The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Mark of the Dragonfly

The Mark of the Dragonfly

4.6 13
by Jaleigh Johnson
     
 

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For fans of The City of Ember and The School of Good and Evil, the New York Times bestseller The Mark of the Dragonfly is a fast-paced adventure story about a mysterious girl and a fearless boy, set in a magical world that is both exciting and dangerous.
    Piper has never seen the Mark of the Dragonfly until

Overview

For fans of The City of Ember and The School of Good and Evil, the New York Times bestseller The Mark of the Dragonfly is a fast-paced adventure story about a mysterious girl and a fearless boy, set in a magical world that is both exciting and dangerous.
    Piper has never seen the Mark of the Dragonfly until she finds the girl amid the wreckage of a caravan in the Meteor Fields.
    The girl doesn’t remember a thing about her life, but the intricate tattoo on her arm is proof that she’s from the Dragonfly Territories and that she’s protected by the king. Which means a reward for Piper if she can get the girl home.
    The one sure way to the Territories is the 401, a great old beauty of a train. But a ticket costs more coin than Piper could make in a year. And stowing away is a difficult prospect—everyone knows that getting past the peculiar green-eyed boy who stands guard is nearly impossible.
    Life for Piper just turned dangerous. A little bit magical. And very exciting, if she can manage to survive the journey.

Praise for The Mark of the Dragonfly:
 
[STAR] “This magnetic middle-grade debut…[is] a page-turner that defies easy categorization and ought to have broad appeal.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred
 
[STAR] “Heart, brains, and courage find a home in a steampunk fantasy worthy of a nod from Baum.”— Kirkus Reviews, Starred
 
[STAR] “A fantastic and original tale of adventure and magic...Piper is a heroine to fall in love with: smart, brave, kind, and mechanically inclined to boot.”—School Library Journal, Starred
 
A complex and impeccably developed plot—there is plenty to recommend in this novel.”—The Bulletin
 
“Appealing characters and lots of action make it a good choice for young adventure readers.”—Booklist

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 03/03/2014
Merging elements of dystopia, steampunk, and fantasy, this magnetic middle-grade debut imagines an alien world where 13-year-old Piper survives by working as a scrapper, salvaging artifacts left behind by meteor storms. Her life transforms when she rescues a mysterious girl in the aftermath of one such storm: Anna is brilliant yet disoriented, and she sports a tattoo signifying that she is held under the protection of the king of the Dragonfly territories. Piper knows that a reward awaits her if she returns Anna safely to her home. Yet passage on board the 401, a mile-long armored train, is beyond their grasp, and Anna is also being pursued by a ruthless, ominous man. With a setting drawn from an industrial revolution still in birthing pains, Johnson's narrative is marked by colloquial language and blends societal decay with a sense of burgeoning technological innovation. Piper and her new ally, the enigmatic Gee, exhibit maturity and resourcefulness at every turn in a page-turner that defies easy categorization and ought to have broad appeal. Ages 10–up. Agent: Sara Megibow, Nelson Literary Agency. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
Praise for The Mark of the Dragonfly:
 
A New York Times Bestseller

[STAR] “This magnetic middle-grade debut…[is] a page-turner that defies easy categorization and ought to have broad appeal.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred
 
[STAR] “Heart, brains, and courage find a home in a steampunk fantasy worthy of a nod from Baum.”— Kirkus Reviews, Starred
 
[STAR] “A fantastic and original tale of adventure and magic...Piper is a heroine to fall in love with: smart, brave, kind, and mechanically inclined to boot.”—School Library Journal, Starred
 
A complex and impeccably developed plot—there is plenty to recommend in this novel.”—The Bulletin
 
“Appealing characters and lots of action make it a good choice for young adventure readers.”—Booklist

Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
This is a gateway book for intermediate readers not ready for the sexual innuendo of the Steampunk genre; but eager for adventure, Star Wars-like Science fiction, and Potter-ish fantasy. Even better, the book has not one but two strong female characters and a single male “crush” character, instead of the standard heroine deciding between two loves. Piper is an orphaned “scrapper,” an itinerant child surviving by her ability to find vendible trinkets among the meteors that crash to her planet every night. She is a gifted machinist, able to return machines to life and luster with patience, industry, and undeniable talent to relate to their inner workings. When her foster brother runs into a terrifying meteor storm, Piper returns not just with him, but also with Anna, a delicate survivor from a wagon train, whom she nurses to health. Anna’s terror at being hunted by a “wolf” causes the girls to jump aboard a train headed for the capital city, only to find themselves still pursued but aided in their flight by the train’s engineer, fireman, and a shape-shifting security chief named Gee. Along the way, Piper and Anna jump train to find a seer, a Medusa-headed sarnum, who warns them of their predestination to go to the capital and find fortune, but not luck with the king of the Dragonfly Territories. Gee, a chameleon able to morph into a fearsome dragon repeatedly rescues the girls but Anna is gravely wounded in one attack, only to reveal that the real synergy between Piper and Anna is that Anna is a cyborg who can be healed and kept alive only by Piper’s undeniable talent. There is no letdown in the momentum of this story, and the constant reveals of secret identities and complicated relationships will keep readers totally engaged and awaiting a sequel. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross; Ages 11 to 16.
School Library Journal
★ 03/01/2014
Gr 4–8—In the future and on a ruined planet, orphaned Piper lives alone, making her living from mending the scraps she finds after the deadly meteor showers and dust storms that beleaguer the towns on the outskirts of civilization. She has an almost magical ability to fix things, mechanized things especially-it's as though the objects want to be mended by Piper, and sometimes they will work only for her. One day Piper finds a young girl who is silent, amnesiac, and in terror of the man who hunts her. Marked by the tattoo of a dragonfly, the girl can't hide until Piper spirits her away and, with the help of Gee (who can transform at will from handsome teenager to flying dragon), the stowaway girls find a safe home on steam train 401, hurtling through the hostile countryside towards King Aron's kingdom. Johnson has brilliantly taken the dystopian genre to a level accessible to tween readers. The Mark of the Dragonfly is a fantastic and original tale of adventure and magic with steampunk elements and a little romance thrown in. The landscapes the girls pass through are imaginatively depicted and cinematically described (streets lit by glowing "night eye flowers"). Fierce battles are tempered with humor, and Piper is a heroine to fall in love with: smart, brave, kind, and mechanically inclined to boot!—Jane Barrer, United Nations International School, New York City
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-12-24
Heart, brains and courage find a home in a steampunk fantasy worthy of a nod from Baum. Thirteen-year-old Piper is a forthright machinist in dismal Scrap Town Number Sixteen (as charming as it sounds). Her skill at machine repair is unsurpassed, but the recent loss of her father has left her orphaned, with a need to trade destitution for something greener. While scavenging debris left by a violent meteor storm, Piper finds an unconscious girl, Anna, who wakes with severe amnesia and a propensity for analytical chatter and who bears the dragonfly tattoo given to those in the king's inner circle. When a menacing man comes looking for Anna, the girls board the 401 (an antique locomotive run by a motley crew), radically accelerating Piper's plans for a new life. Though Piper is initially driven by the prospect of a reward for returning Anna to what she assumes is a wealthy home, the staggeringly different girls eventually form a bond far stronger than just strategic alliance. Though there are initial echoes of Hunger Games–ian dystopian despair, these are quickly absolved as the book becomes something all its own. Consistent and precise attention to detail, from the functioning of a security system to the communicative abilities of a telepathic species, thrills. This is foremost a rugged adventure story, but there is a splash of romance (and a fabulous makeover scene). A well-imagined world of veritable adventure. (Steampunk. 11-15)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385376471
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
07/21/2015
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
70,752
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.60(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
10 Years

Meet the Author

Jaleigh Johnson is a New York Times bestselling author as well as lifelong reader, gamer, and moviegoer. She loves nothing better than to escape into fictional worlds and take part in fantastic adventures. Her novels for young readers include The Mark of the Dragonfly and The Secrets of Solace.
   She lives and writes in the wilds of the Midwest, but you can visit her online at jaleighjohnson.com or on Twitter @JaleighJohnson.

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