The Ark by Laura Liddell Nolen


The Ark by Laura Liddell Nolen
Published by: HarperVoyager
Publication date: March 26th 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

There’s a meteor headed for Earth, and there is only one way to survive.
With her criminal record, sixteen-year-old Char is never going to get a place on an Ark, one of the five massive bioships designed to protect Earth’s survivors. The Arks are reserved for the real goody-goodies, like Char’s mom, dad, and brother, all of whom have long since turned their backs on her.
With Earth on the brink of destruction, Char must use all her tricks of the trade to swindle her way into outer space, where she hopes to reunite with her family, regardless of whether they want to see her or not.
Once she arrives on the North American Ark, Char discovers that the remnants of humanity haven’t achieved the egalitarian utopia they’d planned for. For starters, the “Officers of the Peace” are anything but peaceful, especially since stealing a spot on an Ark is a crime punishable by death…

Suzy: I love the premise of your book, can you tell us more about the story that inspired it?

Laura: I’m not sure I can put a finger on exactly why I needed to write a story about the end of Earth. I wanted the story to be reminiscent of an old-school space adventure, but told through the eyes of a young girl struggling for survival. I wanted her to be resourceful but not particularly wise yet, and to have a strong desire for redemption without fully understanding what that might involve. I wanted to explore the breaking down of polite society during a big catastrophe. So an end-of-the-world scenario seemed like a good fit!
In the end, The Ark turned out to be about a girl who can’t seem to get it right. Sixteen-year-old Charlotte Turner has been behind bars, off and on, since she was twelve. Even before that, she felt trapped– hemmed in at every angle by her parents’ relentless drive toward status and achievement. But at least in juvy, people seem to get her. They call her by her chosen name, Char, and they even pronounce it correctly: with a hard ch, as in charred. Something that got burned.
But when The Ark begins, Char really is trapped. She’s stuck in prison, and there’s a meteor headed straight for earth. Because of the date of her latest conviction, she’s ineligible for a spot on an Ark. The most she can hope for is to apologize to her family, all of whom have been awarded salvation. She doesn’t know whether they’ll stop by the prison before they leave, but if they do, she hopes not to botch her final chance to make things right before she dies.
The idea is that the closer she gets to redemption, the more of an outlaw she becomes. In the end, it’s about Char’s journey toward knowing herself, and humanity’s endless quest for survival and peace.

Laura grew up in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where she spent an excellent childhood playing make-believe with her two younger brothers. The Ark is the direct result of those stories and a lifelong devotion to space-themed television. It received a Work in Progress Grant from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Laura has a degree in French and a license to practice law, but both are frozen in carbonite at present. She lives in Texas with her family.


  1. Great post, ladies! I love survival stories and it's always fascinating to see what humans will do to survive!

  2. Thank you so much for the detailed article.Thanks again.
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