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The Water Wars

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Welcome to a future where water is more precious than gold or oil—and worth killing for

Vera and her brother, Will, live in the shadow of the Great Panic, in a country that has collapsed from environmental catastrophe. Water is hoarded by governments, rivers are dammed, and clouds are sucked from the sky. But then Vera befriends Kai, who seems to have limitless access to fresh water. When Kai suddenly disappears, Vera and Will set off on a dangerous journey in search of him-pursued by pirates, a paramilitary group, and greedy corporations. Timely and eerily familiar, acclaimed author Cameron Stracher makes a stunning YA debut that's impossible to forget.

240 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2011

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About the author

Cameron Stracher

9 books85 followers
Cameron Stracher practices and teaches law. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal, among other publications. He lives in Westport, CT, with his wife, two children, and two dogs, not necessarily in that order.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 749 reviews
Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
November 4, 2019
i feel like this is a book that mistook its audience.it is like the not-as-good version of Ship Breaker. if it is supposed to be a cautionary tale for adults told in a briskly-paced "fantastic" atmosphere, it is just too raggedy. characters move forward from one illustrative peril to another, in some "parade of characters" set piece, each more unrealistic than the one before; there is no breathing room between episodes in the race to the top of mount crazy. and the whole goody-good good guys vs. mustachioed villains is too much like "what if avatar was a book??" ugh, gimmie some nuance. but at the same time, if it is for teens, the boring, didactic shit is going to put them right off, i guarantee. the characters are flat and insipid, and the action sequences are cartoonish. that's what's so weird about this book. the action parts read like they were intended for a much younger-than-teen audience,needing constant stimulation (LGM) to stay focused, but the preachy parts...well, here:

The steel steps glistened, but rust had already begun to wear through on the risers. Like everything else about Bluewater, the shiny surfaces hid corrosion and corruption. The entire edifice was a monument to ignorance. The truth was that butterflies could not disrupt an entire ecosystem simply by beating their wings. It took willful neglect and deliberate blindness, the refusal to see the obvious even as the land grew toxic before our eyes. But I still held out hope that we could change our ways.

gack city. this makes me want to go out and poison the water supply my damn self. with poison.

the whole thing just put me off, as i was alternately condescended to, as a reader, and distracted by new characters and locations every three pages or so. and i don't even want to talk about the ending. and you can't make me.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Alanna.
1 review
June 2, 2012
The best thing about this book is its cover (just LOOK at it; it's stunning!). Granted, the plot seemed promising, but everything else was a flop. The characters were paper-thin (either on the good side or the bad side), and all their relationships were predictable. The only interesting characters were either absent for the majority of the book or introduced in the last few chapters. When characters died, they just dropped off the pages. I didn't feel any sadness or triumph when they disappeared.

The most irritating thing about this book was the pacing. There wasn't enough time for me to connect with the main characters before the real story began (I didn't realize what the main character/Vera's name was until chapter seven-ish). Also, crucial (and sometimes pointless) explanations weren't given until the last minute. For example, when Vera and Will were running from pirates, the author decided to throw in some dogs. Unfortunately, we hadn't encountered dogs before in the story, so Stracher felt the need to explain how they were too expensive for people to own, unlike cats drank a lot of water and couldn't hunt their own food, were usually killed by coyotes (which by the way were one of the few other animals that still survived in the wild), and were still bred for certain purposes like hunting runaways. All that info was dumped upon the unsuspecting readers in the middle of a very suspenseful chase scene. Random bursts of information like that really threw me out of the story.

Furthermore, the events Will and Vera escaped from were incredibly unbelievable, especially since all the adults died when they didn't. I get the point that it is fiction, but it should still have some realistic elements.

Overall, if you want a book with a pretty cover, get The Water Wars. If you'd like a book with an interesting story to go with it, you might want to look somewhere else.
Profile Image for Breanne.
497 reviews10 followers
June 2, 2011
After 166 reviews, I haven't ever given anything one star. Until now.
And this is my favorite genre: it should have been easy to like.

Let me count the ways that this didn't work:
- Kai. Worst character ever. Not interesting. No personality. Bordering on rude and stupid. No depth. The biggest problem with this book was that the whole driving point of the plot was Kai. And I JUST DIDN'T CARE. Because he sucks.
- Will and other secondary characters. Will had a slight amount of personality that wasn't consistent and barely showed up. The others were so bland it was almost confusing sometimes why they even bothered doing the things they did.
- The plot. You're swept from one scene to the next, all supposed to be very exciting, but really it was just disjointed and preposterous. (Whew, glad we avoided drowning just now. Oh look, a guy is running up with a gun! Ahh!)
- The biggest annoyance was just that I didn't care about the main character Vera at all. She never did anything herself, she was just scared the whole time and was always saved by someone else. I'll admit her best quality was that she was determined to save Kai, but WHY???

I really wanted to put this down several times. But I read the whole thing just so I could give it a one star review that I really, really meant.
Profile Image for Brandy.
Author 2 books121 followers
August 24, 2011
The good news: I finished it! It's over!

The bad news: everything else.

Vera lives in a world without water: it rains very little, and humankind has wasted (and/or drunk up) all the fresh water. State boundaries have changed; the US is no longer 50 states but 8 territories. The Republic of Illinowa is struggling to get water, battling with the Republic of Minnesota, who in turn is warring with the Empire of Canada for the fresh water that remains.

Vera meets a new boy, Kai, who can somehow sniff out fresh water. (It's somehow implied that it's related to his diabetes, but that makes no sense. Except that's the implication, so.) Then he gets kidnapped, and even though she's known him for about a week, she insists that she and her brother launch a rescue mission. Which they do, and get themselves kidnapped by water pirates before ultimately needing to infiltrate the large-scale, only-for-profit desalination plant (that horribly pollutes everything and is only in it for the money).

Lots of things don't make sense. Lots of (il)logical leaps. Lots of infodumps. And really, incredibly boring. There was nothing to encourage me to pick this up again, so I'm not certain why I finished it, because blah. Flat characters and a bland, boring plot.
Profile Image for Christine Pakkala.
Author 12 books20 followers
January 25, 2016
I'm glad I didn't go with someone's review on this site because this is one of the best books I've read this winter. My family (60 + parents, younger teen brother) went to my uncle's house for Xmas and all of us read (and fought over) The Water Wars which was my advanced copy. It's funny because my Mom loved Stephane Meyers' books (ugh) and my brother loves those Philip Pullman (Sp?) books and my Dad reads James Patterson, but we all liked this book.

I'm always a little wary when a male author writes from a female perspective but Stracher pulled it off really well. The romance reminded me a bit of the romance in The City of Embers because it's just right for that age--not loaded with sex--but you don't want it to be. And Vera is lovely. I liked the way she saw the world. Page 100, for example. "The world was too large and complex to grasp. The intricate allegiances of governments and people seemed to flutter as unpredictably as that butterfly in the jet stream. I was just a girl trying to find my brother, my friend, and my way home." I believed her!

I think this is one of those books that would translate really well to film, btw. The baked dry landscape--the gaming center---even the dystopian characters like Torq and Ulysses would be amazing to see.

Give this book a chance. It's spare--don't go to it for epic length or flowery prose or tomes on each character. But the spareness suits the subject perfectly.
Profile Image for Addy S..
170 reviews61 followers
May 7, 2019
first off. can we get a round of applause for that COVER. perfection indeed. we need more covers as incredible as this one. :P

THIS BOOK. this is my second time reading The Water Wars, and i actually loved it even more. not only is it clean (besides some violence and literally one word: da*n), the characters were the most fun characters i've read about in a while. it isn't every day you read a book with a main character who has diabetes! (actually, i've never even read a fiction novel about a person with a health issue like that) the romance was also enjoyable, and didn't feature a love triangle. (YESSS!!!)

i think this book deserves a million stars.

excuse me while i go find a cup of water. i'm thirsty after reading this book. xD
1 review
June 7, 2011
I was initially drawn to Water Wars by the synopsis: a dystopian thriller, centered in a world oppressed by a corrupt government and a wicked draught. For a lover of apocalyptic stories, this book sounded like an absolute gem.

I was rather disappointed. Rather quickly.

Water Wars started off with the first encounter between the sixteen-year-old commoner Vera and mysterious Kai. While the tension between the two of them was interesting to a point, I seriously questioned the relationship between them. To be honest, there were a lot of little questions about the beginning of the book that were passed by—why is Kai standing where he was? Why did he decide to trust Vera and her brother, above all others? It seems kind of unfounded, in my opinion.

The action and suspense both were very stale to read. While the plot and idea behind it were interesting, it was difficult for me to connect with the action in the story. There was almost no suspense, no tension between the characters or between moves made. I blame this on the character reactions. When Vera is faced with a crisis, her inner monologue sounds worried—but her outward reactions are nonplussed. While she rarely makes any heroic moves, or acts even sort of strong, she seems to be unimpressed and incredibly calm about even the oddest things. These reactions are understated and unrealistic, especially for a girl who has never seen any real terror in her life. I didn’t like her character or her voice, and the writing seemed to be lacking something necessary to keep me attached to the book or the cast of characters. The secondary characters were flat and boring, and held little to no appeal. The character development was also basically nonexistent.

While there are many other points to hit on, the main fact is this: Water Wars boasts a lot more interest than it actually brings forward. The plot is filled with holes, and many points in the story are either over-accentuated or completely ignored, like the idea of the “river” first introduced by Kai. The battle fought throughout the book was weak and barely enough to keep my attention. For a book that was said to be “in the tradition of The Hunger Games”, this book falls wildly flat—for both plot and characters.
Profile Image for Stacy Mozer.
Author 2 books24 followers
June 6, 2010
If you liked Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Maze Runner, you'll love Water Wars. In a future where water is more precious then oil or gold, a brother and sister must face water pirates, guards, and government to save their friend and save themselves.
Profile Image for Chloe.
46 reviews
April 18, 2011
What a horrible book. Tons of wrongs and, uh, no rights.

First off, connecting emotionally is impossible. I blame it on the fact that the writing style is choppy and narrative and the main character has the personality of a pencil. Some of the supporting characters are interesting but unrealistic. We have Ulysses who is a water pirate but turns out to be nice, and rescues Vera and Will more than once. And then there's Sula who comes in towards the end. Sula has a nice mystery to her but her ethics seemed a little screwed up.

Will and Vera of course have a father that doesn't do anything to try to find them. And you'd think, considering Will and Vera's mother, his wife, is very ill, he'd be very protective - but that's not the case. When they finally return home there's no reaction by the father whatsoever. RELIEF? JOY? HAPPINESS? Nope. (And I realize the bad guys were there waiting for Will and Vera, who probably told their dad the story, but still.)

Other reviewers have said that it's weird that Will and Vera would go after a boy they only knew for a short while. You could argue that they know he knows where water is and their mother needs said water, but then you have to think that they aren't really in it for the friendship and just for the water. Not a great lesson, kids.

I found two mistakes as well. In the beginning it says how bad a cook their dad is, but then throughout they talk about missing his delicious food - Kai even comes to dinner one evening and remarks how good it is. Doesn't make sense. The other one was a giant plothole, but my memory escapes me.

There's other things I could say, but overall, don't bother.

(Reading through some others reviews I see that people rave of the fact that it has a good "conserve water" message. I can agree on that. However, it really could have been a beautiful book and even now in my head I'm thinking of things that could have made it better. Oh well.)

Profile Image for Jennifer.
939 reviews85 followers
December 31, 2010
The Water Wars has a frighteningly realistic premise that will speak to ecologically aware readers. This dystopian novel takes three teens on an adventure set in a world that has run out of water. The world barely survives but for a host of inventions and water gathering/treatment processes.

The world created in The Water Wars is clearly envisioned. You can feel the dryness and the thirst while reading this novel. The prospect of death by dehydration is clear and ever-present, creating a constant buzz of anxiousness and despair.

The focus on Vera, Will and their parents is interesting. Their mother's illness, their father's struggle to the family clothed and with enough water to survive and the teen's school life all add to the richness of the story and further the idea that the loss of access to water changes life immensely.

Vera's interest in Kai, the boy who seems to have all the water he could ask for, is understandable, but her father's acceptance of it is not. Kai seems obviously dangerous to be around, but her father encourages the friendship. When Kai is kidnapped, Vera and Will go after him with no plan and no supplies. This leads to an adventure that should have left them both dead at every turn.

The entire story hinges on Kai and the loyalty he invokes in Vera. She follows him blindly. She risks her life and the life of her brother to find him. He never seems to do anything to warrant the kind of devotion she acts out of.

The Water Wars is a fast and thrilling look at a dreadful future. At times less environmentally minded readers may feel suffocated by the heavy "save the Earth before it's too late" message embedded in the storyline. The Water Wars is an interesting twist on the dystopian theme, the success of which will depend on the mindset of the reader.
Profile Image for Isamlq.
1,578 reviews707 followers
February 16, 2011
Was he hoping to bury his main character under a whole lot of other characters? Wait, that’s harsh. Let me start from where I should have:

The context: In the future, the world will be one that’s parched. One where the one who has the water has the money and the power.

The players: Vera, Will and Kai. Honestly, they were underdeveloped. They went from one situation to another and each time a new character showed up. And like I said at first, was the author hoping to bury his main character under a whole lot of other characters?


1. The characters are not complete mindless cogs. Vera and Will ask questions. They have doubt, it is all this that starts the adventure.

2. Vera and Will’s world. His description of the world that Vera and Will live in is not that difficult to imagine. And if I am not mistaken it is the truth for a lot out there (I’m picturing the Philippines in summer… when it’s hot and dry and I’m at home with all the windows and doors open… hoping, whistling for a hint of wind to alleviate the stifling heat. )

3. There’s an environmental message under it all. (Although it tended toward preachy, I didn’t mind so much.)


1. The first 50 pages or so were slow, but after that it picked up… a lot. In fact, it was so fast paced that the characters had little chance to develop. And despite all the peril they faced, I found myself not caring.

2. The supporting cast and their relationship to Vera. From kidnapper to pseudo father, how did Ulysses accomplish that? Kai goes from mysterious stranger, to a friend, to boy friend. Susa… stranger then hero?

3. The heroine is not the heroine I normally go for. She isn’t as strong as others, nor as independent Let’s just say that Vera and her brother get rescued (a lot.)

4. The ending was rushed.
Profile Image for Savannah (Books With Bite).
1,399 reviews186 followers
May 13, 2011
This book really didn't grab my attention as much as I wanted it too. While the story was good, the plot failed to grab me. It reminded me very much of Drought, just a different scenario. The plot fighting over water seemed not as action packed. There was fighting and running around. There were also some extra elements in the book that I didn't see coming. Like how some people can smell fresh water? It seems like you are living in a normal world, but there are some people who can do extraordinary things that weren't really explained that well through out the story.

I really did enjoy the water pirates. If anything made send in the book they did. They roamed the earth, stealing water and blowing up water plants. I believe their cause for doing this was right. They only seems like pirates because they broke the governments law. I did also like how the world was ruled in the book. People were rationed to a certain amount of water. It all seemed to harsh on the characters.

The characters were great. I did feel like the love interest was push to fast. They spend a little time together and then, their in love. So not happening! I did like however that they did stick by each other and rescue each other. They prove to themselves very loyal in putting everything aside to help fight for what is right.
Profile Image for Camille Vandenbussche.
26 reviews1 follower
June 12, 2022
wasn’t exactly what i expected, but didn’t hate it at all. it was a bit unnecessarily long and i wouldn’t like reread it. but overall it was definitely not the worst story i’ve ever read. it was nice to read it once. i enjoyed it.
Profile Image for Kristy.
592 reviews87 followers
February 23, 2011
Considering this was compared to "The Hunger Games", I expected it to be better. This had such an interesting concept for a story, but the way it was told bored me. It made me become a skimmer. I just thought I would have been wowed, but I'm underwhelmed!

Vera: Sister to Will, adventerous and brave at times. It is her idea to save Kai. Our main character.
Will: Older Brother to Vera, competitive. Seems to have low self-confidence, always thinks they will not be able to do things. A realist. Pulls through when it counts. Curious, a question asker.

Kai: New "friend" to Vera and Will, and sort of a love interest for Vera. He is Kidnapped because of his ability to find water to tap into. Fun-loving and kind, a diabetic.

Ulysses: A water-pirate, but one who knows loss and compassion. A true friend. A hero. Starts out as a "bad guy", but ends up being one of their strongest allies in the quest to save Kai and his father.

Sula: a late character, but a strong one. Independent. Confident. Someone who will get things done. Someone to depend on.

Torq: On of the main bad guys. Greedy.

The back of this book makes me slightly angry... It says "Would you risk everything for someone you just met? What if he had a secret worth killing for?"

Okay, so I know that Vera and Will hadn't known Kai for very long-but the way the back is worded it seems like literaly they had Just met... I don't know why, but it bothers me!!!!
Also, the way things just seem to magically get better or a solution just appears right in front of their faces got old really quick. I'm sorry, but places with any kind of security these people would not have been able to do half of the "miracles" that happened to them! It was just to convienant for me.

Eh, read it if it interests you but I wouldn't expect anything amazing.
Profile Image for Mary.
235 reviews3 followers
January 8, 2021
This book was promising about a world where water is more precious than anything else and people are willing to kill for it. Unfortunately it did not meet my expectations.

First of all, I felt like the world the author created did not feel apocalyptic enough. It seemed like the characters shared food, drinks, and bought things far too easily. There were many good parts that made the world Vera lived in very realistic and scary but also many others that made the world seem...so...easy.

Second of all, it seemed kind of like the author wrote the book and then became kind of bored near the end to the point that I was struggling to believe things. ***SPOILER****

I just couldn’t believe it when the woman helped them at the end and suddenly she acts like she has known them the entire time. It seemed a little too lucky I guess.

**end of SPOILER****

But, there were also some things I really liked about the book.

The romance was sweet and completely clean. One of my favorite romances!

Also the relationship between Vera and her brother was also very sweet. Wish my brother would be like William is to Vera!!!!

I did not like Water Wars as much as other dystopians I have read like the Hunger Games or Divergent but it was still pretty good!

Profile Image for Lenore Appelhans.
Author 8 books685 followers
July 15, 2010
This is quite the adventure story, but there are definitely pretty open criticisms of the government & the way we waste resources.

Some colorful supporting characters enliven a plot that bounces the teens from one dangerous situation to the next with little breathing room.
Profile Image for Abbie.
1,976 reviews581 followers
March 28, 2016
A bit slow in places, and there were a couple of times where I felt a bit bored, but it was an okay read overall.
Profile Image for Celia Añó.
Author 41 books220 followers
August 22, 2020
Pillé este libro totalmente a ciegas tras verlo de oferta en una librería. No esperaba nada y lo cierto es que el inicio no está mal, así que tampoco puedo decir que me haya decepcionado. Mi problema empezó con la narración: es una primera persona tan lejana, aséptica y descriptiva, sin apenas emociones, que da la sensación de que todo es un cuento que la protagonista narra y nada de lo que ha ocurrido es real. Y todo lo que sucede es tan inverosímil que ha sido imposible tomármelo en serio.
Profile Image for Sabrina .
219 reviews126 followers
January 4, 2012
I really hate giving books 1 stars, especially when I feel they should deserve a big fat 0. I am so sorry, honestly, but I couldn't get into this book. The concept was interesting, enough to make me buy it during boxing day. And the cover art was nice but unfortunately, the rest of the book did not do justice.

The Plot (sorta)
It was interesting ... But at times (too many times) I was like, "What?" and followed by a chorus of, "Huh" and then all I could think was ...

Okay, so I didn't think about Chewbaka, but I did think that the author must have been off her hinges when she wrote some of this stuff

Seriously, it was all over the place. It is a quick read but short DOESN'T always mean sweet. The author skimmed over parts that could use more detail and the story's pace was just too fast.

What just happened? I don't know! The story is confusing me!!!!

Okay, I'll get to the actual storyline (but if you've been reading around, I think you already know). The Water Wars is about these 2 kids (annoying as hell by the way) and guess what? They live in a world without water. But don't worry, there's enough water to survive but just barely. It rains very little and the rest of the water has been wasted or drunk up. I'm sorry, but isn't there something called a water cycle? Just checking.

Anyways, the United States is now divided into 8 territories, each fighting for water (get it, the title). One of the kids, Vera, meets another boring kill-me-now character named Kai. And this kid, he's a freak, he can smell fresh water (which is somehow related to diabetes).

Blahblahblah, boring details, blahblahblah, frivolous rescue mission, blahblahblah, random WATER PIRATES, blahblahblah, a bunch of teenagers who think they can stop a plant (by plant, I mean industrial). And don't even get me started on that terrible ending.

Overall, the plot sucked. And what's a book without a good plot? Trash!

The Characters
Initially, I didn't think it was going to be too bad. My mistake.

First off, we have Vera. She seemed like a decent character, until Kai came in. Then we are introduced into a physcopathic freak who mustmustmust rescue the boy she only knew for a week, putting her and her brother's life in danger. Lovely, isn't she. And to make matters worse, she's like one of those damsels-in-distress. She NEEDS someone to rescue HER. I didn't like the main character at all.

Then Kai. I just can't - I wish I could - He's just so - NO! I HATED him!!!!! There's not enough exclamation points in the world to emphasis my hatred towards Kai. The author did not develop him enough, he was just, UGH! He had no personality, he was simply rude and stupid. Do you care for people who are rude and stupid? I know I don't. So why would the author focus the entire plot on HIM?! That alone made me think,

Excuse me for my language but seriously? Grrrrrrrr! Not to mention, his character has diabetes which is the reason he can detect water? I mean, what is this stuff

Finally, we have Will. He's dull and hardly even in this book. The other characters had no depth to them, no emotion. They had no motives, one could have died and no one would have cared.

Basically, the whole story revolvd around Kai and Vera. Kill me now. I don't think I can read another page with those two characters, I'd rather die than read more.

You see my point?

In All
Don't waste your time. I have no idea why I finished this, this, piece of ... shittle dittle (I totally ripped that off Justin Trudeau - swearing member of Canada parliment). And I do not swear so I hate this book for making me!!!!!

The characters were dull. Uncreated. Just, bad. The setting was interesting but of course, the details of this book was cut out. The writing was terrible, ideas jumped around and left the reader confused. The plot made me want to dig up a hole and cry.

I came in this book feeling good. And all I got was disappointment!
Profile Image for Irina Villacis.
562 reviews27 followers
December 23, 2019
me ha encantado el libro aunque ese final no me ha convencido del todo por eso 4 estrellas.
es un libro que narra una realidad ya existente en algunos paises y que sucedera de forma proxima. me siento nerviosa de este futuro. el libro va dirigido al publico de 11 o 12 años por eso le disculpó las pocas hojas o la forma de la narración y poca profundidad al asunto del gobierno como me hubiera gustado pero es excelente. me encanta.

leeré libros de este autor proximamente.

este libro lo he intentado leer desde el 2012 y este año lo acabé . me siento emocionada por eso.
Profile Image for Nely.
511 reviews53 followers
February 1, 2011
First off, let's start with the cover for this book... Amazing, right?! I helped pick it. [I took part in the poll that helped choose the cover ... so, you're quite welcome (brushes shoulders off)- haha]. Secondly, let's talk about the very seductive premise to this story. I mean we've seen all sorts of dystopian story lines as of late (i.e. zombies, war, lack of oil, even too much water), but this is the first story where I've read where it's the water that is scarce.

The world's inhabitants live in a parched world where you can literally feel their thirst. Imagine how important water is for even the minimalist things.... like a common cold for instance. Without water and being properly hydrated you can just imagine the complications your body might suffer. Well, that is the world that Vera and her brother Will live in. While waiting for her bus to school one day, Vera meets Kai. Kai, who isn't suffering from the same waterless existence as everyone else... who is driven to school in a limo, has bodyguards and lives in a very posh home. As their friendship grows, Vera and Kai begin to develop stronger feelings for one another. And then one day, Kai disappears. Vera and Will set off to find him and won't let anything stand in their way until they are reunited.

Mr. Stracher has phenomenal world-building skills. Not only was I enthralled by the world unfolding in the pages of The Water Wars but for some reason I kept getting up to get glass after glass of water. Reading of this waterless world made me dang thirsty the whole time I was reading it.

While I did find the world-building suspenseful and creative, I had a hard time liking the characters. Vera, our narrator, was not someone I could relate to. Sadly, she was not very memorable at all. It was like living the story through her eyes but not really getting the full emotions of it. Her friendship/relationship with Kye was brief, rushed and the ensuing adventure/danger, felt unwarranted after knowing someone for only a few short weeks. That's just my opinion though.

I also had a slight problem with the overall message of the story. Don't take me wrong, I'm all about "going green" and saving the planet, but I really don't like when this message comes across in a preachy/propaganda-ish manner. I also found it strange that Vera (the narrator) is a girl, when the book totally feels like a "boy" story to me (that may also be a boy on the cover)... hmmmm. I truly tried to enjoy this story, but it just didn't live up to my expectations.

All in all, this was a fast-paced story, full of adventure, danger, mystery and even some (very mild) romance. I honestly cannot say I would recommend this one since I felt the characters were too under-developed to be ignored, but if you can overlook that and just enjoy the action sequences, then you might want to check it out. For me, it just fell flat.
Profile Image for S.A. Larsen.
Author 8 books141 followers
February 17, 2011
I won't lie. I had a hard time with this story.

When I agree to do a book review, it's always with the intention of truly reading and reading into the story. I desire to examine the characters, setting, and flow so that I may give anyone reading my review an accurate view of the story. It is never my intention to put anyone's work down. This book is on the market, and the author deserve that credit.

At first glance of the cover, I was excited. It's totally smashing. And on the onset, I felt a connection with the setting. As desolate and frankly depressing as it was, I could see, feel, and smell it. That was the author's point and I heard it. But after a while the desolate world created felt bland and frankly boring. I tried desperately to get into the story. The characters helped a bit.

Vera, the main character, is bright and caring. And I liked the relationship built between her and her older brother, Will. I actually found Will's character very interesting and would have liked more of him at a deeper level. When Vera meets Kai, who I had thought was going to be a main player in the story, I was really hopeful. But after the first few chapters, he disappeared until the end. I kept thirsting to see him again, wondering how he and Vera would finally meld, but it never really happened. The vision created by Vera and Will's mother's illness and their father's sadness over it and having to bare all the financial and household responsibilities was good. But once again, I felt a bit of distance from this relationship, too.

The unexpected relationship between Vera and a character which would normally be perceived as a bad guy, the pirate, was my surprise. That was strong to me, and I appreciated the feeling Vera portrayed. I connected with her there.

The actual action in the book was good. The writer used clever gadgets and phrases to enhance his world-building. A monopoly feel between those controlling this world was present throughout the book, which made me think of struggles within corporate America. How certain demographics seem not to matter and others do. There were tragedies, which also added to the canvas painted.

Overall, I felt disconnected with the relationship between characters and their plight. Threading in a little more character growth would have most likely drawn me into caring about the world created and the characters a bit more deeply. Don't misunderstand me, though. The story definitely has merit, bringing to light a world we should hope never truly exists. It makes the reader think--which is always a positive--and be thankful for the world we still do have. Hopefully, even conjures the need to preserve our current world.

Those who enjoy YA dystopian and probably some sci-fi may enjoy this read.
Profile Image for Missy.
421 reviews81 followers
January 15, 2011
The Water Wars follows Vera, a teen living in the Republic of Illinowa, a region decimated by lack of rain, harvesters, and people snatching every ounce of water from the sky. Inland and in trouble, class differences are vast, and Vera and her brother Will are very little more than middle class. When she meets Kai, the beautiful blonde boy with a mysterious background and every stranger wealth, she finds a friend in the midst of her bone-dry life. But Kai mentions a river, hidden and coveted, and Vera and Will are determined to find it and quench their unending thirst. This dangerous goal sends them on a perilous journey of life and death because in a world without water, every drop is worth killing for.

I’ve been cover lusting after The Water Wars for months now, and when release day came, I couldn’t wait to get my paws on this one. Cameron Stracher has created an eerie dystopian world in which water is more valuable than oil or any other natural resource. Led by a government known as the Water Authority Bureau (WAB) that is rumoured to be corrupt, what’s left of what was once America is dry and desolate with pirates searching for water, a government providing synthetic food and poisonous ocean water, and families slowly withering away. The world of The Water Wars is beautifully dark and intricate, letting the reader into a world where we’ve wasted our most precious resource until the last drop.

I’ll admit, The Water Wars got off to a bit of a rocky start for me because there was a lot that Stracher was trying to introduce to the reader. The details of the Republics and Empires of the world, as well as the technology and government overshadowed some of the initial character development because I wanted to know who the heck Kai, Vera, and Will really were. Once the scene of The Water Wars was established though, the action propels forward, spiraling darker and darker and letting us see the true colours of the characters. With just a hint of romance and a true familial bond, I was very pleased with how The Water Wars progressed.

Overall, The Water Wars was a very good read with an incredibly powerful and poignant message for the reader. A fictional book about conservation and the need to store, rather than waste, or resources, The Water Wars is great for a younger generation. I give it a 4 out of 5, and I recommend The Water Wars for a YA audience, especially those who enjoy a hint of sci-fi and dystopian stories.
Profile Image for Lauren.
407 reviews606 followers
December 30, 2010
While The Water Wars has a unique dystopian concept, I felt it was poorly executed. The apocalyptic world that Cameron Stracher invented was lacking in solidity—it had no real background (all we’re told is that there was “a war”, with undertones of global warming and poor care of the environment). The characters hop from location to location, but none of the settings had much distinction from the other.

The characters of The Water Wars also fell flat, in my opinion. Vera’s narration was first-person, but after the story ended, I still felt as if I didn’t know her. She was just an eye through which the reader was supposed to observe the action. Likewise, Kai, the boy with water-finding powers, wasn’t interesting at all. He had only a few lines, and Vera knew him only for a little while before running off to risk her life to find him. I felt as if he should have been a much more compelling character to have others risk their lives for him.
The Water Wars felt a bit like a middle-grade novel in that most of the adult characters were kind of…dumb. Most of the adults Vera and her brother encountered on their adventures turned to the children for advice or help. While this sends a great message to kids (your opinions matter!), I felt it was extremely unrealistic, especially considering the pasts of these adult characters.

One thing The Water Wars did NOT lack was action. The book practically lives on action—the characters are quickly dropped into one scary situation after the next, and almost every chapter ended with a cliffhanger. All the action (fight scenes, chase scenes, things-blowing-up scenes) helps distract from the book’s weak points, but as a reader who loves some good character development, the action didn’t save The Water Wars from being a book that I disliked.

So, in all honesty, I cannot say that I’d recommend The Water Wars. The lack of development in both characters and the setting was too glaring for me to ignore. The action/adventure elements of the story were fun, but overall the novel fell flat for me.
Profile Image for heather - NightlyReading.
683 reviews92 followers
December 5, 2011
I love the look of this cover! The water aspect really screams out “read me”!

The whole premise of the earth running out of water was fascinating. I guess that I should say not running out of water, the oceans are still there. What they have actually run out of was drinking water. The most important!

Can you imagine not having any water to bathe with or even drink? Not to mention the fact that you cannot grow any vegetation and the plant life was nonexhistent. The ground was brittle and dry with no grass to be found.

I must say that my favorite part of the book was the relationship between Will and Vera. Being brother and sister, you tend to grate on each other’s nerves, but these two had a special relationship and really were each other’s best friend. They both welcomed Kai with open arms along with their father. Kai was exciting to them and they welcomed the company.

I enjoyed the characters that Vera & Will met on their adventure to rescue Kai. Sula was one tough chick and she would have to be my favorite. She was treated badly by the very people that were threatening their lives now and she was out for revenge!

The thought of the government controling our drinking water and our food rations is frightening! I thank Mr. Stracher for bringing the possibility to our attention and cross my fingers that it never comes to this!

“We’ve got trouble,” said Sula when she reviewed the instrument panel. “You want the good news or the bad news?”

“Give us the bad first,” said Ulysses

“Even if we hadn’t burned up most of our fuel in that dogfight, it seems we’ve punched a hole in the auxiliary tank.”

“And the good news?”

“There is no good news.”

Profile Image for Blodeuedd Finland.
3,438 reviews295 followers
January 12, 2011
Things have gone really bad in this book. The polar ice has melted and been harvested, dams have ben cut off, and rivers are dry. The world has been through wars and what once was the US is now a couple of smaller countries. Vera and her brothers live in Illionowa. They are normal kids, except for being thirsty all the time, eating bad food, and worrying about the future. But they still seem hopeful, and love to watch YouToo. Kai is a mystery kid that Vera meets. He keeps his secrets close, and I like him.

You will also meet a pirate (liked him too), bad people who blow up things, and hear tales about the evil Canadians..what?! Oh yes, Canadians are really really bad in this book. I found that really fun actually.

One thing though, these kids are way too lucky, but then again if they weren't lucky they would have been dead long ago during their little adventure. So I can deal with that, they are kids, it's a YA book, and there are some really bad people here. They need friends on their side and get out of situations more easily.

I liked the take on water in this book. Because it is a very likely scenario that plays out in this book. It could happen, it is also critical of the government and even of those trying to save the nature, the paramilitary group, everyone have something to gain, and the goals are not always in the best interest of the many.

The end is an end, but still there is an opening, for things to get better, or get really really bad.

Recommendation and final thoughts:

An easy YA book that gave you something to think about at the same time. I could see teens reading this one in school and discussing afterwards why things went bad, how to stop them, and different scenarios.
Profile Image for Kayla.
1,001 reviews65 followers
July 11, 2012
A stand-alone dystopian novel?! Is it possible that I found one? Yes! And it wasn't completely centered on romance. And it was completely gripping. And it was just really, really awesome.

Vera was a great character. She wasn't stupidly brave but she also wasn't afraid to stand up for her friends and what she believed in. Coming from almost nothing, she wants to make the world a better place. Whenever she has the opportunity to do so, she immediately takes it. I loved reading about her and Will. I wasn't entirely sure where the book was going when it started and was afraid it would take a turn for the boring. But then the action started and the siblings started out on a strange, dangerous adventure that had me flipping the pages, wanting to know what might happen to them next.

Though there is a romantic interest in this story, it isn't the main focus at all. Relationships between the family and bonds between friends are more prevelantly explored, which I thought was a nice change. I liked seeing how everyone was handling this tough, harsh world and what might happen to everyone in it. And the two found unexpected allies along the way, which was equally awesome.

I really like the world building, even if it's a place I'd never wanted to live in. Vera comments on the extravagance of the past and it's odd having my reality be her fantasy when she can't even get enough to drink. They're all slowly dying and there's nothing that they can do about it, if they're not one of the few rich people who have their own private supplies.

I'd recommend this book to just about anyone. It was a quick and great read that I'll definitely keeping rereading. The characters were awesome, the plot just kept getting better, and the ending was fantastic.
Profile Image for Steph Su.
960 reviews449 followers
December 30, 2010
Man. I really wanted to like this one. It’s dystopian, first of all, and it’s not too much a stretch of the imagination to picture our future being like this. And for the first few chapters all was still well. The world-building is solidly vivid—I could clearly visualize the parched, struggling land that Vera lives in when I closed my eyes—and the characters, while not standouts, were at least not irritating. Vera’s not a particularly convincing narrator, but I was willing to overlook narratorial blandness in favor of the attention-holding world-building.

But when Vera and Will set off to rescue Kai is when the book completely lost my interest and sympathies. THE WATER WARS seems like an overly ambitious melding of too many genres—dystopian, Western, action. One minute they’re plodding along in a lonely, lonely world where it feels like they’re the only people around; the next, they’ve been captured by water pirates? And the next, a big explosion (quite literally) sweeps them away…but right into the hands of other evil dudes?? I’m sorry, but that’s where I stopped reading. I like the premise well enough, but it turns out that Stracher never fully convinces me to invest in these characters’ outcomes, which was apparent after they began encountering extravagant deus ex machinas.
Profile Image for Jessie.
40 reviews
January 16, 2011
***This is really a 2.5 star book***
I was so excited to read The Water Wars (just look at that absolutely UH-MAZE-ING cover, it's freaking gorgeous) that I started at soon as I got it, but after reading it the only thing I love about it is the cover. Neither Vera, Will, or Kai were good characters, they were all really boring and single layered. Sula and the pirate king, Ulysses, were more interesting and they were secondary characters. I don't understand why Will and Vera would risk their lives and the lives of their parents to save a boy that they barely know, but I can get over that. What I can't get over is all the over the top rediculous situations that the kids got into and eventually got out of alive. I can suspend reality only so much. You can't do that much to a massive corporation and still be alive. Sorry, it just doesn't work that way. Also, the ending was really annoying and seems like there could possibly be made into a series, but I hope not. All in all it was a very lack-luster novel. If you want a beautiful book to put on your shelf then buy The Water Wars. If you want a beautiful book that is actually a good book on the inside too, DO NOT buy The Water Wars.

Profile Image for Corinne Edwards.
1,460 reviews217 followers
February 8, 2016
Water. Vital ingredient of life. So vial that when we've used or poisoned the earth's water to the point of near depletion, countries are ready to fight tooth and nail to get their share. Vera's led a dry and dusty life, never enough to drink in a land that sucks the moisture right out of you. Then she meets Kai, who acts like water is as common as anything and as their friendship grows, Vera soon realizes that Kai knows more than he's telling her. Then one day, Kai's late to the bus stop and Vera's choices will lead her and her brother on a dangerous chase into plots and places she never imagined she'd see.

It sounds really exciting, right? Maybe my hopes were too high. There's adventure all right, and a lot of violence - but almost too many near misses. Too many crashes and disasters that the completely innocent and untrained Vera somehow survives. Relationships develop too quickly. Several times the plot just skipped - skipped vital details that left me searching the pages for missing information and that felt like major editing errors. It drove me crazy. Last gripe: it was totally didactic. So many times all of our current environmental wickedness was shoved into our faces.

And too bad, because it's a great idea for a story. It was just poorly told.
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