The Mark of the Dragonfly

markofthedragonflyWritten by Jaleigh Johnson

Piper is an orphaned but resourceful scrapper in the toxic meteor fields of the territories, where remains of treasures from another world crash to earth. She has a knack for finding things and fixing them. When Piper finds an injured, mysterious girl in the meteor fields, with no memory but tattooed with the mark of the royal family, they hop a mighty steam train and set off on a cross-country adventure to escape the marked girl’s mysterious pursuers and hopefully find safety and reward from the King. But nothing is that simple, and no person is as straightforward as they appear.
This book is notable because of its extremely unique and imaginative world-building, its one-of-a-kind plucky, internally divided, and engineering heroine (both engineering with mechanical devices and schemes), and its story full of adventure, action, and intrigue. It has one of the most mysterious and original fantasy worlds I’ve encountered in a middle grade novel, and although the story is basically resolved by the end of the book, I’m still left with questions both about what these characters will do next, and what will happen in this world as a whole. Perfect for starting a series; I hope it actually becomes one.

Try it if you like: Harry Potter, The Boundless, The Lost Kingdom, Gathering Blue/Giver Quartet.

Review by Joshua Whiting, Granite Library Media Program / Educational Technology Department
Rating: ★★★★½ (4.5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 4+

Piper lives in an area where dangerous meteors are constantly falling. She is a “scrapper”, one who goes in after the meteors are done and scavenges for things brought in from other worlds. The better finds they sell to continue their meager existence. While searching for her friend, she finds a caravan that is hit by the meteors and rescues a young child. She finds the mark of the dragonfly on the arm of the young girl. She decides to run and perhaps by returning the girl to the ruler (anyone with the mark is under their protection) that she can get some kind of a reward and set up a better life for herself. There are stunning revelations as to who the girl is and the danger they are really in. I would imagine there will be a sequel.

Review by Fay Mason, Churchill Jr. High Media Center
Rating: ★★★★½ (4.5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 7-10

Author Website:

The Mark of the Dragonfly
Written by Jaleigh Johnson
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
400 pages
Release Date: March 25, 2014
ISBN: 9780385376150 (hardcover)

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