3.12 (461 ratings by Goodreads)
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Only He Can Bring What They Need to Survive.

In the year 2250, water is scarce, and those who control it control everything. Sixteen-year-old Luca has struggled with this truth, and what it means, his entire life. As the son of the Deliverer, he will one day have to descend to the underground Aquifer each year and negotiate with the reportedly ratlike miners who harvest the world's fresh water. But he has learned the true control rests with the Council aboveground, a group that has people following without hesitation, and which has forbidden all emotion and art in the name of keeping the peace. And this Council has broken his father's spirit, while also forcing Luca to hide every feeling that rules his heart.

But when Luca's father goes missing, everything shifts. Luca is forced underground, and discovers secrets, lies, and mysteries that cause him to reevaluate who he is and the world he serves. Together with his friends and a very alluring girl, Luca seeks to free his people and the Rats from the Council's control. But Luca's mission is not without struggle and loss, as his desire to uncover the truth could have greater consequences than he ever imagined.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 140 x 210 x 22mm | 345g
  • Blink
  • Great Rapids, United States
  • English
  • 0310731828
  • 9780310731825
  • 1,633,387

Review quote

In a dystopian world where emotions are monitored, Luca has never thrived. Though he wants to fit in, it isn't possible. Luca is expected to inherit his father's job---as a hero. Once a year, Luca's father travels through an underground labyrinth, the way known only to his family, to ensure fresh water on the surface. Protectors of the Aquifer, the last fresh water source in the world, demand him to return annually to discuss the water. The day before his voyage, Luca's dad judges a group of "criminals," including one of Luca's classmates. A government man lies to the civilians about his ruling, condemning them to death. Knowing all were pronounced innocent, Luca saves his classmate. Then, Luca awaits his father's return from the Aquifer. His father doesn't arrive on time, and the governing Council lies to cover their hero's disappearance. When Luca discovers the Council is trying to become heroes by killing him and his father, he flees to safety---to the Aquifer. He discovers the truths about his father's disappearance and the real story of the Aquifer. Led by a voice of peace, he returns to surface chaos. Will he listen to the voice and bring peace? Luca develops from timid kid into hero, becoming more likable with each page. Jonathan Friesen does a great job using dialogue and action to move the plot forward. There are moments when the mood darkens with ideas of suicide, mild violence, and discussions of fate, but the plot progresses quickly to lighten the mood and hold the reader's attention. This world seems real enough that it could be our future, but it is fantastic enough to feel fictional. One major theme emphasizes the power of words, both encouraging and deceptive. Engaging, active writing allows readers to dive into Aquifer. Mystery from the outset lures readers into uncovering the truth with Luca. The final resolution leaves readers satisfied and may lead people to see things in their lives they have taken for granted. Rebecca A. Schriner, CLJ--Christian Library Journal
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Rating details

461 ratings
3.12 out of 5 stars
5 12% (55)
4 28% (128)
3 32% (147)
2 17% (80)
1 11% (51)

Our customer reviews

(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Zonderkidz-Books and Netgalley.) 15-year-old Luca lives in a world where water is scarce. His father is the water deliverer, who must go below ground to obtain fresh water for the people of the town in which he lives. I can't give much more of a summary for this book, because I found it really hard to work out what the hell was going on. We started off with some woman being found in shackles and drowned, then moved on to Luca. We were told a little about how there was a lack of water, and that previously some people had discovered water below the earth, and those people now lived and bred down there, and were now called rats. Once a year the deliverer went down there, and exchanged 'rods of light' for another year of clean fresh water. Luca's father was not all there though, he has previously had his memories wiped, and seemed a bit nuts. When he then went off to do the exchange, the people who governed them - the 'Amongus' tell Luca that his father has been retired, but Luca then finds out that he has actually been 'undone' (this involves shackles being attached to the arms and legs, and then the person jumps into the sea and drowns - no I don't know why they do this, but it is apparently a more peaceful way to kill someone). This means that Luca is now the new deliverer. Anyway, there were just so many things going on that weren't explained in this book that it made it super confusing. The people talked about their 'dials', and said that their dials 'wiggled'. As far as I could make out, these dials must have been implanted or something, and these dials allowed the Amongus to tell when they were lying or experiencing strong emotion? Not very clear and not well explained at all. When we did then get some information about how this world came to be, we got an info dump, and there still wasn't enough information to really know what was going on. We got a story about the world flooding and everyone except for one family being killed, which sounds to me an awful lot like the story of Noah and the Ark from the Christian faith. Not sure if this was intentional, or whether this book was supposed to have some sort of religious connotations or what, but that's what it seemed like to me. These were just a couple of the things that bothered me about this book, but there were more, and this book just became unreadable for me. After struggling with it, I eventually gave up having gotten so frustrated and confused that I couldn't take it anymore. I think this could be a good story, if there was more world building and better explanation of things, but as it is I really couldn't enjoy it. Overall; confusing and poor world building. 4 out of more
by Sarah Elizabeth
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