4.1 38
by Pam Bachorz

View All Available Formats & Editions

A young girl thirsts for love and freedom, but at what cost?

Ruby dreams of escaping the Congregation. Escape from slaver Darwin West and his cruel Overseers. Escape from the backbreaking work of gathering Water. Escape from living as if it is still 1812, the year they were all enslaved.

When Ruby meets Ford—an irresistible, kind,


A young girl thirsts for love and freedom, but at what cost?

Ruby dreams of escaping the Congregation. Escape from slaver Darwin West and his cruel Overseers. Escape from the backbreaking work of gathering Water. Escape from living as if it is still 1812, the year they were all enslaved.

When Ruby meets Ford—an irresistible, kind, forbidden new Overseer—she longs to run away with him to the modern world where she could live a normal teenage life. Escape with Ford would be so simple.

But if Ruby leaves, her community is condemned to certain death. She, alone, possesses the secret ingredient that makes the Water so special—her blood—and it’s the one thing that the Congregation cannot live without.

Drought is the haunting story of one community’s thirst for life, and the dangerous struggle of the only girl who can grant it.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bachorz (Candor) again carves out a compelling niche in the dystopian genre, tackling issues of faith, perseverance, and obligation in this bleak tale of an isolated community enslaved by the past. For 200 years, Ruby and other members of the Congregation have toiled, collecting life-sustaining (and life-prolonging) Water under hellish conditions, kept in line by Overseers and forced to satisfy demanding quotas. Only a select few know that Ruby's blood, like that of her long-missing father, Otto, is the catalyst that turns ordinary water into Water, a secret they keep at all costs. While the Congregants patiently wait for Otto, their savior and founder, to return and lead them to freedom, Ruby believes it's time to escape and seek him out. In defiance of custom and wisdom, Ruby falls for Ford, an Overseer, further pushing her toward a fateful decision. Though some of the intrinsic supernatural elements aren't fully explained, the tension between the Christian aspects of Ruby's faith (life-saving blood, an absent and awaited savior) and Ford's contemporary Christianity results in a complex, provocative exploration of loyalty, community, family, and belief. Ages 12–up. (Jan.)
VOYA - Alicia Abdul
Ruby has a decision to make about whether she wants to choose freedom from her two-hundred years of slavery in the woods of upstate New York or live enslaved to her mother and the religious cult where her blood secretly serves as the catalyst for healing and youth. At times monotonous, as is their situation, Bachorz (Candor, Egmont USA, 2009/VOYA October 2009) details the Congregation's survival on little food and their faith that Otto will save them as they endure floggings and emotional torment. While not unexpected, Ruby falls in love with an Overseer—Ford—whose presence reminds her of what she cannot have as the daughter of Otto and the Congregation's spiritual leader, Sula. Yet, in one brief and fantastical trip, Ruby tastes modern life literally and figuratively, then returns, finding herself cocooned by the Congregation's tough love through a series of tragic events that wrap up the story abruptly and with little suspense. Avid fans of dystopian science fiction will appreciate the juxtaposition of modern versus traditional, and love versus loyalty with unique characters and thought-provoking situations. So, with a bit of ambiguity about the Congregation's survival and their confinement hidden from contemporary view, readers are left to imagine the possibilities or a possible sequel. Reviewer: Alicia Abdul
ALAN Review - Meredith Suits
For 200 years, Ruby Prosser has been collecting Water. Enslaved by the cruel Darwin West and his gang of Overseers, Ruby and her Congregation must scour the woods each day for the special healing Water, which has sustained their lives for many years but also fueled the greed and oppression surrounding Ruby's community. Waiting for their savior Otto while enduring the hardship of slavery is the Congregation's chosen purpose, but when Ruby meets the new Overseer Ford, she questions the wisdom of the Congregants. Carrying the secret of the Water in her blood, which she adds to the Water every night, Ruby must choose between sustaining her people or venturing outside the woods for the chance at a normal life. Mysterious characters, forbidden love, and one girl's quest for freedom create a gripping story about loyalty, leadership, and purpose in a world where suffering is profound and salvation uncertain. Reviewer: Meredith Suits
Kirkus Reviews

In this lengthy, imaginative science-fiction tale, a girl is driven to escape an isolated commune in upstate New York that's been frozen in time since 1812. Ruby actually is 200 years old, but she's only 17 in growth. She lives in a slave colony controlled by Darwin, its cruel master, and his brutal Overseers. She and the other Congregants gather Water, which can heal any wound or disease and stops aging. The Congregants lead an almost intolerable existence, enduring constant beatings and starvation while taking strength from their cult-like religion. Ruby needs to escape not only her slavery but also her mother's and the Congregants' hold on her. Bachorz paints the bleak colony in stark detail and writes especially vivid and interesting characters, but the story suffers from a certain sameness. She makes Ruby's grim world believable but so unremittingly desolate that readers may need relief nearly as much as the colony's inhabitants. An intriguing story with depth, but its success will depend on individual taste. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Product Details

Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date:
Fiction - Young Adult
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Sales rank:
HL570L (what's this?)
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Pam Bachorz grew up in a small town in the Adirondack foothills, where she participated in every possible performance group and assiduously avoided any threat of athletic activity, unless it involved wearing sequined headpieces and treading water. With a little persuasion she will belt out tunes from The Music Man and The Fantasticks, but she knows better than to play cello in public anymore. Pam attended college in Boston and finally decided she was finished after earning four degrees: a BS in Journalism, a BA in Environmental Science, a Masters in Library Science and an MBA. Her mother is not happy that Pam's degrees are stored under her bed.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Drought 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Water is precious. Water has made slaves out of Ruby's people. While the rest of the world lives normally, Ruby and the people in what is referred to as the Congregation spend their days gathering water. Although there is a small lake nearby, the members of the Congregation are forced to seek water in the forest. Each one armed with simple tools, a spoon, and a cup, they struggle in the oppressive heat to collect water drop by tiny drop. They are forced by the Overseers, led by a tyrant named Darwin, to gather their daily quota. Failure to meet their quota earns them a beating. Members of the Congregation are unique. Ruby, for instance, is two hundred years old, but she doesn't look a day older than seventeen. Blessed from birth with some special power in her blood, she is destined to be the group's leader, perhaps sooner than even she expects. The Congregants follow a mysterious leader they call Otto. According to her mother, Otto is Ruby's father. He left before she was even born, and now the group works tirelessly and waits for his return and the hope that he will set them free. But the wait is taking its toll on the members. Some are losing faith, and arguments between them threaten to weaken the group. Also, secrets known to only a few could either save them or cause a rebellion. Most evenings, Ruby visits the huge cisterns that stores the gathered water until the Visitor comes to collect from the containers. The purpose of her nightly visits is to add drops of her own blood to the water, creating a life-sustaining element to the liquid. Like her father, she possesses the power that has allowed her people to carry on for centuries. During one visit to the cisterns, Ruby meets an Overseer named Ford. He treats her kindly, and a friendship begins to form. Soon, Ruby finds herself thinking about Ford all the time and watching for him as she collects her quota every day. He may represent her chance for freedom, or her destruction if he reveals the mysterious power of her blood. Pam Bachorz is the author of CANDOR, another unusual dystopian YA novel. DROUGHT presents the secret world of a group still living in the past but working to provide for the world of the future. Bachorz takes her readers into the life of Ruby and her people to illustrate the unreasonable and frightening control one group of people can hold over another.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
PLEASE MAKE A MOVIE!!!!!!! LOVED IT!!!!!!!! **) ;D #1 BOOK --- from lil' Lydea and $ara
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
one of my favorite books could not put it down must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the book so much and so did my bff!!!:) I hope she writes a sequel because i need to know if they find him!!!!!!!!!!! READ IT SO GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was and still is one of my favorite books. Its so original. Like who ever thought of sacred Water that is made with water and blood. Creepy but genious. Must read in my opinion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was friggin amazing! Ithink that there should totally be a movie! It litterally took me about half a day to read! Could not put it down! My one complaint is there should be a sequel! Like maybe it would be with Ruby and Ford on a mission to find Otto, while part of it is told in Hope's perspective as they are running out of Rubys blood because some of it leaked out because those pesky corks were too small. Just a thought.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference. - The Serenity Prayer Reinhold Niebuhr
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
intothemorningJR More than 1 year ago
This was a seriously fantastic story to read. It had so many things going on at different times that it was almost never dull or boring. There were so many things going on that even the narrator wasn't aware of in spite of the fact she was the one telling the story. It was fascinating to watch how Ms. Bachorz wove into the story subtle clues to what would happen in the final 50 or so pages. And let me tell you, the last 50 or so pages flew by so quickly that I found myself on the last page and wishing there were so many more. The characters in this book began a little underdeveloped for my taste. They were somewhat one-dimensional and flat in the beginning, but perhaps one can forgive that because considering it's told in the first person by someone who has lived the same exhausting, repetitive life for 200 years, everything and everyone around would be sort of monotonous and flat. But as the story develops and new pieces of personalities of those around Ruby come to light, we see the gray life of those who harvest water during a dry and colorless drought bloom into bursts of color. And for someone like me who associates color with personalities, this was a real treat. I especially loved some of the nuances of Ms. Bachorz's writing that tied in the entire drought theme to how people were feeling. Particularly how the blossoming relationship between Ruby and the Overseer Ford was described, in Ruby's words, as, "It feels as if the air between us is like a tender waterdrop; one more move and it will burst." Their romance is saturated in life and immersed in the wonder that is discovering real and true love for the first time in your life. Some may say it happens too quickly but consider the fact that Ruby is over 200 years old and she's been extremely repressed by the society she lives in. It's only natural that she feel on some subconscious level that those she lives with don't have the same value for her as Ford appears to and that she would cling to that. And she does try to fight it for the sake of duty. It's not until something very strongly and forcefully breaks the bonds between her and some in her community that the dam bursts and Ruby's real desires gush forth. I think the book could have been a little bit more tightly edited. I think with about 50 fewer pages of Ruby remembering and lamenting the past and people she lost (whether physically or figuratively) it would have been an even faster, more brilliant read. That said, however, I don't think being a little wordy is such a bad thing. I found the plot twists in the story to be delicious and I liked being able to come to the slow conclusion of Ruby's situation and her true importance to the Elders of her community along with her. Discovering evil in places she hadn't thought existed along with her was fascinating even if truly saddening for her sake. I think Ms. Bachorz brings a bit of literary elegance to this story by bringing the reader along on a slow burn with some of the subplots and major themes of the novel with bright bursts of action in a way reminiscent of Jane Eyre. It's thoroughly well written and perhaps doesn't have all the over-the-top bells and whistles that some seem to need in their dystopias but I was completely satisfied. The ending wrapped up neatly enough that this could be a stand alone (which you know I love in an ending) but left enough possibility open for at least a second dip into Ruby's world.
epicrat More than 1 year ago
Pam Bachorz weaves a rich and dark tale about a teenaged girl who is stuck between a rock and a hard place. At times, I had more questions than answers while reading - and even at the end, I think drought leaves the readers wanting to find out what happens next and what had happened before to lead up to Ruby's world as she knew it. The great thing about drought is, once I let go of what I know, I really got into the flow of Ruby's wretched world. Hers was a simple though horrible life: Collect enough Water to get fed and avoid the whip. A village enslaved. Not necessarily true, but I imagined that they dressed like Pilgrims - don't ask me why - I just did! It was only when Ruby interacts with Ford when I realized how behind-the-times Ruby was, how deeply Ms. Bachorz wove us into the village and hid us from the big, ugly truth. A truth the Overseers obviously knew, and the question that burns through my mind is WHY. I felt we never got a complete picture of all the characters except Ruby. Granted, we see events unfold through Ruby's eyes - but usually I thought there'd still be a little more insight to the other characters present. Maybe Ruby wasn't too observant - maybe I haven't given drought enough thought yet - but there is not a whole lot about the other characters from my initial impression. Ruby's mom tries to impress upon Ruby and the Congregation that waiting for salvation is their best option and escape in any way is not safe, but how did she reach such a conclusion and what happens when salvation never comes - or escape is possible? What makes Darwin tick - and how does he sleep each night after his monstrous actions? How does Ford get recruited to the Overseers - and is he leading Ruby into a trap by enticing her to escape? The ending of drought definitely left me both triumphant yet horrified at how things panned out for Ruby, Ford, the Overseers, and the Congregation. Definitely did not see any of it coming! I doubt that there would be a sequel, although one would be most welcome for all the questions that I have! drought will satisfy any thirst for a new dystopian YA read. Mysterious, shocking, bittersweet - an excellent combination to keep readers thirsting to learn more about the world that Ms. Bachorz has created.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've been looking forward to reading this book since it was announced earlier this year. I'm a big fan of the YA genre including recent books by Suzanne Collins, Carrie Ryan, James Dashner, and found Bachorz's first book, Candor, not only a good read but I was intrigued by how realistic a portrait she painted of the setting of the story, and the strong character development. A true storyteller, she has done it again with Drought. A lot of what I liked in Candor, is also here in Drought, including characters with interesting pasts and motivations, quick dialogue, and a sense of setting that make you think Bachorz has a clear vision of where her stories take place. I have to say that I am in disagreement as to some of the other reviews posted thus far. With media these days, people expect now to be spoon-fed everything, every detail, every explanation. I think Bachorz demands a bit more from her readers. She did it in Candor, and she does it again in this novel. True literature studied still today by students sometimes raises more questions than they answer, and while there are good explanations throughout the plot, Bachorz raises good questions about how we go about believing. There are religious overtones, as well, and I found the Congregation compelling. Ruby's story is an important one to dissect. How many people today could say we believe sometime blindly in what we don't understand. History also has many examples of groups of enslaved people not able to rise up against their oppressors. One needn't look too far back in history to see similarities can be drawn from Bachorz's story to that of the Holocaust, and farther back, slavery in this nation. This is a book that is important for older teens and adults. We will be reading for my book club, and I look forward to a lively discussion. This book grips you from the first pages and takes you on a thrilling view into how this enslaved community goes about daily life and dealing with change and betrayer by one of their key members.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was in my room from 7 to 4 in the morning reading, crying and gasping, from cover to cover. You know why girls get hooked to romance books? Because the characters in the book have the love we hope and dream for. They have the cinderella story us girls crave. If your a girl stuggling to find love, he or maybe she will come when god knows your ready. Anywaise, read the book. Its a mind blower!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ruby is the only child born in the community. She is the only daughter of the revered “Otto” who left the community before she was born. Ruby is special. As the daughter of Otto she possesses his blood that contains magical healing properties. In Otto’s absence, the evil Darren West enslaves the community through hiring Overseers who beat and abuse the members of the community while keeping them sheltered from the modern world. The community does not fight; instead they have faith in Otto and believe that he will return to save them. Then Ruby meets the newest overseer named Ford and is intrigued by his kindness. Before long he is begging her to run away with him and Ruby must choose: will she follow love and the freedom it promises or remain with the people who depend on her for survival? What makes Drought shine is author Pam Bachorz’s ability to write young adult character that actually sound like young adults. Ruby’s desire to please her mother, her fears of escaping, but her desire to change her life are all very relatable qualities that teen readers will appreciate. This story addresses important issues about loyalty, questioning the status quo, and the ways in which our own communities hold us back. By writing this book in an unfamiliar setting, Bachorz is able to deal with the issues without offending any group or religion, while encouraging her readers to question those around them. Bachorz brilliantly transports her readers into a strange alternate universe and keeps the setting grounded through her very realistic characters. From Ruby’s mother to the evil Darren West, every person is crafted with complex layers of good as well as bad. Ford is especially intriguing and by giving him very serious flaws, Bachorz keeps readers guessing whether he and Ruby will really end up together.  In short, this story is much more than a young adult novel. It is a book with important themes, real characters, and an exciting plot that keeps the pages turning! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Who ever thought of blood that could heal peoples wounds love the book buy it!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was surpised by how great this book was:)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book a while back and i couldnt pick up another book for a while because the concept overall was absolutely mind boggling... its hard to imagine being stuck somewhere you dont wan tto be and doing things you dont want to do, and on top of that you cant fight because you would be the onlt one since everyone else is waiting on 1 person to come fight their battle for them and its been so long since they left that you just know theyre not coming back. Overall i loved it. I couldnt put it down...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago