by Antony John
Published by Dial Books
on November 20, 2012
My summary: On Roanoke Island, a scrappy band of survivors fled a plague on the mainland and built a community. Sixteen year-old Thomas is impatiently waiting to receive his Elemental power -- people over sixteen in his group have the ability to control one of the elements. But when a storm hits and all the adults in his community mysteriously disappear, the island's kids will have to battle pirates, including the man who killed Thomas's mother.
My take: I was thrilled to discover that this book is set on Roanoke Island, a place rich in history and intrigue. In case you're not a US history buff, the island was the site of the Lost Colony -- a group of British colonists settled there in the 1580s and then mysteriously disappeared.
In the book, a small community has settled on Roanoke island after some sort of unspecified plague began to spread in the United States. The settlers have special powers. Thomas' father and brother can control fire, and he's anxiously waiting to see what his special talent will be. After a storm separates the adults from the rest of the group, Thomas and the other kids try to reunite the group and evade capture by pirates.
I loved the setting of Elemental, and the book's premise is an intriguing one. Elemental has a lot of action, some moderately scary pirates, a PG-rated love triangle, and the fun sort of "kids against the world" esprit de corps that you see in movies like Home Alone or Spy Kids.
I really enjoyed reading Elemental even though, as an adult reader of YA, I don't feel like part of this book's target audience. I enthusiastically recommend Elemental to fans of the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan or Savvy by Ingrid Law -- another fantastic book about kids who receive a special power when they turn thirteen.
If you're intrigued by the idea of books about characters who can control the elements, also check these choices out. Click on the covers to find out more.