Thursday, September 15, 2016

Dig Too Deep by Amy Alleger - ESSENTIAL

Allgeyer, Amy Dig Too Deep, 280 pages.  Albert Whitman and Company, 2016.  $16.99.  Language:  R (65 swears, 8 “f”); Mature Content: PG-13; Violence: PG-13.

When her mother is arrested for protesting, Liberty Briscoe, 16, is forced to return to her hometown of Ebbottsville, Kentucky after living 8 years in D.C.  Ebbottsville has changed a lot – the top of Tanner peak has been blasted for mining, and the well water is disturbingly colored.  A lot of people are sick, including Liberty’s grandmother. Liberty begins asking questions about a possible environmental hazard being the root of all the illnesses, which earns her many enemies:  this town relies on the mine for good jobs. But isn’t it in the best interest of the mine to keep the workers from getting sick?

This book paints a hopeful picture for community activism to preserve the health and safety of the general public, and carries an important message for teens.  While the cause and solution of the central problem are overly simplified, some of the steps Liberty undertakes to figure things out seem realistic.  Liberty’s struggle to contend with school and daily life while nursing her sick grandmother is compelling and garners much sympathy on the part of the reader.  Her banter with her grandmother is wonderfully irreverent and, I think, would be refreshing for many young readers.

HS – ESSENTIAL.  Reviewed by:  JA, High School Librarian

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