Cover image for Memory boy
Memory boy
Weaver, Will.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins Publishers, 2001.
Physical Description:
152 pages ; 22 cm
Sixteen-year-old Miles and his family must flee their Minneapolis home and begin a new life in the wilderness after a chain of cataclysmic volcanic explosions creates dangerous conditions in their city.
Reading Level:
570 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.4 5.0 46849.

Reading Counts RC High School 5.2 10 Quiz: 24517 Guided reading level: NR.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Young Adult
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Young Adult

On Order



Worldwide disaster strikes early in the new millennium. A chain of cataclysmic volcanic explosions sends a cloud of ash into the atmosphere--three years later, the ash is still falling. Sunlight is scarce. Food is rationed. Cities are becoming wastlands of looting and murder. And sixteen-year-old Miles Newell is sure his family is in increasing danger.

Escaping Minneapolis on the Ali Princess-- Miles's startling invention--the Newells hope to find comparative safety int he country. But as the family travel deeper into rural Minnesota, they find that people everywhere have changed. No one can be trusted.

In this gripping adventure, a family leave behind all they've ever known to journey into the wilderness and an uncertain future.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 7^-10. The post-apocalyptic future has never been so close or real as in this short engrossing read. It is July 2008, and the Newell family--consisting of jazz drummer father, feisty mother, and teens Miles and Sarah--leave suburban Minneapolis to escape to the safety and isolation of their summer cabin. Two years earlier, Mount Rainier exploded, causing global warming and the continual spread of ash. Crops are affected and food is beginning to run short; looting, rioting, and increased violence lead many to leave the cities. Miles cannibalizes the family's boat and bikes, cleverly producing a pedal and wind-powered vehicle, which gets them to their cabin, now occupied by two other families who refuse to leave. A poignant subplot involving Miles' oral history project provides the key to the family's survival. Vivid characterizations, nonstop action, and an entirely plausible plot combine for a thrilling story that begs for a sequel. --Debbie Carton

Publisher's Weekly Review

The year is 2008, two years after a massive volcano has wreaked havoc in the United States. The air is polluted with ash, crops keep failing, fuel is scarce and looting is rampant. Sixteen-year-old Miles knows that the only way for his family to survive is to head to their cabin in the Minnesota wilderness. Relying on knowledge passed down to him from an elderly friend, Mr. Kurz, Miles constructs a man-powered vehicle out of bicycles and sailboat parts to transport himself, his parents and younger sister. Suspense builds steadily as the traveling foursome contends with hostile strangers, including road bandits and a sheriff who has allowed his relatives to occupy their cabin. Though it looks like the Newells have reached a dead end, Miles forms another plan. In an imaginative and plausible rendering of a futuristic society, Weaver plants enough familiar details so that readers can relate√Ąincluding Dairy Queens and McDonald's restaurants (though meals cost 10 times as much), plus Miles's memories of school, suburbia and Mr. Kurz's nursing home. Although danger lurks around every corner, audience members will rest assured that Miles, armed with good instincts and highly developed mechanical skills, will be prepared to combat whatever roadblocks his loved ones meet. Ages 12-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8-10-Set in 2008, this novel takes place two years after Mount Rainier and several other volcanoes in the Cascade Range have erupted. Ashy fallout is destroying the environment across North America, and civilization is breaking down. Sixteen-year-old Miles and his family leave their increasingly dangerous Minneapolis suburb on a bicycle-powered vehicle with a sail that he designed. They head for their lakeside vacation cottage to wait out the chaos. Squatters bar them from their residence, but Miles comes up with an alternative plan. In the days just after the eruptions, he took part in an oral-history project for school and befriended an elderly man who spoke of living off the land in the north woods near the headwaters of the Mississippi. The man died soon after, but Miles remembers the directions to a hidden cabin and the basics of fishing, hunting, and gathering berries. In the end, they reach the cabin, and Memory Boy, as Miles's sister dubs him, realizes that these recollections will ensure his family's survival. The narrative alternates between the postapocalyptic present and the teen's account of his visits with Mr. Kurz. Miles is a likable, skateboarding wiseacre, bright and good with his hands, full of fear and bravado, and always secretly hoping for his father's approval. The other characters are not so well defined, but the menacing scenario will appeal to reluctant readers. A fast-paced survival story.-Beth Wright, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington, VT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.