on March 26th 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
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There’s a meteor headed for Earth, and there is only one way to survive.
With her criminal record, sixteen-year-old Char is never going to get a place on an Ark, one of the five massive bioships designed to protect Earth’s survivors. The Arks are reserved for the real goody-goodies, like Char’s mom, dad, and brother, all of whom have long since turned their backs on her.
With Earth on the brink of destruction, Char must use all her tricks of the trade to swindle her way into outer space, where she hopes to reunite with her family, regardless of whether they want to see her or not.
Once she arrives on the North American Ark, Char discovers that the remnants of humanity haven’t achieved the egalitarian utopia they’d planned for. For starters, the “Officers of the Peace” are anything but peaceful, especially since stealing a spot on an Ark is a crime punishable by death…
- Sail, by AWOL Nation
In The Ark, there’s plenty of blame to go around, and Char still isn’t sure where everything went wrong. That’s the vibe I get from this song, which, incidentally, is also quite a jam. Plus, you know. Sailing. Like on a spaceship.
- Unforgiven I and II
I love Metallica’s music, and this series in particular captures the pain, desperation, and ultimately acceptance that runs through many of their songs. It ties in really well with Char’s story, too!
- Just a Girl
The ultimate girl anthem. I feel like Char would love this song as much as I do.
- Unforgiven III
FINE, one more from Metallica. The Ark is a trilogy, and this is the third song Metallica has put out in this series. In the first two, I believe that Hetfield places the blame for his anguish squarely on others- society and a woman. In “Unforgiven III,” his perspective undergoes a radical shift, and he seems to condemn himself far more than everyone else. He’s contemplating the decisions he’s made and how they’ve shaped his life and his relationship with the darkness that constantly threatens to overwhelm him. “Unforgiven II” has an undercurrent of guilt as well, but this is the song where Hetfield’s introspection forces him through the darkness and toward something closer to acceptance.
- 22, by Taylor Swift
I love this song in connection with all YA storytelling. It does a great job of capturing the paradoxical idea that there is power in being uncertain about the future.
- Say It Ain’t So, by Weezer
Kid angry at parents. Char can certainly relate. This song is heartbreaking.
- Daughter, by Loudon Wainwright III
By contrast, this song is told from the perspective of a father. The singer has been open about how his relationship with his daughter changed him, and the mistakes he made along the way. I imagine that later in his life, Char’s father will go through the same process. If he lives that long.
- We Found Love, by Rihanna, featuring Calvin Harris
…in a hopeless place. This song fits The Ark so well because everyone on board is dealing with some level of hopelessness, but love is a human need as basic as food and water. It’s been interesting to think through how each character and group of people can find the resources they need while exiled from earth, and this is the main resource they’re looking for.
- Too Close, by Alex Clare.
This is how I see Char and one of the more problematic relationships in her life, for the time being. I bet you can guess which one if you’ve read the book 😉
- Wish You Were Here, by Pink Floyd
I get the feeling that the singer is fighting against himself, that he wants to participate in something worthwhile. He doesn’t want to stay home and be safe. The song also seems to touch on the idea that war can affect a person’s sense of self.
Many characters in The Ark have had to make a similar decision, especially Char. I think this is something she will continue to wrestle against, especially as tension builds among the other arks.
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