by Jeanne DuPrau
Lina and her friend Doon are 12-year-old school kids in Ember, a town that's familiar, but rather odd: it's pitch black outside, 24 hours a day. Floodlights are turned on every morning, and turned off every night. Food comes from storerooms in the bowels of the city. Supplies are running a little thin—Lina's grandmother tells her of a heavenly, but long-gone, treat called "pineapple"—and power failures seem to be occuring more and more often. The townspeople seem entirely uneducated in the ways of science. They have never questioned the workings of their city, and now it's falling apart. A few have tried to explore the outer reaches, but found only blackness. When Lina finds a mysterious set of instructions that seems to tell of a way to leave Ember, she and Doon investigate, and what they find shakes them to the core. It's a terrific young adult book that resonated deeply with my 35-year-old soul.