The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson, published by Random House, is not in a genre that I often read...fantasy. My mind doesn't usually grasp the action and the meaning of fantasy stories. This one is different. It is a MG/YA fantasy and I thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, I couldn't leave it for very long because I just had to know what happened next. In my opinion, that eagerness to keep reading only happens with a good plotline and characters. Dragonfly has both.
Our protagonist, Piper, is a scrapper. She lives in a town of scrappers. They must hunt and pick, that is, scrap, for their existence. Far away to the South there is a territory governed by a leader who marks those he protects with a tattoo of a dragonfly. Piper has never see the mark of the Dragonfly until the day she comes upon the wreckage of a caravan that seemed to be scrapping during a meteor shower, something that is forbidden. When Piper runs to check on the overturn wreckage, she finds Anna. Small, wounded, and suffering from amnesia, Anna is unconscious. Piper takes her home and soon sees the mark of the dragonfly for Anna is tattooed with it. Piper knows that the young girl is from the Dragonfly Territories and protected by their king. Is it a good thing or a bad thing that Piper has found Anna?
Piper, living in poverty by our standards and desperate for money decides that this young girl with the tattoo will bring a reward if returned to the Dragonfly Territories safely. The only sure way to get there is on the 401, an old, historic train. Since Piper has no money for two tickets, she and Anna slip aboard the train.
This is where the fantasy takes off. Piper's life, Anna's life, and those aboard the train they come to know, turns dangerous on the trip South. A green-eye boy, or is he a monster? Who or What is he? Other creatures of fantasy, and evil creatures of men make for a journey Piper and Anna will not forget.
Finally, is Piper really who she thought she was? Is she a 'monster', a fantastical creature, a freak, or an ordinary girl who has no special powers?
Publication day is March 25, 2014. Ages 10 and up, reading level 5th grade and up. Pick up a copy and meet Piper, Anna, and a host of other characters on a journey you won't forget.
After March 25: Available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon and other bookstores or online.