( 6 )


First came the storms.
Then came the Fever.
And the Wall.
After a string of devastating hurricanes and a severe outbreak of Delta Fever, the Gulf Coast has been quarantined. Years later, residents of the Outer States are under the assumption that life in the Delta is all but extinct…but in reality, a new primitive society has ...

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First came the storms.
Then came the Fever.
And the Wall.
After a string of devastating hurricanes and a severe outbreak of Delta Fever, the Gulf Coast has been quarantined. Years later, residents of the Outer States are under the assumption that life in the Delta is all but extinct…but in reality, a new primitive society has been born.  

Fen de la Guerre is living with the O-Positive blood tribe in the Delta when they are ambushed. Left with her tribe leader’s newborn, Fen is determined to get the baby to a better life over the wall before her blood becomes tainted. Fen meets Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States who has snuck into the Delta illegally. Brought together by chance, kept together by danger, Fen and Daniel navigate the wasteland of Orleans.  In the end, they are each other’s last hope for survival.

Sherri L. Smith delivers an expertly crafted story about a fierce heroine whose powerful voice and firm determination will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page. 

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Editorial Reviews

Sherri L. Smith
"An original futuristic tale with a lovely, lyrical, authentic voice and a spirited heroine to root for!"—Melissa de la Cruz, NYT Bestselling author of the Blue Bloods series
"A riveting tale told in a striking, unique voice. You won't regret picking this one up."
—Marie Lu, author of the New York Times bestselling Legend trilogy

"Compelling."—Booklist, starred review

"Vivid and realistic...a compelling intersection of environmental chaos and human politics."—BCCB, starred review


Children's Literature - Magi Evans
New Orleans is just Orleans now. In the aftermath of seven hurricanes, each one more devastating than the last, the city is nearly buried in silt, mud, and water. After a disease, Delta Fever, ravaged the Gulf States, authorities in the Outer States closed the area off to contain the fever. Now Orleans' surviving inhabitants are grouped into tribes according to blood type. Sixteen-year-old Fen de la Guerre, an O-Positive, is a survivor and carrier of Delta Fever. Universal donors like Fen are constantly sought by hunters for their blood, used to keep fever sufferers alive. But now Fen has another worry: her now deceased tribal leader's newborn baby girl, whose pure, fever-free blood makes her the ultimate target. Enter Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States, who is seeking a group of scientists who years ago tried to formulate a cure. Daniel carries his own failed attempt at a cure, vials of antivirus that destroy the disease, but unfortunately also kill the patient. When Fen encounters Daniel, the clash of their two cultures is striking. Gradually, however, their two purposes merge into a quest to save the baby, but not before their lives are endangered and their loyalty to each other is tested multiple times. Smith effectively alternates Fen's first person narrative with Daniel's third person story. Readers will appreciate the contrast between Fen's cynical bravado and Daniels' clueless idealism, as well as the sad yet hopeful ending that provides relief from the horror of Fen's existence. The dank, murky Orleans atmosphere and the suspense of being hunted make this an ideal story for fans of Paolo Bacigalupi's "Ship Breaker" series. Reviewer: Magi Evans
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—After Hurricane Katrina, a series of hurricanes hits the Gulf Coast and decimated its population, leaving behind destruction and illness. Fifty years later, Delta Fever has set in, and the government abandoned the residents and constructed a wall to keep illness away from the Outer States. People in Orleans live in tribes according to their blood type, and with blood transfusions often necessary, blood is a commodity that many will take by force. Fifteen-year-old Fen lives in Orleans with her tribe, O-Positive, and her job is to watch over pregnant chieftain Lydia and protect her. When the tribe is attacked, and Fen is left alone with an infant to care for, she faces her past to try to find a better life for the baby. Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States, watched his younger brother die of Delta Fever. This drives him to find a cure, but when he crosses over illegally into Orleans to further his research, he finds that things there are not as he expected. As Fen's and Daniel's paths converge, her tough, experienced character is juxtaposed with Daniel's naïve one. Fen's memories reveal a background that is disturbing. Her voice is unique, and the layers of her character are revealed slowly but flawlessly. The few threads that are left dangling could lead easily to a sequel, particularly the hints of government secrecy and the future of the child, but this dark novel stands on its own nicely.—Kelly Jo Lasher, Middle Township High School, Cape May Court House, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
Smith imagines a captivating and truly frightening future for the United States, one in which six devastating hurricanes follow Katrina's path right into the heart of the crippled Gulf Coast. On the heels of the storms came the quarantine of the entire Gulf Coast region because of Delta Fever in 2020 and the government's complete abandonment of the disease-ravaged sector a mere five years later. Thus, in 2056, 15-year-old Fen de la Guerre and others like her find themselves eking out a living in a primitive society, many choosing to organize themselves into tribes by blood type to gain a modicum of control over the spread of Delta Fever. When Fen's dear friend dies while giving birth, Fen decides to try to get the newborn over the wall to the Outer States so she might have a better life. Meanwhile, a young scientist named Daniel sneaks across the border into Orleans to further his search for a cure for the fever. Fen and Daniel become strong, if unlikely, allies. While a couple of plot points stretch the bounds of believability and some loose ends remain, the richly textured worldbuilding and the complicated relationship between Fen and Daniel, as well as the constant and varied dangers they face, will keep readers up long past their bedtimes. A harrowing and memorable ride. (Science fiction. 14 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780147509963
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 3/6/2014
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 151,949
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Sherri L. Smith (www.sherrilsmith.com) has written several novels for young adults. Flygirl, her first novel with Putnam, won the California Book Award, was a YALSA Best Book for Young Adults, and made it onto 15 State Award Lists.  Sherri lives in Los Angeles, California. 

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 7, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    In the year 2020, several states along the US Gulf Coast are qua

    In the year 2020, several states along the US Gulf Coast are quarantined, the borders shut off after a series of devastating hurricanes push through, bringing with it a strange blood disease referred to as Delta Fever. In 2025 The United States withdraws governance of Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Alabama and Georgia. The fever has spread, causing too many casualties. These places are no longer safe and are cut off by thick, high walls from the rest of the USA.

    Several years later, Fen lives in Orleans (what used to be New Orleans) with her tribe. Tribes are formed by blood type, and Fen’s tribe seems to be the most fortunate — they aren’t affected as badly by the disease as other blood types. When her dear friend and tribe leader dies after giving birth, Fen vows to protect the baby at all costs and make sure she gets the life her mother wanted for her. Fen is determined to get the baby over the wall and into a loving home where the baby won’t have to deal with the nightmares of life on her side of the wall. So long as she can keep the baby safe, and make it to the border before the baby gets sick, all will be well.

    But the journey isn’t an easy one. When Fen meets Daniel, a research scientist from across the wall who has snuck over to look for a cure for Delta Fever, she doesn’t trust him, but he may be her only hope. As they are pursued by dangerous tribes, the two will have to put their distrust aside if their plans are to work.

    I really loved the characters in this book. They didn’t feel cliché, or unoriginal. Fen is tough, determined and completely selfless, but those who know her only see a hardened, scarred and slightly dangerous girl. She’s a fighter and if anyone has come into contact with her, they know it’s best if they just leave her alone. She’s small, but she’s mean. Her loyalty toward Lydia, her friend and tribe leader, is what drives her to save the baby at any cost.

    I also liked Daniel, the researcher a lot. He was also very strong and determined. Even better — the two of them didn’t fall in love. In fact, they were pretty weary of each other through the book. They felt real.

    The writing is excellent. Ms. Smith writes from dual perspectives: First-person from Fen’s POV and third-person when it comes to Daniel’s perspective. Fen’s voice is perfectly captured in the language used. I could actually hear and feel her. Despite the two very distinct voices, the book never faltered at all.

    What I also loved was that there was no romance thrown in just for the sake of adding it. Ms. Smith throws out the tired convention of so many disaster/dystopian books. This story is about survival and hope and that is where the focus lies. It was very refreshing.

    The only thing that bothered me about the book was that the whole blood type thing confused me. Depending on your blood type, you may succumb to the fever faster or be affected by it more. I never quite grasped the gist of it. I don’t blame the author so much as myself. If I’d taken the time to write it down or map it out (I’m very visual) I may have gotten it. I was just too lazy to do so.

    Fresh and thrilling, Orleans is perfect for anyone who has grown tired of the same old plot points in dystopian books. If you like tough characters, a great story and plenty of action, I would highly recommend this one.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2014

    I have decided not to bore anyone with half a page of oh-my-gosh

    I have decided not to bore anyone with half a page of oh-my-gosh-you-HAVE-to read-this-book fangirling, but I’ll rather just share why I loved this book so darn much and why you might also love it so darn much. But just for the record, I loved this book with my entire being and I would LOVE for you to read it.

    The first thing that struck me right at the beginning is the strong voice of our sixteen-year-old protagonist. There’s absolutely nothing average or Mary Sue-ish about her. Nothing, I tell you! Her emotional strength, resilience, dogged determination, and endurance left me speechless and in awe. Not only does she wear all those traits like a second skin, she also inadvertently take on the role of protector keeping a newborn baby and her adult male companion safe from harm by the bloodhunters and other spine-tingling dangers.

    Now, two things:

    1. Have you ever read a book where the teen girl protagonist had to protect her older, male companion from harm and keep him alive? No? Then that alone should already be an indicator how unique this story is.
    2. Have you ever read a book where that same teen girl protagonist had to protect her older male companion from harm WHILE SHE HAS A NEWBORN BABY STRAPPED TO HER CHEST THE ENTIRE TIME? No again? Then I’m sure I don’t have to point out that this is yet another element that makes Orleans such a unique read.

    Based on those two points alone, you should already be adding this book to your to-read list. But wait, there’s more. Not only does Fen have a strong and unique voice and does she involuntarily assume the role of protector, she also has to navigate a wasteland filled to the brim with all sorts of dangers. I have to applaud the author for her ingenuity creating the aforementioned perilous wasteland. The New Orleans of today is buried underneath the Orleans of 2052 as represented in this amazingly thrilling novel. Tribes have formed by blood type and the ones outside the O blood group hunts the ones with the O blood type that will sustain them and keep them alive while the Delta Fever ravishes their bodies. I was adequately impressed by the world-building, the idea behind this novel, and even how the end of this part of the U.S. came along by natural disaster.  By the time I put this book down after finishing it, my nerves were fried from the fear and uncertainty I experienced alongside the two main characters in their fight to survive.

    Here’s the very best part, though. There is NO romance in this book. Trust me, there’s no time for romantic interludes anyway as Fen and Daniel are constantly on the run (and it would’ve been a little icky if they had ended up romantically involved). So, of course, there being no romance was a big yay for me. Still, there was so much happening in this fast-paced novel, the story wasn’t affected in ANY way by the lack of romance.   

    Fans of dystopian novels weary of reading all the same old tired elements in this genre will have a field day. In Orleans the world didn’t end, it simply moved on. The only difference is that New Orleans became Orleans as the Delta was quarantined and cordoned off from the rest of the U.S. because of the incurable, contagious Delta Fever. Life goes on as usual for those in the rest of the country, but in Orleans life has gone back to a time before modern civilization where tribe means life.  Take my word for it though, it’s not an easy life. It has become a world where stealth, sacrifice, and strategic survival skills mean the difference between life and death. There’s no revolution or a self-righteous protagonist on her quest for a better world. It’s just a selfless teen protecting what is dear to her and her quest to find this baby a home outside of the horrors of an existence she can’t escape. It’s not about her at all, just the baby. I also enjoyed Orleans because it has a varied cast of characters and a wicked twist near the end. Orleans is all about survival, and the author deftly misleads the reader to trust the wrong characters. That, of course, leads to a whole bunch of surprises.

    The only frustration I had with this book is that there isn’t a sequel. Honestly, that’s it! It ended in such a way that it seemed there might be a follow-up, but as far as I can tell this is a stand-alone. I really, REALLY, would’ve liked for there to be more. Anyway, I recommend this book to everyone, no matter their genre of preference. It was unmistakable how much research, effort, and imagination went into this plot, the characters, and the world-building. I was more concerned with how Fen was going to keep that newborn alive, and that, dear ones, kept me riveted and invested in these characters. I believe everyone who reads this book will find something to take away from it at the end. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 20, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    It seems like Mother Nature just won¿t let go of the Gulf Coast

    It seems like Mother Nature just won’t let go of the Gulf Coast and after its latest attack and its aftereffects, it has been decided to separate this area from the U.S. A string of hurricanes, a fever, and then a quarantine has left the citizens of the Gulf Coast isolated. They built a wall to divide the people from the rest of the country just hoping to keep The Fever contained but this is only the beginning. Welcome to Orleans. The citizens who are now cut off from the rest of the U.S., group themselves together by blood type, a new type of segregation that has deadly consequences. The concept of the book was fascinating and being a weather fanatic, I understood the magnifications that weather could play upon this part of the country but I had a hard time actually believing that the U.S. would separate. With everything we do as a nation and contend with, why we would do that to our own citizens, I just couldn’t fathom. I tried to put this in the back of my mind as I read this story and it truly was enjoyable reading about the wars between the blood types and the hierarchies within the strains. Their fought for survival when the world around them was so bleak and new, was constant. They acted like tribes of individuals banding together for survival, fighting for rights, and power. When Daniel entered the picture, a new twist was thrown into the book. Working with the military to stop The Fever, Daniel lived on the other side of the wall but needs to cross over to Orleans to perfect his cure for the virus. Armed with special equipment, he ventures inside the quarantined territory not knowing what to expect. He may think he came prepared with his gadgets and his vials of virus but until he met Fen, the rooftops, Mr.Go, and Father John, he didn’t really know Orleans. There’s a lot to follow in Orleans as the individuals move around constantly, fear of another group and death. Daniel has a mission but he’s walking into dangerous territory and people see him as prize. Daniel needs to be successful; he might be Orleans only chance of redemption.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2014

    I Love this book

    I truly did not want this story to end - such an interesting concept to create New Orleans in a post apocolyptic world. Please someone make a movie out of this one!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2013

    Definitely one of the better YA dystopias in recent memory... ri

    Definitely one of the better YA dystopias in recent memory... rich characters, a unique setting, and creative world building. I really enjoyed it, and would easily recommend to fans of the genre and even those who tend to prefer realistic fiction -- Orleans really felt like "realistic fiction" set just a few decades in the future!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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