The Elephant Mountainsby Scott Ely
An unprecedented series of hurricanes has swollen the Mississippi River to unheard-of levels and is threatening to put New Orleans and most of the low-lying areas of the South under water. Fifteen-year-old Stephen is spending the summer with his father near a small town north of Lake Pontchartrain when another powerful hurricane arrives and the levees on the
An unprecedented series of hurricanes has swollen the Mississippi River to unheard-of levels and is threatening to put New Orleans and most of the low-lying areas of the South under water. Fifteen-year-old Stephen is spending the summer with his father near a small town north of Lake Pontchartrain when another powerful hurricane arrives and the levees on the Mississippi River completely fail. In the anarchy and chaos that results, Stephen's father is killed, and the boy is left to fend for himself. Stephen soon encounters Angela, a college student whose parents have also been killed. Navigating the labyrinth of flooded fields and towns in an airboat, the two set out in search of Stephen's mother and higher ground. Armed with both guns and the skills his survivalist father has taught him, and repeatedly confronted by those who will kill for food, water and weapons, Stephen struggles to maintain hope and his humanity in the face of violence and desperation.
A fast-paced, brutal story of survival delivered in a clipped, no-frills style.
Fifteen-year-old Stephen lives in a not-so-distant future in which multiple severe hurricanes and increasing global warming has made swampland out of much of the southern United States. The devastating flooding has caused most of the survivors to flee, and those who stayed behind get by as best they can. Luckily, Stephen's father, an Iraq War veteran, teaches him everything he'll need to know to keep himself alive. When his father is murdered, Stephen has to put all of those lessons to immediate use. Stephen decides to see if he can find his mother, who is supposedly still in New Orleans. On his way to find her, Stephen meets Angela, a college student whose parents have also been killed. The two join forces and head by boat toward New Orleans. Their will to live is tested again and again as they make their way through a world that has dissolved into anarchy and random violence. Even in the midst of this day-to-day drama, Stephen finds himself sorting out his feelings for Angela, which are complicated by the attraction/revulsion he harbors for his mother; he is haunted by his memories of her and the parade of lovers she hosted in their home before Stephen moved out to live with his father. What will happen when he finds her again? The straightforward third-person narration chronicles the action bluntly.
Equal parts interesting and unsettling, this one may appeal to fans of Gordon Korman and Gary Paulsen. (Fiction. 14 & up)
Read an Excerpt
"You cut yourself off from those you kill," his father said. "They're just targets. But if you push too hard on that, then you cut yourself off from everyone."
"Everyone?" Stephen asked.
"Yes, from love. Do you understand?"
Meet the Author
Scott Ely received his MFA from the University of Arkansas and taught writing at Winthrop University in South Carolina. He published five novels and four collections of short stories. The Elephant Mountains was his first novel for young adult readers.
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