Once the Fog started rising, the earth was covered with a deadly white mist until nothing remained but the mountaintops. Now humanity clings to its highest peaks, called the Rooftop, where the wealthy Five Families rule over the lower slopes and floating junkyards.
Thirteen-year-old Chess and his friends Hazel, Bea, and Swedish sail their rickety air raft over the deadly Fog, scavenging the ruins for anything they can sell to survive. But now survival isn't enough. They must risk everything to get to the miraculous city of Port Oro, the only place where their beloved Mrs. E can be cured of fogsickness. Yet the ruthless Lord Kodoc is hot on their trail, for Chess has a precious secret, one that Kodoc is desperate to use against him. Now Chess will face any danger to protect his friends, even if it means confronting what he fears the most.
Two series debuts in a row with a lot of potential! This one is definitely a bit more...er...nuanced than "The Fart Squad". The world building is excellent, and vivid enough that I think I am going to stay home the next time fog covers the mountain. Plenty of showing-not-telling, strongly defined characters, exciting action and adventure, mystery and intrigue. Readers will find humor in the scraps of history this future society has recovered in somewhat muddled fashion - like the "red-caped hero named Superbowl, who leaped mountains in a single bound and threw pigskins."
Pirates! Friendship! Machinery! Special powers! Kids defeating adults! The only thing this book doesn't have is a great deal of romance, and as a solidly middle grade book, that's just another plus. Grab it for your library now, and keep an eye out for the sequel!