The Edge of Extinction by Laura Martin, a series of two books published in 2016 and 2017, provides a dystopian Jurassic Park tale for middle-graders. Plucky Sky Mundy, in an underground colony in what once was northern Indiana, is just one of a few hundred humans alive, survivors of a plague. Biologists had cloned dinosaurs from their DNA, and at the same time had loosed this ancient disease, deadly to nearly everyone. After the great human die-off more than 100 years ago, and amid huge carnivorous beasts, living underground became the only safe place.  Or that’s what she’s been told.

In the first book, The Ark Plan, Sky most of all wants to find news of her scientist father, who vanished five years ago when she was seven. Her mother died when she was a baby, so she’s an orphan in a group of people who’ve been told not to like her. She does have a best friend, though, another orphan, Shawn.

When Shawn uncovers a letter from her father calling on her to leave the compound and deliver a computer chip to someone in the middle of Lake Michigan, Sky decides she has to go. Shawn goes too. Their progress in the open air is fraught with attacks by dinosaurs and the need to avoid the underground colony’s marines, who are trying to capture them.  They also discover that the underground-dwellers are not the only humans alive, but existence topside is precarious.

Can they even get to Lake Michigan? And if they do, how will they locate someone who’s in the middle of it? On the journey, the marines seem to have an uncanny sense about how to find them.  But how could there be a snitch?

I really enjoyed this series—not just the suspense of being chased, but the apparently conflicted decisions of Shawn. In fact, I found myself re-reading it. I’ll give it five stars: * * * * *

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