Drought is a sort of thriller/fantasy in the YA category, written by Pam Bachorz.
For 200 years the congregation has lived in the forest, aging very slowly, staying alive because of the Water they harvest by scraping the drops of dew off the leaves of the trees. Only Ruby and a few select others know the truth - it is her blood, a few drops a day, that make the Water special. As the daughter of their beloved, absent Otto, whom they wait ever patiently to return, she has inherited his gift. But her mother keeps it a secret, afraid that Darwin, the man who has enslaved them at the beginning of those 200 years and profits from their backbreaking work, will use the knowledge to harm Ruby.
But Ruby is getting tired of waiting and doing nothing. She's tired of watching her fellow congregates get beaten when they didn't harvest their quota for the day, of seeing her mother take their punishment. And when a new, somehow kind Overseer arrives, Ford, Ruby finds herself drawn to the forbidden stranger. His words of the modern world make her long for freedom - but how can she leave the loyal congregates who unknowingly rely on her for their very life?
The lovely, haunting cover of Drought only hints at the depths of the story within. Ruby's predicament is quickly revealed to be dour and suffocating, immediately intriguing and compelling with its cult-like atmosphere mixed with a tyrannical rule.
At first, the religious aspect of Drought was really turning me off - their mindless zeal irritating me. Also, the fact that her blood was keeping the congregation alive wasn't quite hitting the right note for me. However, Ruby's individuality and urge to fight what the other congregates took silently kept me patient - and I am so glad it did!
With more pages and more revelations of the life of these people, what they endure, and why - Drought is soaked with an emotional grief that is powerful. Plus, the dangerous, hushed, impossible romance that develops in a suspenseful manner between Ruby and Ford, in addition to the increased character development gets the pace of Drought moving. A lot.
My early doubts disappeared as the nail-biting tension of Ruby's mere thoughts of escape, of rescue, creates a deeper curiosity for where the plot is going to go - causing Drought to become incredibly impressive, disturbing, and constantly provocative. This is an edge-of-your-seat page turner that just needed to establish its rather jarring premise (for me, at least) before convincing me. But convince me it did.
Pam Bachorz has penned Drought with an intensity that kept me glued to the pages - pages that were chilling, shocking, and unexpected. My only complaint was that it ended too soon. What a beautiful, stunning close - but I want more! I have a feeling that there is not a sequel, but I can't help but hope a little bit.
You need to check out Drought, an unexpected fuse of the supernatural and slavery, revealing the different shades of cruelty in both the one enslaving, as well as the enslaved - it will blow you away.