The City of Ember
The First Book of Ember
By Jeanne Duprau
(Random House Books for Young Readers, Hardcover, 9780375822735, 288pp.)
Publication Date: May 13, 2003
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The city of Ember was built as a last refuge for the human race. Two hundred years later, the great lamps that light the city are beginning to flicker. When Lina finds part of an ancient message, she’s sure it holds a secret that will save the city. She and her friend Doon must decipher the message before the lights go out on Ember forever! This stunning debut novel offers refreshingly clear writing and fascinating, original characters.
Jeanne DuPrau has written several books of nonfiction for children and adults. She has been a teacher, an editor, and a technical writer. The City of Ember is her first novel for middle graders. She is currently working on the sequel at her home in Menlo Park, California, where she keeps a big garden and a small dog.
"DuPrau’s first foray into fiction creates a realistic post-apocalyptic world. Reminiscent of Robert O'Brien's Z for Zachariah, DuPrau’s book leaves Doon and Lina on the verge of the undiscovered country and readers wanting more."
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly
"Thanks to full-blooded characters every bit as compelling as the plot, Lina and Doon’s search parallels the universal adolescent quest for answers. An electric debut!"
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews
"Well-paced, this contains a satisfying mystery, a breathtaking escape over rooftops in darkness, a harrowing journey into the unknown, and cryptic messages for readers to decipher. The likeable protagonists are not only courageous but also believably flawed by human pride. The cliffhanger ending will leave readers clamoring for the next installment."
Starred Review, Voice of Youth Advocates
"While Ember is colorless and dark, the book itself is rich with description. DuPrau uses the puzzle, suspenseful action, and lots of evil characters to entice readers into the story. They will find the teen characters believable and gutsy. Part mystery, part adventure story."
The Horn Book Magazine
"The device of a hidden letter, complete with missing words, is used with such disarming forthrightness that readers will be eagerly deciphering it right alongside Doon and Lina."
An ALA Notable Children’s Book
A Kirkus Reviews Editors’ Choice
A New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing Selection