Kay Wyatt has grown up in a world that, since World War II, has lived in a tenuous truce with the dragons that were once believed to only be legends. Her father works to maintain the border, keeping the people out of dragon territory and watching for any unusual dragon activity. Maintaining the peace, he calls it. Her mother is a biologist, studying everything she can about dragons, though there isn’t much, since the dragons have remained secluded in their lands for the last sixty years.
Kay likes to spend her time hiking but when one of her hikes takes her to the edge of Dragon territory, she meets a dragon and all her ideas about these mythical creatures changes. For one thing, they can speak English! And they are not the bloodthirsty beasts that she’s been led to believe they are.
Not all people are happy with the peace. Some think the dragons should be exterminated and are determined to find a way to start a new war. Can the dragons survive? Can Kay show people that they can happily co-exist?
Vaughn does an excellent job of balancing the issues of being a teenager–finding a boyfriend, peer pressure, being the child of the sheriff–with the fantastical elements. Neither set of problems overwhelms the other.
She manages to weave a comprehensible, believable alternate history for the United States (and the world) post World War II. It may not be the most unique story ever written, but there is something about the way it is told that is particularly appealing. There’s great description, solid characters, and enough heart-wrenching moments to keep you engaged and curious for more.