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Readers see message in 'City of Ember'

Jeanne DuPrau's book, "The City of Ember," about two friends discovering the truth about their underground city, was a hit with NeXt readers. (For those who loved the book, read other Ember books: "The People of Sparks," "The Prophet of Yonwood" and "The Diamond of Darkhold," which was just published last month.)

More than 30 readers sent reviews, winning prizes that included "City of Ember" hoodies and flashlights (donated by Fox Walden) or books.

Carolyn Agle read the book to her fifth-grade class at St. Aloysius Regional School in Springville and "they loved it as much as I did." Other reviews came from eighth-graders at Alden Middle School whose teacher Erin B. Tryka reported: "My students LOVED the book." Other NeXt readers sent reviews on their own. Thanks to all who sent reviews!

Here are excerpts from some "City of Ember" reviews:

>'Make a difference'

"What would it be like to live in a world of darkness, with nothing but street lamps to light your way? The answer lies in 'The City of Ember,' a book of realistic fiction about a girl named Lina Mayfleet and her friend Doon Harrow. They live in Ember, a brightly lit city surrounded by darkness. The only light is provided not by a sun but by street lamps powered by a hydroelectric generator. The people of Ember rely solely on their government for all their basic needs, such as food and light. For 240 years, the system worked well. Little did they know that in the 241st year, their supplies and energy source would run out, leading to their doom!

The people of Ember become scared that soon the lights may never turn back on. Lina discovers an old set of instructions, and with Doon's insights, realizes that they provide information on how to leave the city. In order to save the City of Ember, she and Doon must find the courage to leave their home forever.

I enjoyed this book very much. It was well-written, fast-moving and thought-provoking. I would recommend it to anyone who would enjoy reading a book that makes you feel that individuals can make a difference, even against an established government or community. -- Emily DeRoo, 8th grade, Heim Middle School

>'Realistic, scary'

"This book was great because it showed how people were forced to live underground because of the threat that nuclear warfare would destroy the world. This book showed what could happen in real life if nuclear warfare got so horrible, which makes it pretty realistic in a scary way. This book forced me read for five hours straight because I was so intrigued about what might happen next."

-- Jacob Glosek, 8th grade, Alden

"I enjoyed the fact that a majority of the novel took place in an unknown place, yet it was actually in our own backyard. The novel's setting takes place in a world that is underground. We do not find this out until the end of the book when Lina and Doon emerge at the end of a tunnel that leads to the surface of the Earth. 'The City of Ember' is a phenomenal book that will keep you on the edge of your seat as Doon and Lina try uncovering the secrets of Ember to save the city, and themselves.

Jim Rutowski, 8th grade, Alden.

>'A treasure'

"Our world is our treasure ... 'The City of Ember" is a book for all ages that motivates readers to consider the gifts that the world gives us today that we may take for granted.

The problems of Ember correlate to some of the conflicts in our own community. Globally, the world is slowly losing natural resources. So, as Doon and Lina have, we should start finding and searching for ways to escape a potential blackout."

-- Taylor Rider, East Aurora

>'Thrilling, unique'

"'The City of Ember' is a thrilling, unique and exciting book.
'The City of Ember' had an interesting outline because Lina and Doon escaped out of Ember all by themselves. As children, they went on boats when they didn't even know what boats were. Curiosity is a main part in this book. Lina loves to see and go to new places and Doon loves to explore insects. This book is like a season finale of an excellent show and I can't wait to start reading the next book."
-- Sabrina Rider, East Aurora

>Cliffhanger ending

"'The City of Ember' was a really good book. It expressed imagination within philosophy. I liked how it was a book where you had to figure it out on your own. Another part I liked was that there was no such thing as sunlight. It was just light bulbs. I think that was very creative. I also liked the cliffhanging end that made you want to run to get the next book."

-- Caroline Lojacono, 10, St. Gregory the Great School, Williamsville


"The people of Ember think they are the only light in the dark world. I think I would recommend this book for children ages 9 and up, boys and girls, especially those who like to read sequels.

-- Ethan Smith, 5th grade, St. Aloysius

"Just so you know, once you start the books of Ember you can't stop reading them."

-- Kaitlyn Gernatt, 5th grade, St. Aloysius

"When you read it, you will be excited out of your mind!"
-- Mariah Brant, 5th grade, St. Aloysius Regional School, Springville

"'The City of Ember' is great for everyone both boys and girls. I give my compliments to Jeanne DuPrau for her amazing book."
-- Marisela Neff, 5th grade, St. Aloysius

"I recommend this book because it is a thrilling book with a cliffhanger ending that will leave you on the edge of your seat."

-- Justin Uhteg, 5th grade, St. Aloysius


The NeXt Book Club book will be "The Tale of Despereaux" by Kate DiCamillo. Watch for the upcoming story in NeXt! And send your ideas for future book club books to!

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