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Question: Post-Apocalyptic Australian YA - Humanity lives in self-contained biome skyscrapers that dot the radiation desert

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Asked by jdh94 on Wed 09, Aug 2017 07:54pm :
Hi All! Hoping someone can help me with a book that's been bothering me for
I remember reading it when I was younger, definitely primary school age
(around 2005-07).
Itís post-apocalyptic dystopia and I'm not sure if it's aimed for children
or young adults. Judging by the themes I'm about to list, I'd hazard a
guess that it's YA. 

The details that I can remember are: 
Setting: post apocalyptic desert. Humanity lives in sky-scraper builders
that have self contained biomes in them. These structures resemble trees,
with a central trunk from which 'branches' sprout that hold a biome. 

There is a population of indigenous people that live in the desert. They're
extremely poor, few in number, and have no access to the technology of the
people in the biomes. Their only relationship to the residents of the
biomes is myths and legends about the 'strangers in flying pods' that
kidnap them. 

Unbeknownst to them, they are closely watched by the biome dwellers, who
are studying them for their radioactive resistance - the biome dwellers
can't leave the biomes unless they're in hazmat suits, they're VERY
interested in studying the desert dwellers. 

The story is centred around a boy in the biomes and a girl in the desert.
The boy is referred to as explicitly white and the girl is explicitly
black, and if my memory serves she's actually referred to as an Aborigine,
an indigenous Australian. The setting of the book seems to be
post-apocalyptic Australia but I can't say for sure whether the author
themselves is Australian. 

The boy in the biome discovers (of course) that his life in the skyscraper
isnít as ideallic as heís been told, thereís significant wealth and
resource disparity within the biome. He goes on the usual journey of
bypassing the Big Brother system in the biome to explore the 'forbidden

There is definitely a significant amount of the plot centred around the
desert dwelling girl becoming pregnant! I remember this distinctly because
I was 11-12 when I read it and it was quite graphic. The pregnant girl is
kidnapped by scientists from the skyscraper to be studied. It's also
possible that she is the first/only pregnant desert dweller in some time.
This parallels the storyline in the biomes, the population of which is
heavily controlled by the head honchos. 

The boy somehow stumbles upon her and helps to free her from captivity. He
then discovers that (maybe) the stories of radiation poisoning in the
desert have been exaggerated 

I distinctly remember that the cover had a desert landscape with a bunch of
these skyscraper structures on the front. I know this isn't reliable as
covers can be updated or reprinted!

If anyone has any idea, please let me know! 
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