The Moon Dwellers (The Dwellers/Country Saga #1) by David Estes (Self-Published, 2012, 366pp.)
In the first volume of David Estes’s Dwellers/Country Saga, Earth as we know it is over. Due to an environmental cataclysm, people have been forced underground. Now, people live in what’s known as the Tri-Realms. The luckiest live in the Sun Realm (closest to the Earth’s surface) alongside the likes of the system’s dictator-president, Edward Nailin. The not-so-lucky middle-class are stuck in the Moon Realm with terrible living conditions, while the truly desperate are forced to live in the Star Realm, the deepest level of them all. Told from the points of view of its two teenage narrators, the novel chronicles the plight of middle-class waif Adele Rose and Tristan Nailin, the president’s rebellious son, two strangers who are surprised when a chance-glimpse of each other seems to awaken a peculiar connection between them.
The YA genre could definitely use some good science fiction, and The Dwellers/Country Saga is a good place to start. While the action is non-stop, the world-building pretty thorough, and the pacing consistent, the characters, unfortunately, were not given equal chance to develop at the same rate as these other factors. Aside from that, though, it really does make for some exciting reading: with action and love at first sight, there’s enough here to attract both male and female teens. Recommended for Ages 15-18.