to the book really made me enjoy it on another level, and even, at times, made it easier to navigate the confusing parts. I highly recommend this one on audio!

Let's Get the Negative Over With:

So, I'll start out with my only complaint. I found that I often had a hard time picturing the things that were happening, especially during the race scenes. Part of this is totally me. I'm not a visual person, and I can often go through a book without really needing to picture exactly what the setting is. This book was different. There was so much about the racing and the buildings and the water, that I really felt like I missed something big by not grasping it fully. What I really needed was a map. OR a movie! I seriously think this would make an awesome movie! This did somewhat pull me out of the story, but overall, it didn't ruin it for me.

Oh Ren!

Ren has to be one of my all-time favorite heroines. I seriously think she is the toughest girl I've read about. And for once, it wasn't because she just knew how to carry a gun/sword and slaughter people. She definitely knew how to takes some hits, though, that's for sure. I swear this girl got the crap kicked out of her every other moment, by people, by car crashes, or just by the elements, but she Would. Not. Stop. She lived fiercely, loved with every bone in her body, and fought like she had nothing to lose.....or maybe like she had everything to lose.


I know what you think I'm going to talk about right here. Romance and boys, boys and romance. Wrong :P This love I speak of is Ren's love for her (not technically) sister, Aven. I'm not sure I've ever read a character that I felt loved someone, and would do anything for this someone, that felt more real to me than in this book. Katniss and Prim? Who are they? They've got nothin' on the sisterly love Ren has goin' on. It was kind of awesome!

Okay! The Romance :D

Yes, of course I'll talk about the romance! I'm not sure I've had such conflicting feelings for a guy before. I loved him, I hated him, I didn't understand him, I was disappointed in him, I was surprised by him, I was let down by him, I admired him. So many feelings! But, I really like this. I like not knowing what to expect, always being suspicious, waiting to find out what's really going on. Oh, and am I the only one who had a little crush on Calem happening?

And then this happened:

There was so much going on in this book, then all of a sudden SOMETHING is revealed, and this changes the entire book. What is this book? I did not see that coming at all, but it added an element to the book that I actually really enjoyed. I've seen people saying that The Ward is a ripoff of Divergent. To me, that's like saying Leviathan is a ripoff of The Great Gatsby, just because they're set in the same basic time period. The Ward is seriously something completely different than any other post-apocalyptic book I've read, in so many ways.

Am I alone?

There seems to be quite a few people who didn't connect with this book. Often the world-building confusion was a big cause. But even though I struggled with some of that, I really did end up liking this book a lot. Of course, I'm a big fan of Waterworld too.......



Profanity: Mild*
Sexual Content: Mild
Violence: Moderate

For more details, check out The Ward on Parentalbookreviews.com
Profile Image for Ilana.
1,198 reviews14 followers
July 20, 2013

Jordana Frankel’s thrilling and imaginative YA dystopian novel The Ward is set in a near-future New York City. A catastrophic flood has washed out Manhattan, leaving the rivers polluted, and entire neighborhoods underwater. Some areas are quarantined because of an outbreak of a deadly disease.

The illness, known as the Blight, is killing sixteen-year-old Ren’s sister. Desperate to save her sister’s life, Ren agrees to lead a secret mission from the government to search for a cure. But her quest leads to a confounding mystery beneath the water and an unlikely friendship with a passionate scientist.

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed this story. I’m a sucker for all things Dystopian in nature and i love when stories are centered around NYC since that’s where i live. We’re taken to a point in history where there’s been a natural disaster of sorts – the ice caps have all melted and New York City has been virtually flooded. Much of the area is actually considered islands once again, and the skyscrapers that we know and love here now are under water by significant measures.Society is also dealing with an epidemic of sorts as well – the Blight which is a contagious virus that causes tumors to grow at rapid rates.

So at the beginning of the story, we’re introduced to Ren who’s just a Tween herself and in an orphanage because that’s the life that most kids have at this point. Their parents have died from the plague. Ren breaks out of the orphanage to try her hand at racing and this is where we’re then fast forwarded a few years. Ren is the only girl racer and quite amazing at it – she’s never lost. During the 3 years in the fast forward though, she was captured byt the governing body the DI or what not and in exchange for her life and freedom, she’s become a scout for them. See, in addition to illness and the flood, the people of New York have an issue with finding freshwater since the flooding has left everything disease ridden. People have to wait for freshwater rations and it’s a tough thing. So as a scout, Ren has to maintain nightly contact with the DI (and keep it a secret) that she’s searching for this freshwater.

One night at a race, she’s approached by someone who claims to be part of the DI and tells her to re-route her race course and go to a different area in the city that is supposed to have freshwater. Ren has no choice but to follow orders and almost kills herself in the process. What she finds there not only is freshwater, but the linkage to an even deeper story. there’s a connection to a long sought after ‘fountain of youth’ of sorts – a body of water with healing properties, and everyone wants a piece of it.

This story takes us on the journey that Ren then has moving forward. What to do with what she learns of this water, dealing with the people that know about it and that want at it….and those that she still has to keep in the dark for their own safety.

All in all, i really liked this story because it’s a different take on things – bringing back the dystopian that i love so much and a twist of mythology that everyone wants to believe is true. The way that this story is set up also allows for us to hope that there’s another installment and that this is just the beginning of a series
Profile Image for Christina.
3 reviews4 followers
April 24, 2013
4.5 stars

First off, thank you to the Firstreads giveaways for sending me this advance copy.

So, like many Goodreads frequenters, I always seem to come across those people who have received around seventy or so ARCs of books, and I have found myself becoming very jealous of them for getting to read books early. I now see that, upon receiving my first ARC, jealousy was a very reasonable response. This book was AMAZING.

Jordana Frankel's novel is a dystopia about a flooded Manhattan featuring Ren (aka Renata), our protagonist. Ren was an incredibly strong character. She wasn't afraid to do what had to be done, and yet she felt no shortness of guilt over her choices. She was confident without reaching the point of many YA book characters (brooding, sarcastic, seemingly horrible that generally have some sort of secret reason as to why), so she was able to be a kind character. Yes, she pushed people away, but throughout the book she also learned to let some of them in, and I loved her the whole time.

Frankel's other characters were excellently written, as well. I loved Aven, Ter, Benny, Callum, Derek , and even Kitaneh and Voss. Okay, I didn't actually like Kitaneh and Voss, but they were well written antagonists that actually caused me some confusion because they would have some sort of logical reasoning behind their actions that made you want to feel sorry for them, and then they'd go off and do something awful and you'd feel conflicted all over again. THAT is how to write villains.

The plot was fast-paced (but not overdone, which can get overwhelming if there is too much action), and it had such a unique voice. And the plot twists, the plot twists. I didn't see many of them coming, let me tell you. I know there was one point at one of the twists where I had to shut the book because I was so excited and yet I couldn't keep reading because I was so excited, if that makes any sense.

My only picky note is Ren's infatuation with Derek. Yes, I understand that it was actually majorly important for her to act that way around him in order to further the plot, but eventually it got on my nerves.

Go read it. Is it out yet? I don't actually know. Well, anyways, read it whenever it comes out, and can SOMEONE tell me when the sequel will be released (or have its existence acknowledge) because I don't think I can wait a whole year.
Profile Image for Johanna.
209 reviews8 followers
April 6, 2013
I really didn't expect much when I started reading this novel. I just saw some positive reviews around the blogosphere and wanted to read it soon. But hey, I liked it a lot! The Ward is an amazing piece of Young Adult Dystopian literature and I'd recommend it to everyone who's into this genre.

The novel is set somewhere around 2110. New York has been destroyed by the Wash Out. A meteor who collided with the Earth caused a global rise in sea level. Now, about 60 years afterwards, people still try to cope with this situation. Fresh water is a rare source. Due to a lack of hygiene, especiall in the poor quarters of the Ward, a cancer illness called the Blight is rapidly spreading. The Ward is part of the United Metro Islets, being the poorest part of it. The inhabitants of the rich West Isles look down on the sick people, considering them subhuman.

I liked the book because of this very unique setting. I love dystopians since I can read so many creative ideas of how our future could look like (well, mostly negative but still creative). It's not only a different version of the same pattern over and over again. I couldn't quite understand why Ren is ashamed of her task to search for freshwater sources. Isn't that an honorable mission, something worth to be supported by more people?

Renata Dane, short Ren, is the main protagonist and narrator of the story. She is very strong and rather rational than emotional. This is why it hit me in the guts when she her shell cracks and we see her strong love for her sister-of-choice Aven. She is a reckless girl, the only female among a crew of dragsters, and almost feels immortal due to her phenomenal healing abilities and her immunity to the Blight. Ren has a thing for her booker Derek, I really really liked the development of their relationship. It was very slow and natural, not too hasty, since there are some secrets yet to be revealed. So, Ren is strong and kind of distant, but there are a few people that she loves and she is fiercely loyal to them: Ben, her mechanic, and Ter, another childhood friend.

The Ward is a story of non-stop action. There was hardly a second to come up for some air, then the ride hurtles you off to another place. Heart breaking decisions have to be made and battles fought. Yet, sometimes the world Jordana Frankel painted was a bit too black-and-white for me. I can't believe that all people on the West Isle, for example, think of the infected as subhumans. There's always two sides of a coin and I don't like one-dimensional pictures. Maybe that will change in the sequel.

The Ward is the first in a two-novel-series. I'm very much looking forward to reading the second book and I can see how it'll need only one more book to end the story.
Profile Image for Ariana.
55 reviews9 followers
August 4, 2013
First book?
Pretty damn good for a first book!!
I was sooo excited when i found this book! An awesome female lead who's st rong, daring, and who's smart. And funny!
" Ten seconds. She says it so kindly. ladylike. Classy. Makes me think I'm headed for a ball, not a brick wall."
I love Aven, I love all the characters. And I love how it all feels so REAL. Nothing makes me think that these are stupid characters with only one personality. Everyone... everyone is a PERSON, complete with feelings and changes. I love that.
So many things to write about this book... i can't start. A little long, a little dragged out, but i think thats better than most books nowadays that just end it so neatly in a bow. Things just HAPPEN to happen, nothing is really fought for. I love this book in how it's not like that. "They look darker. Like the leather of my drowned Hessians. Yes, tey still look half-closed, but in an entirely new way. Very come-hither." I dont know why i love that line but i just do. :D I couldn't stop reading this book and I love it when that happens. It felt like a new dystopian novel, not like those other ones.
I'm still not entirely sure what happened in the end. i was reading so damn fast, practically skimming... and when i do that i hae no idea what happens. I was so excited... and plus i only had a few minutes to finish the book because i had to do something. So now i have to go over it again, but im looking forward to that! this says its the first book... SO THEREARE MORE!! YAY! SO EXCITED FOR THE OTHER ONES.
1)Amazing girl lead
2)Awesome side characters (Benny, Callum,,, Devin, i GUESS...)
3)Great cause (Aven)
4)And nice plot. And they HAVE a plot.
5)And, of course, the side romance- doesn't completley overshadow the book. I hate it when every page has SOMETHING about the boy who "captured her heart"... =.= thats really annoying.
So all in all, waiting for the next book, and ready to read the ending again!! SOMETHING good happened, want to find out WHAT. lol
Profile Image for Hannah.
490 reviews
Want to read
December 8, 2012
WHY WHY WHY WHY IS THIS COMING OUT IN APRIL?!!!!!! I hate these late review dates. NO. NO.

look at the cover you guys! It'S NEW YORK FREAKING NEW YORK.



Seriously? Get me an ARC and I will be your best friend forEVER.
Profile Image for Ashley.
667 reviews716 followers
January 28, 2013
BookNook — Young Adult book reviews

Overall, I thought The Ward was a really interesting and intriguing story. In some ways, it surprised me. The Ward has more of a fantasy spin than I originally anticipated. I think I expected a lot more realistic science; and while The Ward does have science in it, it's more rooted in fantasy (in my opinion). They do try to pass of the fantastical elements as science, but I didn't quite buy it. But whatever. It was still a good read!

This story is very much focused on Ren trying to save her sister (who isn't actually her sister, but pretty much is in every way except for blood). Ren's sister—Aven—is a victim of the terminal virus that's spreading throughout Manhattan. Ren is desperate to find a cure or some kind of miracle that can save Aven. I think the bond between Ren and Aven was super sweet. I almost wish we got to experience more of it. There is no shortage of Ren showing her dedication to her sister, but since her sister is sick and basically on her death bed, we don't see them interact that much.

The mobile racing aspect of The Ward was really interesting! I haven't read anything quite like it in any other book! It was certainly a cool and original take on futuristic sports! Some of the technical stuff kind of went over my head, but it was still fun to read about! I think the mobile racing complimented the rest of the book quite well, with the broken down Manhattan, the quarantined city, etc. It also definitely does make the book 'cinematic'. I think this would by far be the coolest part of the book to see on the big screen!

Some people will definitely be refreshed by the lack of romance in The Ward. It isn't completely non-existent, but it almost is. There is an inkling of a romance with one character—Derek—but it is so far from the focal point of the story. This romance is like.. a subplot of a subplot. It is kind of an interesting, complicated relationship for sure! I really loved watching Ren gawk over Derek because that's the one time where she really loses her composure. Her inner dialogue during those scenes was pretty funny! I'm inclined to think that the second book might have more romance in it, and I'm really curious to see how it progresses!

I think the place where The Ward could use some work is in the world building. I think I got a pretty good picture of the world Ren lives in, but I never got a clear picture of how that world came to exist. I was most interested in the Wash Out (the event that cause Manhattan to become water-logged) and the virus currently making its way through Manhattan.. but we never get much information about any of those. We only get one tiny tid-bit describing the Wash Out, and it's pretty vague:

March's meteor collided with the Antarctic's Pine Island Glacier, and high-temperature gases were released, causing a global rise in sea level

That's the only explanation of the Wash Out we get. I think I was expecting more of the book to be focused on what the heck happened to Manhattan, but at the end of the day, it's a pretty small piece of the story. And as for the virus, that's also really vague. We never really find out where exactly it came from. We just know that it's there and that there's no cure. I personally really eat up the background information in sci-fi dystopians, and unfortunately The Ward didn't have much of it. Also, we never really find out why Ren is immune to the virus, and even she never seems to question it. Hopefully this will be expanded upon in book two because that seems like a pretty huge deal, but no one gives it much thought! There's also one other area that lacked details, but it's a little spoiler-esque, so I won't go into it!

Overall, I liked The Ward . Was I blown away by it? Not really. But I do think it's worth reading and some elements of the plot will definitely surprise you!
Profile Image for Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews).
1,695 reviews874 followers
April 9, 2013
Read This Review & More Like It On My Blog!

3.5 out of 5

The Ward was a fun read. It was a breath of fresh air in the post-apoc/dystopia genre that seems to retread and reuse the same ideas and themes over and over again. Catastrophes hitting the US with dire consequences are not uncommon, but the "Wash Out" event that left New York and Jersey underwater is. This is a fun, fast-paced, fresh and creative; Jordana Frankel has hit the ground running with her debut novel. Full of adventure, intrigue, and even a bit of mythology, Frankel takes her readers to a waterlogged and dangerous futuristic New York. I had a good time reading this from start to finish. For the first time in a long time, The Ward manages to be a post-apocalyptic scenario, that if imperfect, still manages to be both believable enough and entertaining.

Ren is a mostly likeable, but flawed main character. Her story isn't too original for a post-apocalyptic set-up - a withdrawn and angry orphan with a chip on her shoulder and a dependent- but she grows and develops into more than a cliche early on in the book. Ren is a woman in a man's world in her sport of choice, and that just made me like her more. She's unafraid to do what she wants and how she wants, though the sexism she faces almost constantly in racing can be dispiriting as a female reader who enjoys typically-male sports. Either way, Ren carries the novel, for the most part ably, until the narrative works its way around to her romantic entanglements. I had the most issues with the way both plotlines about the boys involved were setup and executed.

Let me just say, I'm so, so tired of love triangles. In any genre they muck up an otherwise good book, but they are at their worse in the young adult field. They're just overwrought and always obnoxious, and often, just lazy writing and plot points. Thankfully, it's not as overt as it could have been here in The Ward, but believe me, my love-triangle senses started tingling as soon as the character of Callum is introduced. It doesn't help that the other love interest, Derek, does nothing worth making him desirable. I couldn't root for either character for two reasons: 1. I didn't care about them individually, and thus, even less so for Ren and 2. I liked Ren best on her own, without needless attractions to mysterious boys.

The Ward may not have had me thinking over deep messages and overarching themes after I finished, but it was pure entertainment for the day it took me to inhale. Frankel sucks you in with the few few chapters and you don't want to leave until it's all over and the race is won. The worldbuilding detailed through the book is minimal and, yes, honestly it could with some strengthening and expansion, but it didn't doesn't detract too much from the overall experience. There are moments of greatness to be found in The Ward - the ambiguity of the antagonists, the creation of the awesome omnimobiles, and the unexpected (and somewhat off the wall) twists and revelations - but sexism, the trite love triangle, and incomplete worldbuilding can cause it to falter.

The Ward isn't going to please all those who try to read it. It's more post-apocalyptic than dystopia, though a few elements of the later pop up throughout the narrative. Some readers won't be able to excuse the unnecessary romance, or the lack of clear worldbuilding, and that's totally okay. It's completely understandable, even. I've picked apart other novels for just those reasons. This isn't a book for everyone. It's a thrill ride, coasting along on the strengths of a complicated main character in an oppressed and dangerous waterworld. (Now try not to think about that awful Kevin Costner movie. You're welcome.) I was undecided on a rating right after finishing, still caught up in the tension of the climax, but after a few days I can see the book's faults more clearly. That doesn't mean I didn't like this book - I liked it very much. It just could have been slightly better. As it is, I had a great time reading it. I would definitely recommend this to a friend - but maybe suggest they borrow it from the library, if not buy it.
Profile Image for Tamara.
407 reviews24 followers
August 1, 2015
3.5 Stars

This was hard to star. I couldn't decide between 3 stars or 4 stars. Normally when I give a half star to a book, I would round up. But I just didn't feel like The Ward deserved the 4 stars, even though it was actually receiving 3.5. But I came down to giving it 4. I wanted to stick to my rules of rating.

So the The Ward was actually really good. Ren was the hero of the book, saving the world from a deadly disease, yet along the way, she has her heart shattered and mended quiet a few times.

However, Ren is one of the tough girls living in a segregated, water depleted world. She's the only girl in the races, and if that was not enough to create friction between her and her competitors, she has not lost a race in all of her three years competing. But all victories come to an end.

With the desire and need to find a cure, from having the special blood, to finding the life changing water, Ren is on the hunt and run to save the person cannot give up on.

Profile Image for Sapir.
121 reviews
April 23, 2013
For this review and more, visit my blog: Diary of a Wimpy Teen Girl

This book was very good and enjoyable but I had some major issues with it that I just can't ignore.

Well... Let's start with the good things. First of all, I think that Ren was a fantastic main character. She was exactly how I like female main characters to be - strong and kick-ass. She didn't need anyone to save her. The opposite - she saved everybody eventually...
Ren didn't have any friends who are girls. She was surrounded by guys all the time who kept underestimating her abilities. I think that she has managed to prove them once and for all that girls are just as strong and brave as guys are! I really adore her for that.

I also liked how she never gave up. Once she had a goal, she didn't let anything stop her from achieving it. In this book, Ren went on a journey against all odds to save the entire population. She faced many troubles but never even thought of giving up.

One more thing I just loved about this book was the extremely fast-paced plot. Things happened all the time - races, fights, hot kisses... I didn't have time to relax before the next thrill came!! There were many plot twists.. Some of them were predictable, but other were totally shocking. Especially right before the end of the book... This kind of books are always pure fun for me. I always like to read about how the MC manages to escape deadly situations... I literally held my breath the whole book.

The romantic part was quite awesome, too. This book wasn't very romantic, there were only short descriptions of feelings here and there, but it was exactly enough. Drake and Ren fell in love with each other very slowly, and with the plot twists, it took me a long time to decide whether they can make a good couple or not. Drake was very sweet and at the end he made a great sacrifice for Ren that totally broke my heart...

The biggest issue I had with this book was the lack of world-building. I wish I could know more about Ren's world. All I got to know was that she lives in New York City and that most of the city is flooded. People are sick with a deadly, contagious plague and are dying slowly. I wanted to know how it all started. Why was everything flooded? When? It also felt like the author has forgotten about the rest of the world. What is going on in the world outside New York City? Why doesn't anyone from the outside help them? So many details were missing.. This book would've been ten times better if the author would explain the apocalypse that happened.

Some parts of the book felt very unrealistic. For example, the people suffered from a lack of fresh water. They used acidic rain water and were searching all the time for new water resources. The weird thing is that they were living in a FLOODED world. That means lots of water... There are many ways to make sea water drinkable!! I mean - they live in the FUTURE. They have cars that can fly, but they can't desalinate water? It didn't make sense at all. There were more unrealistic things, but I really can't talk about them without spoiling the book..

During the book, Ren is trying to save Aven, her best friend who is sick with the Blight. At the prologue, Aven is described as an annoying child that Ren has no intention of becoming friends with. But when the plot starts three year later, Aven and Ren are suddenly BFFs, almost like sisters, and Ren is willing to do ANYTHING to help Aven. It really didn't make any sense to me. I felt like I didn't care enough about Aven, probably because the annoying-little-girl image of her from the beginning was stuck in my head. This book would be much more realistic if I could understand how and why they Ren and Aven became se connected and why Ren loved Aven so much.

Overall, I liked this book a lot and I highly recommend it to fans of Divergent and other action-packed dystopians. It isn't very deep or life-changing, but it is a lot of fun! I will definitely read the sequel!!

A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Michelle.
839 reviews57 followers
April 26, 2013
Posted on Dark Faerie Tales.

When The Ward by Jordana Frankel was first brought to my attention, they told me it was about a dystopian society searching for freshwater. If you have read the synopsis, you might get the same message out of it. But let me tell you, it is so much more than that. I was excited to read The Ward, only for the promise of infinite possibilities where Frankel could have taken me. She not only exceeded my expectations, but she managed to make a lasting impression. Now let me tell you a little more about The Ward

The beautiful cover gives you clues on what it’s about. A society, decaying each day by an incurable disease, thirsty for fresh water that is to be believed as nonexistent. A young girl, sixteen-year-old Ren is a racer. She defies gravity and is filled with bravado to race mobiles around the the most dangerous courses. She risks everything to survive in the Ward, not only for herself but for her adopted sister who is trying to survive the deadly illness. The illness is believed to be caused by years of pollution. It not only has affected the people but their surroundings. Fresh water is nonexistent, and the government has tapped Ren to scout for fresh water while on her races. But in search of fresh water, she discovers much more than just the truth. The big question is what will she do with it all once she has it in her grasp.

I loved Ren. Wait, in the beginning, I struggled a bit. I felt she was so disconnected and void of any human emotions. But I quickly realized it’s what she does to protect herself and her heart. She’s tough on the outside, but soft and vulnerable on the inside. She uses her confidence as a shield, never thinking about what it could mean or what it could sacrifice. I loved her for who she was and who she eventually became. In the moments behind the controls of her mobile, she is at peace. Adrenaline fuels her calm, and fear becomes her strength.

In this world that Frankel wrote, The Ward showcases the reality of depleting resources. Frankel writes an environment that isn’t pretty, where the poor only get poorer in sickness and never health. I found the world to be another character, and something that is an unstable variable of twists and turns. The Ward’s world lacks fresh water, something that the people yearn for and will only obtain dependant on your social status. Fresh water becomes the key to health and happiness, a symbol for so many things.

The plot is interesting, reminding me of details from Mad Max. A dystopian society on the cusp of death and decay because of lack of simple resources. But Frankel adds an element that turns it into a hint of fantasy. The culture that she introduces surprised me, and at first I wasn’t sure if it was good or not. As I continued reading the story, I grew more and more interested into this culture. It added a depth to The Ward that gratified my imagination.

As much as I loved The Ward, I did feel I didn’t connect to the story at times. Let me explain why, and only because my reading preferences may differ from yours and that my nuances may be your favorite things. It throws me off sometimes when the momentum of the story changes. What I thought was a simple dystopian suddenly changed to showcase a culture. While I did love this, it took me a while to love the idea. It threw me off, and I simply wasn’t expecting it. I enjoyed the hint of a love story, but I would have rather loved Ren as the badass that she began as. While I feel she deserves love, especially after you read more about her, I think she was strong enough on her own. She survived everything and anything, at that point, and I thought she would have survived without an interest.

But as I write this, I realize that all of these details that I laid out are what made me love the book. Frankel threw curves, wrote twists, and took turns that I didn’t expect. The Ward was outside of the norm, and I loved that.

I highly enjoyed Frankel’s The Ward. I think you will too!
Profile Image for Lily (Night Owl Book Cafe).
554 reviews464 followers
May 7, 2013
I got this book from Katherine Tegen Books through Edelweiss in exchange of an honest review.

I have to admit, its been a while since I read a Dystopia book so I was really excited about this one. The cover gives you a glimpse of what the book is about, and I found it pretty (yup love my covers)

The story takes places in a futuristic New York City, after the Wash Out happened. It revolves around Ren, a female Mobil racer who becomes a sell out to the government after her sister (not biological) gets sick and she gets caught doing something illegal. So now in order to help save Aven, she does work for the government looking for 'fresh' water, when in turn, they are actually looking for something much bigger then that.

Like the other few books I had to do this one in what I liked and wasn't really sure about in this book.

What I enjoyed...

The world, even if it had some holes in it. I liked the setting, because it seemed plausible. I can imagine the ice caps melting and the places around the edges of the continent getting swallowed by water. I didn't understand just how much of the world is affected by this, because I don't remember it being mentioned.
The storyline, until a certain point was interesting. There are many people who are suffering from the Blight, which is an incurable and deadly disease that has spread through the years due to the pollution. Another plausible event in the book. The disease seems to be mostly contained in The Ward, which is the former downtown Manhattan and is a place were most of the poor and the homeless reside. So really, the government could care less about them, until the Blight starts to spread up towards places were people with money reside.
The book held up to its promise of being cinematic and thrilling. Really, it felt like it could have been a movie. The way it was written, it truly felt like I was reading one. It's action packed and doesn't stop rolling when things begin to happen. Thought a little slow at first, it does start to pick up and when it does it does not stop.
Some of the supporting characters, I liked Derek, Aven (Rens 'sister'), and I liked Benny. Because despite of Ren complaining that she doesn't have a family or anyone that acts like a mother and father, Benny fit the role of a dad pretty well.
Derek... because he believed in protecting what had the right to be protected. For a few good parts of the book I truly believed he was the most sane and realistic person around. Yes, I liked him even when he was doing everything he could to sabotage Ren, because at least he saw the bigger picture of what the water can do once the wrong people have their hands on it.

What I wasn't really sure of....

Ren. There was times she really annoyed me. No, downright made me angry. Her voice is immature and she just makes a bad decision after a bad decision. There were time I wanted to reach into the book and shake her. Really.... You can see things are going to go down the drain and that it will be a bad idea, the moment she starts to think. I couldn't feel sorry for her in the end. Her intentions were good, but her actions were not completely thought out which led to bad consequences and outcomes that made you go...well duh. I really wanted to bang my head to the wall at the end of the book, I was that frustrated. The moment she made her choice about something big, even if she took about two second to think about what the situation could really mean..... she still goes ahead and does it, without a back up plan. I cannot go into too much about this cause then it just becomes spoilers but yea...bad decision after bad decision. Oh gosh, and when she tries to get help from other racers, the ones that basically hate her guts and wish she would just crash and burn and expected things to go smoothly...like really?
Love triangles....you can see that one coming. Or is it a love square? Through most of the book she is infatuated with Derek, which was cute at the beginning but then as stuff unfolded became annoying.
The whole drinking water thing I didn't understand either. They are drinking rain water with saline in it. How is it that they can build cars that move under water, but not able to do something about filtering their water? Which leads to the whole plot of finding fresh water. I am not sure how I feel about the fact on what it really is...it was kind of a ...uh moment there for me. Not sure I liked it.
Sexism... We have female racers now, so why did it back-paddle in the future? Apparently Ren was the only female racer in this book and kept getting heat for it... yeah
Profile Image for Christianna Marks.
351 reviews64 followers
May 6, 2013
You can read this and many other reviews on my YA book blog The White Unicorn!

I have so many feelings about this book. I honestly didn't know what it was about going into it. I had heard a few good things floating around about it and the cover grabbed my attention, but I still had almost no clue when I opened the book about what I was going to read. But I loved what I got.

Jordana Frankel has created a new and interesting world for her dystopian novel. Taking a place that many people know (New York) and flooding it so that the Chrysler Building is no more than 7 stories tall. The people of Manhattan now occupy the non flooded levels of it's streets an have built on top of some of the now small sky scrappers. In most ways it's an underwater city. I thought that Frankel's bare boned descriptions of The Ward (formerly New York) were awesome. She gave you just enough to let your mind run as wild as you wanted with it, but still managed to create what she wanted to. I think that selfishly I was also glad because I have a fear of aquariums and if she would have over described things it would have made me feel more claustrophobic than I already did. The scenes in The Tank kinda freaked me out guys.

I felt like Ren was an extremely strong heroine and I loved getting to know her. She seemed hard at first and even though it was definitely one of her stand out personality traits, there was more to her than first meets the eyes. I could totally get behind her wanting to be one of the guys and even more behind her relationship with her sister. Both of those things showed us different sides of Ren. And then on top of it all she was a racer with mad skills and a ton of guts and a secret identity. She had a lot going on and yet somehow still managed to stay grounded. I also loved that she had a strong attachment to her footwear and those darn pennies!

The men in the novel were all written really well. Frankel wrote them realistically. Showing us their different personalities through their interactions with Ren. Sometimes the differences were slight, but they impacted the story and the forward movement of the plot. For instance when Ren hugs Ter and Callum there is a large difference. With Ter it is strictly a brother sister type thing, but there is sexual tension when she hugs Callum. Only a very gifted writer can create that feeling so seamlessly. Benny, Ter, Kent and the rest of the guys were awesome to get to know, even if I didn't like all of them.

Now for the other spotlight characters. I have to admit that I didn't really Derek after I was done reading the book. While I was reading I totally got why Ren would dig him, but after stepping back from it all, I saw that he managed to pull a fast one on me as well. In the end he's just a guy with million excuses as to why he "has" to do what he "has" to do. So, I like him for the fact that he made me like him even when I truly don't. He's a snake in the grass and if he doesn't get his stuff together in book two, I don't see myself falling into his charm again.

I don't know if there is actually something between Callum and Ren, but I really hope that there will be! I adore Callum to pieces and I think he's a great addition to the main plot. The guy has guts and smarts and fully trust Ren and everything that she is able to pull off. He never doubts her. I don't know if there will be a need for teams, but if so Callum gets my vote 100%.

And behind all the baddassery lies the main fact that this story is about what one sister will do for the other. It's got heart on top of all the epicness.

I have to give it to Jordana for also adding an element to the story that made if feel more like an Indiana Jones adventure than a dystopian novel at times! The magical things that start to transpire were a brilliant touch that I wasn't expecting!

All in all I have to say that I am a fan of Jordana Frankel's debut novel. It's full of mystery, adventure, romance, great family dynamics and real relationships all buried underwater. I can't wait to see what happens in book two. Grab this one on the 30th if this sounds like the book for you!

*book provided by publisher for honest review*
Profile Image for Kt.
798 reviews167 followers
April 30, 2013
Review originally posted on my blog: A Book Obsession..

As a mobile racer, Ren puts her life on the line each time she gets into her craft. But racing is the only way she has to make money she needs to take care of her dying sister. The seawater covered Manhatten, known as the Ward, isn't exactly the most forgiving place. Fresh water is more precious than gold as they are completely dependent on rainwater for drinking. So when the government caught her doing something she shouldn't have, she quick to accept their offer to help them seek out a new source of freshwater. But she never could have predicted where her search would take her, and the secrets it would reveal. Suddenly there's so much more at stake than just water, and Ren will have some hard choices ahead of her, for the wrong ones could very well change the very fate of the world.

I loved Ren's character. She is so fierce and every emotion she goes through is so powerful that it's astonishing. I really felt like I was experiencing everything right along with her. I really felt for her determination to be the best racer despite the prejudice surrounding her as the only female in the running. Sure, she's got a bit of a chip on her shoulder, but she's more than proved her worth as a racer time and time again. And more importantly, she's racing to support her dying sister, who isn't a blood relative, but a chosen one, making Ren's love and determination to do whatever it takes to protect her rather incredible. Another thing that really impressed me was that while she had such a powerful crush on her love interest, once things started to be revealed, especially in the negative, she didn't let her judgement get clouded. She also wasn't blinded by those revelations and still kept her mind open to give him a chance to prove himself. Considering what was going, I felt this was impressive. That being said, in the overall scheme of things, the relationship really only played a very minor part, but even so, I felt it progressed realistically considering the circumstances.

I have to admit that if I wasn't such a character driven person, THE WARD probably wouldn't have been as enjoyable of a read for me as the world building is a bit lacking. I mean the world is incredible, and quite frankly terrifying. I've always had a fear of a giant tsunami wave coming barrelling into the East Coast, and movies like 2012, The Day After Tomorrow, Deep Impact, etc have practically scarred me for life. THE WARD shows life after such an event, and it's brutal. That being said, things just weren't quite developed enough for my tastes. I wanted to know more about everything that led them to these circumstances, and where the crazy virus came from, or why it wasn't consistent in its speed of "attack." I'm also surprised that there wasn't some sort of salt water filtration used instead of only relying on rainwater. I mean there's a method of boiling salt water with two pots that can be done at home that isn't complicated, just a bit time consuming. So it did make the plight of not having a lot of drinkable water a bit confusing. I also have to admit that the racing scenes were a bit much for me. I had a really hard time following them as I couldn't quite picture the logistics in my head despite the lengthy in-depth descriptions. After the third or fourth complicated maneuver I was left scratching my head as to what bloody position the craft was in at that point. It honestly was rather frustrating, and led me to start skimming those sections.

THE WARD is one of those books that solidly keeps your attention despite its flaws. The pacing was steady, and I found it hard to put it down even when I became a bit frustrated at parts. That being said, it could have gone from good to great in my book if there had of been a bit more explanation about the world behind the circumstances. All in all, THE WARD is an interesting post-apocalyptic-dystopian world that I would like to see more of.
Profile Image for usagi ☆ミ.
1,197 reviews277 followers
April 11, 2013
While not perfect, "The Ward" is full of badassery. You want some magical reality with that dystopian book? You got it. You want drag racing ON ROOFTOPS? You got it. You want plagues and a post-America and a crazy new Earth? You got it. You want all of the feels of a sisterly relationship? You got that, too. I'm pretty sure "The Ward" is going to have something that appeals to everyone - dystopian fans, magical reality/paranormal fans, and action fans all alike. At first I thought this one was going to be a standalone, and once I got to the end, that thought really depressed me. But apparently this is one of a duology with Ren, Aven, and the rest in a waterlogged post-America, and that made me really happy. Frankel, to you I take off my hat - this is quite the debut, and one I'd totally go see if it were a movie.

One of this book's largest strengths is its crossover appeal in terms of gendered readership. A LOT of YA is targeted toward girls, with very little crossover ability to get guys interested. Like, a handful of YA books or series can actually do that, and I think guys get left out a lot when it comes to YA lit in general. So much of it is a girl's ideal of what a guy is, not really guy YA from a guy's POV. I'm happy to say that this one will definitely appeal to the guys, if just for the non-stop action/tension and the drag racing. And the dystopian angle, which is played on pretty heavily only really within the latter half of the book.

But for those looking for a strong female MC? Ren is your girl. She puts up with so much, and struggles so hard to help everyone and save her sister, and manages to survive a system that goes against her socioeconomic place in this semi-post-American society, her place as a girl in racing, and her place as a foster kid within her own age group (though to be fair, because of the plague, there are a LOT of foster kids floating around - no pun intended - the ward). And it's not just Ren who's sturdily built - the entire main cast is. Even the most minor player in the main cast feels solid, real, and utterly 3D. They'll hold water. (I can't stop the water puns, guys, sorry.) They all have their own agendas at the end of the day, and the way Frankel makes them collide with Ren's agenda really makes this book that much more awesome. It's all about survival, and what you're willing to do in order to survive, and that will turn people into creatures you'd never imagined. Frankel captures that aspect of humanity pretty much spot on perfectly.

There's also the world. Because of Ren's constant struggle with pretty much everything in her life, you do get this sense of all-encompassing tension and strain that just never lets up, and the fact that one has to battle just for drinkable water really makes that hit home all the more. Everything in this world helps build it - the drag races, the washed out wards, the rich isles, the abandoned old Manahattan apartments filled with insane riches that no longer apply - it all works toward it. And then the characters build upon it even more - because one has to survive and fight for everything, that constant character-driven tension really helps prop up the world, too. Frankel did a great job here and frankly, is pretty impressive for a debut effort.

The only problem: the pacing. It was pretty uneven the first third and the bridge to the second third of the book, which really brought the enjoyment down for me. But once that second third got started, things really came together, and made sense, and flowed really well. I think that first third needed another smooth edit, but otherwise, yeah. Uneven pacing was all the difference between four and five stars.

Otherwise? This is definitely a debut you can't miss for 2013. "The Ward" will be out April 30, 2013 from HarperTeen in North America, so be sure to check it out then. Definitely one of the best of 2013 so far!

(posted to goodreads, shelfari, and birthofanewwitch.wordpress.com
Profile Image for Kevin.
175 reviews31 followers
May 6, 2013
3.5 stars

It has been far too long since I put on my old review shoes but it’s time to catch up! This epic catch up starts with The Ward! I have very mixed feelings with this book, which is yet another example of post-apocalyptic dystopia that left me wanting more. With that being said I still think there are a lot of good things about this one in particular as well!

The Ward is basically about Ren a mobile racer who races to support herself and her sister Aven. The world is based off the idea that Manhatten is basically flooded, and flooded with salt water at that, making finding and producing drinking water for the occupants of half the city very difficult. The government is basically non-existent (in terms of helping people) on the poor side of the city. They are only really there to enforce laws that aren’t necessarily fair. Ren to help support her sister, becomes a spy for the governs and is tasked with the job of finding a freshwater outlet for the government to make them more money I guess? It doesn’t appear they were too concerned with the public’s well-being throughout.

Ren makes a discovery that changes everything she thought she knew possible.

The Ward had two great things working for it. Firstly, was its action/race scenes that I honestly wish there were more of. The description after all starts by talking about Ren being a mobile dare driver racer. Little known fact, I love ANYTHING involving racing, total motor sports freak, so I was instantly excited to jump into this. I believe there were two MAYBE three incidents where Ren was actually involved in a race of some sort. I thought when they did happen they were awesome and unique. I mean, they were driving or soaring from building to building in water/land combined vehicles! I just wish the book focused more on this aspect, while reading I was hoping for more more more!

The second thing that I loved about this was the relationship between Ren and her sick sister Aven. You can tell throughout how much Ren truly cares and loves her sister. Not only is she putting their unit on her back with all of her jobs/activities, she is doing everything in her power to find a cure for Aven to get healthy. There’s scenes together were so heart-warming and not what you grow to expect from a dystopia.

My biggest problem with The Ward was not being able to fully visualize the world Ren lived in. I just either couldn’t fathom it, or the description was off, and when it came to some crucial scenes I was too busy trying to see what was going on than actually take note of what was going on. It just became an unwanted distraction for me.

This book also took a crazy turn. I thought it would be run of the mill survive and change the world dystopia, but there was one element that I won’t give away that changed that theory. It was just bizarre combination that I genuinely didn’t see coming. It actually changed the whole purpose and plot of the book as well, so it really was an important thing. I’m still not sure I feel about it. On one hand, it was unique and unexpected, but on the other hand it hurt my belief in the world and again I struggled to see what kind of book The Ward was actually trying to be.

With all that being said, I’ll probably be back for future book in the series, assuming there are and hopefully Frankel can use the momentum of the good ending to create another fun read.
Profile Image for Gabrielle.
5 reviews
June 7, 2013
Riveting, breathtaking, suspenseful, and unexpected. Jordana did an outstanding job in creating an imaginable world that you could only hope never happens.

After reading the summary of this, I was sure I knew what I was getting into. Wrong. The turn of events provided excitement and moments that make you catch your breadth. What you think is going to happen doesn't, but something better is always on the next page.

Ren, Aven, Derek, and the doctor were amazing. Their own bit of history, glimpses of who they are as people, allows you to really understand the story. Ren was by far my favorite, as she should be. Her love, compassion, decisions, and hardships make you realize the gravity of the situation.

I could not put this down. I didn't want it to end. This world and those characters leave you wanting for more. To find out more about Ren and Aven and their journey together.
Profile Image for Gisbelle.
770 reviews218 followers
July 17, 2014
Based on the cover and the synopsis, I'd expected it to be one of the best. Talking about a letdown! I didn't feel the connection with the characters. Heck I didn't even know anything about Ren, expect that she loved Aven like a sister and liked to race.

Besides, there should have been more descriptions on the world. There was next to nothing when it came to the detail given on what happened to the country.

The story moved too fast. Normally I would appropriate a fast-paced book, but this one was ridiculously fast. So fast that it felt like something was missing. I had no clue what made Ren and Aven became so close. And more detail on "The Race" would be great also.

This book is just not for me, so I don't think I will read the next installment.
Profile Image for Rachel.
6 reviews
August 19, 2013
HBNC floods the town with sick people, and an Orphan named Renata must set out to find a cure for her sister's growing tumor. Set in a decaying Manhattan, Renata must find the cure or lose everything...

This Novel was brilliantly written! I normally find something to pick on within the novels I read but I couldn't with this one! The pace was well set, the incorrect grammar put you in the mind of the character, -and it's not hard to get into at all. With Blood Red Road you have horrific grammar mistakes and it's hard to get into, such as "I ain't afeared a you!"- and I also loved the characters. I was so far into the book I stayed up until 1 a. m to finish it!Jordana Frankel did an amazing job and I can't wait to read more of her work!
62 reviews34 followers
April 27, 2013
If you're like me at all and feel compelled to finish a book once you've started it, don't start this one! As I sit here trying to decide what word best describes this story and writing, sloppy is what I come up with. I get what she was trying to do, but it just fell flat. There was something about the main character, Ren, that was annoying and you never really got to know any of the other characters that well. I felt compelled to finish this even though I was not enjoying it and then found myself chuckling in disbelief when I reached the end-Ren's journey will continue in a sequel.

Thanks to Katherine Tegen Books for access to this book through Edelweiss digital review.
Profile Image for Annabelle.
470 reviews917 followers
April 5, 2013
****FINAL RATING: 3.60 STARS****

I'd honestly barely heard anything about The Ward when I first received it, but it didn't take me very long to fall in love with the idea. And I definitely wasn't disappointed! The Ward certainly was not a perfect book, but it definitely had all the elements of a thriller that I adore. It brings new things to the table, and although at times it felt oddly cheesy or stereotypical, this didn't keep me from loving it immensely and rushing through it at breakneck speed.

I still think Ren is a guy name, but whatever. I guess I can over look that. She's a really strong and she really has a presence. At the same time, she's also very vulnerable but she hates to show it. She doesn't let anyone stand in her way, and she'll do anything to protect her sister, even if it goes against something she believes in. She's fiercely loyal. She also doesn't give her trust away easily at times, and at others she might be too willing to trust. She's a very flawed character, but also very real.

Callum is a mysterious character from the beginning, and it's really difficult to know what side he's on. Does he want to help Ren? Is her only looking out for himself? For the longest time, it's difficult to say. Still, it's obvious that he cares about Ren. He really does go out of his way for her, and although he doesn't always make the best choices I think he does try to do what's right. He has a lot of appeal, and he's not the most conventional character but definitely a very interesting one. I absolutely adore him.
Derek turned out to be way more complex than I first expected. As it turns out, even he is hiding something. One thing I never doubted, though, was how much he cared about Ren. He's really very sweet in his own way. He has definitely made a lot of bad choices, but I think he really tries to make up for him, he just doesn't entirely know how. He definitely still has a lot of issues to sort out but I do love him, so I'm hoping for the best for him.

The Ward is action-packed. Fast-paced. Honestly, it could really qualify as a thriller in a lot of ways.

Ren works for the hated government to get money she needs for her adopted sister's medicine. Then she runs into a mysterious young agent, saying he has some intel for her, and with the choice she makes because of that changes everything for her. Suddenly, the stakes are so much higher, and what Ren could lose becomes so much more precious. She doesn't know where to turn, who she can trust.

I loved the action-oriented plot. There was always something dangerous or thrilling or deliciously romantic going on, and I couldn't get enough of it. I literally could not put this book down because I needed to know what was going to happen next. So many times it took turns I didn't expect, and while I could often piece things together for myself I never got bored.

The world building was bait weak. I love Ren's world, but I wish it had been described better. A lot of the natural-type things that happened were just kind of put out there and never explained, which was just really frustrating. There were some things that I just could not accept at face value. The city itself isn't described in as much detail as I would have liked either.

Moreover, there are a ton of inconsistencies in this book. I really can't go into specifics without being spoilery, but believe me, there are. I remember that while I was reading it I took notes on them but eventually just gave up because there were so damn many. Hopefully at least some of them will be corrected in the final version.

There's a lot to love about this books, its fault being as they are. I loved this book. There was no way I could not love this book.

Callum. Derek. Callum. Derek. I am torn. I am so, so torn. I cannot remember being this torn up about a love triangle since like, well, ever. I usually don't have a difficult time choosing a team, but I just can't. I love them both so much, and choosing one of them just seems wrong. Can't she just end up with both of them? And lest you think I m joking, I am not. Anyway, there was no instalove, which was awesome. It's beautifully arranged triangle, and I loved the dynamic between all three of them. There's a large lack of trust, which makes the romance difficult, but there's also an undeniable connection that's difficult to break.

I always try to cut a bit of slack on debut novels, and this one is no exception. The writing is gorgeous, but Ren's voice is immature and difficult to relate to at times. The language also has a tendency to be way simplistic and actually hard to read because of that. The description always felt kind of off, and it just didn't seem to come across right. However, I also appreciate the personality in Ren's voice.

The ending was really, really good. It's also a really, really torturous cliffhanger. I was left breathless, needing to know what was going to happen next. But alas, no such luck in finding out until the next book. The pacing felt a bit off near the end and everything felt a bit oddly rushed, but other than that I think it was very skillfully pieced together. It's not entirely unexpected, but it also wasn't annoyingly predictable, so I'm happy.

I loved The Ward, despite its faults. It's the first in a duology, and you can bet I'll be picking up the next book eagerly. I can't wait! Something this action-packed and fantastic is sure to have an even more amazing second book. As to would I recommend this? Yes, yes, yes!! You're going to have to deal with some annoying inconsistencies, but if you can put up with them I really suggest you give this a shot.


Find more of my reviews on Sparkles and Lightning!
Profile Image for P.M..
1,229 reviews
May 4, 2020
Oh, my goodness! I am being deluged (pun intended) by pandemic books. This time it is the Blight. But our heroine is immune, (Lucky her!) Much of the world has also been flooded by the Big Wash Out. So Ren has an emergent career as a drag racer through New York City. She is also a spy for the Blues (the police) all the while trying to find a cure for her sister and to snag the love of her life. It was all right; I just didn't care for any of the characters. I will be glad when bookstores open again.
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