Orleans by Sherri L. Smith

Dystopian young adult novels have come to be a dime a dozen, and it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. Sherri L. Smith’s most recent novel paints a heartbreaking and terrifyingly plausible account of disease, survival, and war of the least traditional sort.

Half a century after Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana (and most of the other Gulf states) has been decimated by six more hurricanes of increasing strength. With little time to repair sanitation and infrastructure between the hurricanes, a disease known as Delta Fever has broken out, requiring multiple blood transfusions to cure those who catch it. The United States has declared the area unsalvagable and has stopped governing it or providing aid, building a wall in an attempt to keep the disease contained. Making matters worse, the number of blood transfusions required to cure Delta Fever has made blood a commodity– and those with universal donor types are ruthlessly hunted.

Fen de la Guerre is a gutsy, impassioned, and impatient young woman whose entire life has been spent trying to avoid those who hunt O blood types. Daniel Weaver is an idealistic, cowardly, hopeful young scientist from the United States who wants to cure Delta Fever. Together, can they save a newborn girl… and possibly the whole city? Their odyssey together is action-packed and refreshingly romance-free. If you enjoyed such dystopian novels as Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games or Stephen King’s The Stand, then Orleans might appeal to you.

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