Dragonflies Get a Bad Rap

Is it just me, or have dragonflies become quite tacky? You say the word dragonfly and I picture a horrible, cheese-tastic Kevin Costner movie. So my expectations were – based on no real logic – quite low for Jaleigh Johnson’s Mark of the Dragonfly.

I’m happy to say I was wrong. The dragonfly has redeemed itself… a little bit anyway.

This particular dragonfly story centers on the story of a young woman named Piper. I see it as the step between the Polar Express and City of Ember.


Piper lives in a world that resembles the mining camps of early America. It’s dangerous, dark and while there’s a close knit community, it’s a close knit community that’s competing with one another for the food on their tables. In this world they “mine” for items out in the meteor fields where, surprise, meteors hit the fields. In a strange twist, the meteors are mined for the treasures they carry from Earth…

Moving on, things go awry for Piper when she sees a caravan out in the fields during a meteor storm and winds up saving a young girl named Anna. It turns out Anna is marked as a member of the Dragonfly Territories and Piper can get a reward – a big enough reward to start a new life – if she safely brings Anna home.

Complications arise when it turns out Anna has lost her memory and we see the evil Doloman chase after the girls. We’re introduced to more characters aboard the 401 (train headed to the Dragonfly Territories) in the form of Gee the pseudo-love interest, Jayne the boss and Trimble the loyal friend.

The train ride, of course, does not go as expected and we see Piper war with the balance of her own self-interest vs. her growing friendship with Anna. The story reaches a climax as Piper discovers both an ability that makes her quite unique and an unexpected revelation about Anna. Overall, it’s a quick, enjoyable middle grade to young adult read. Don’t expect too much and you’ll have a good time.

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