Donna Jo Napoli has written an engaging tale. It is a combination of the Noah story on steroids and a Clan of the Cave Bear or maybe Robinson Crusoe narrative. It seems that the world had grown so wicked, its people so corrupt, that God has decided to try again. Its heroine, Sebah, her little brothers, and her family are among the innocent who are challenged by the storm. Only she and another teenager survive; he lives just long enough to save her life and impregnate her in a raft he has fashioned from broken branches. She sees a huge boat and swims towards it, but he, a non-swimmer who has gotten weaker, will perish. Grabbing on to a stout rope hanging from its deck, she follows her kitten who is already climbing up towards the deck of the boat. Sebah, however, can’t make it until a strange little monkey, a bonobo, descends the rope and pushes her up from behind.
By now, dear reader, you must want to find out what will happen aboard that boat. Enough happens between Sebah, her mysterious giant stowaway lover (including a graphic description of childbirth), the animal pair who have become her family, all the other animals and the love interests, jealousies, and disputes among Noah’s children to keep you reading from one cover to the next without quibbling about the few missteps in dialogue that sometimes switches from our mode of expression to one stiffer and more Biblical sounding. Recommended for ages 16 and up.