Dark Water

By Laura McNeal
(Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, Hardcover, 9780375849732, 287pp.)

Publication Date: September 14, 2010

List Price: $16.99*
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Description

Fifteen-year-old Pearl DeWitt and her mother live in Fallbrook, California, where it’s sunny 340 days of the year, and where her uncle owns a grove of 900 avocado trees. Uncle Hoyt hires migrant workers regularly, but Pearl doesn’t pay much attention to them . . . until Amiel. From the moment she sees him, Pearl is drawn to this boy who keeps to himself, fears being caught by la migra, and is mysteriously unable to talk. And after coming across Amiel’s makeshift hut near Agua Prieta Creek, Pearl falls into a precarious friendship—and a forbidden romance.

Then the wildfires strike. Fallbrook—the town of marigolds and palms, blood oranges and sweet limes—is threatened by the Agua Prieta fire, and a mandatory evacuation order is issued. But Pearl knows that Amiel is in the direct path of the fire, with no one to warn him, no way to get out. Slipping away from safety and her family, Pearl moves toward the dark creek, where the smoke has become air, the air smoke.

Laura McNeal has crafted a beautiful and haunting novel full of peril, desperation, and love.




About the Author
Laura Rhoton McNeal has a master's degree in fiction writing from Syracuse University and taught 8th, 9th, and 11th grade English in Salt Lake City. She has been married for more than 20 years to Tom McNeal, with whom she collaborated first on a picture book called The Dog Who Lost His Bob and then on four critically-acclaimed young adult novels published by Knopf. Her solo novel, Dark Water, was published in 2010 and was a finalist for the National Book Award. Tom and Laura live with their two boys in southern California.
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