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On a Clear Day

Review

On a Clear Day

"I think I want to wake up on a clear day and see a world full of hope" That is what 16-year-old Dahlia desires, especially since the Central Eight companies (C-8) control everything, and poverty, among other issues, is continuing to grow. Dahlia receives a mysterious invitation --- by a rock star, no less --- to join a diverse group of teens that want to change the world. Only time will tell whether or not their efforts will actually make a difference.
 
ON A CLEAR DAY may be set in a different time period, but the context of Myers’ fascinating story is, no doubt, relevant to what's happening in the world today.
 
Inspired by the Occupy Movement, Myers has written a captivating story about hope in the midst of hopelessness. Written in first person, Myers zeroes in on character development as one of his key literary tools to keep his narrative vibrant and continuously moving. Dahlia, of course, is not only the story's narrator, but also its chief protagonist. She is a dynamic character. Dahlia is good in math, but because of her impoverished environs, she has no positive outlet to use her skills and thus feels like an underdog. Yet that begins to change once she joins the group.
 
Myers does not stop at Dahlia, though, as he introduces the other team members:  Michael, Javier, Tristan, Drego and Mei-Mei. Each can be qualified as round and static characters. They are all very complex, mysterious even, and their personalities do not change much over time compared to Dahlia's personality. Myers use of this literary technique keeps readers constantly wondering if these teens are inherently good or bad since they are all toughened characters. They are quite a motley crew, and their actions emulate antiheroes. Nonetheless, they are together with one goal in mind. Lastly, Myers’ brilliant use of foils, Drego and Mei-Mei specifically, pits them against Dahlia. Their personal qualities contrast with Dahlia's, which in turn draws out her character.
 
What truly marks this as a thriller, coupled with Myers’ character techniques, is his choice of dialogue. Although much of the discourse is modulated (back and forth conversation), Myers incorporates moments of misdirected dialogue (where the conversation meanders across several topics) within formats and lingo that is very familiar to teen culture, like texting. This type of dialogue is filled with a plethora of inferences, which leaves readers to ponder final outcomes.
 
It is with great sadness to mention that this riveting novel will be published posthumously. On July 1st of this year, we lost one of the finest authors of young adult literature. Although Mr. Myers is no longer with us, his stories will go on forever. ON A CLEAR DAY may be set in a different time period, but the context of Myers’ fascinating story is, no doubt, relevant to what's happening in the world today.

Reviewed by Anita Lock on September 23, 2014

On a Clear Day
by Walter Dean Myers

  • Publication Date: September 23, 2014
  • Genres: Young Adult 12+
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 0385387539
  • ISBN-13: 9780385387538