March 5, 2015
On a Clear Day by Walter Dean Myers
On a Clear Day
by Walter Dean Myers
Dahlia has always loved math — the numbers and formulas are dependable and help her understand the world even as things fall apart.
The year is 2035. The C-8, eight huge businesses, control everything from food to health care. Not only do they control who has access to what, the profit margin for these companies determines what even comes into being. On the surface, that doesn’t mean much for the wealthy. They live in their suburban gated communities were everyone looks like them (white). They shop, they party and they plan. What very few of them do is see.
Those like Dahlia who aren’t wealthy have no choice but to see. They have to keep their eyes open for the gangs roaming city streets. They also have to watch out for opportunities that are actually traps. The free tablets everyone was so happy to recieve? Once everyone was online and could access classes that way, the government had no reason to keep the schools open. There was simply no profit in it.
Dahlia dreamed of becoming a teacher. She would be able to help kids like herself see the beauty of math. Now, there’s no point. No gater (gated communities) would pay her to teach their children.
Then two boys show up in a van. From the van to their clothing, it is obvious that they have money. They may have money but they see. They see what C-8 is doing around the world — controlling who makes it in government, who has access to health care and who has food to eat. They are going to take on C-8.
They tell Dahlia and that they need her help. They’ve read the paper she published in a math journal. They know she has the computer skills needed to help them predict what is going to happen next. They are putting together a team of young people who believe that they can make a difference and they want Dahlia to be a part of it. Before she can decide if she can make a different, Dahlia has to find the nerve to leave behind all she knows and trust two boys she’s only must met.
This is one of the those books that is almost impossible to do justice in a review. It is rich and it is complicated. It is more gritty than lyrical but teen readers will love it because it is true. Walter Dean Myers was clearly an author who could see the dangers of big business, of the 10% and of the reliance that people place on the Web.
I wouldn’t call this book post-apocolyptic but it is walks up close to the apocolypse and dares the reader to see how far they can see On a Clear Day.