Mandalay Hawk's Dilemma

The United States of Anthropocene

Children - Social Issues
226 Pages
Reviewed on 12/26/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Peter Aronson is a former journalist and attorney and now he writes books for middle-grade readers. In 2015, Peter realized that global warming was the biggest problem in the world. He decided to write a book that middle-grade readers could relate to, about kids fighting climate change because adults have really messed up. The book is a novel set in 2030, but there is a lot of truth behind it. This is Peter's third middle-grade book. To learn more, please visit

    Book Review

Reviewed by Francis Mont for Readers' Favorite

Mandalay Hawk’s Dilemma: The United States of Anthropocene by Peter Aronson is an extremely important novel, written for middle-grade students but it is equally informative and, most of all, motivational for any age group, from 6-year-old to adults. It deals with climate change as it plays out in the US in 2030, less than a decade from now. It extrapolates existing trends to a completely believable yet horrifying status quo in which the devastation caused by massive storms, flooding, and extremely high temperatures is matched only by the total apathy bordering on boredom by both the citizenry and their leaders as they respond to one weather-related disaster after the other; except for three 14-year-old students, inspired and led by Mandalay Hawk, a determined young girl who wants to save the planet. Learning from the failures of past protests, she wants to do something different on a much larger scale. She has to overcome opposition from parents and teachers at first, then the whole American establishment. Her motto is “failure is not an option.” Will she succeed in her near-impossible quest?

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this captivating novel. It is very well written; the language is perfectly tailored to the intended audience. Anyone who has had the experience of raising teenage girls (including this narrator) will find both the characters and their psychology completely believable. The pacing is alternating between sensitive descriptions of relationships on one hand and breakneck speed action parts on the other, keeping the reader on the edge of their seat. The plot and storyline are ingenious. Mandalay manages to fulfill her aim of doing something never tried before, bold and different that eventually leads to her objective of forcing a confrontation with the powers of the country – small and large. The novel is also a goldmine of information on every aspect of the science and history of climate change, describing how and why we got from current trends to an unbearable near future. I was particularly impressed by the seldom heard, yet unanswerable argument that if the US government could instigate massive changes to all walks of life, both private and business, so the country would be prepared for WW2, why isn’t the same possible today when the country is facing a far more severe existential threat by climate change? In addition to all that, the novel is highly entertaining. I can truly recommend Mandalay Hawk’s Dilemma: The United States of Anthropocene by Peter Aronson to both young and old alike.

Pikasho Deka

Mandalay Hawk's Dilemma: The United States of Anthropocene by Peter Aronson is a middle-grade children's adventure tale set in a not-too-distant future. It's the year 2030. Global warming has crossed dangerous levels, causing large-scale devastation all over the planet through catastrophic hurricanes, rising sea levels, heat storms, etc. After being forced to evacuate their home in Maine due to a destructive storm and thrown out of her school because of vandalism, fourteen-year-old Mandalay Hawk moves to New York City with her father, Tom. Frustrated by the apathetic attitude of the adults in power, Mandalay forms KRAAP, an underground protest group seeking to fight against global warming. Now, alongside her friends Jazmin and Gute and thousands of young teenagers, Mandalay must brave scorching heat and the National Guard to march to the Oval Office in Washington, DC.

A heartwarming tale of courage, determination, and iron will, Mandalay Hawk's Dilemma: The United States of Anthropocene is as entertaining as it is enlightening. Author Peter Aronson delivers a much-needed poignant message to readers that is becoming increasingly relevant as the days go by. With a fast-moving plot and vibrant characters, Aronson tells a gripping tale of a young teenager trying to fight against the establishment to save humanity and the planet. Mandalay is a riveting protagonist who you can't help but root for. Inspired by the teachings of Martin Luther King and fuelled by a strong will, she never hesitates to fight for what's right. I had an absolute blast reading it. Kids and young adults should definitely give this adventure odyssey a look.

Natalie Soine

Mandalay Hawk’s Dilemma: The United States of Anthropocene by Peter Aronson begins in Maine in the year 2030. Thirteen-year-old Mandalay took it upon herself to fight companies that contributed to global warming, causing high temperatures and natural disasters, naming her caper The Big Shaboozle. Mandalay and her two friends, Jazmin Morjani and McKenzie Patooma (Gute), are trying to survive extreme extended heat waves - The Big Heat - the evolution of calamitous environmental and meteorological circumstances. The three decided to learn everything they could about climate change. They then arranged a rally which they called “an encounter”, inviting teenagers to march from New York to The White House to deliver a message and their demands to the President. The children are faced with a heatwave, lack of food and water, and intervention from security forces. Would they have the determination to succeed in their quest?

Mandalay Hawk’s Dilemma: The United States of Anthropocene is a fantastic story that brings to light the effects of climate change and the impact it has on our future. Peter Aronson does a wonderful job of delivering an important message through the brave actions of one young girl. The characters in the novel all bring meaning to the story, including the teachers, parents, and children. The futuristic scenes and locations are made believable by Peter’s writing and by the data and information he provides. If every person would read this book and take heed of the warnings, we could save our planet. All-round a great novel, highly recommended to children and adults. It should be included in the school curriculum in all countries. Well done, Peter Aronson.