Thursday, March 18, 2010

Restoring Harmony by Joëlle Anthony

Title: Restoring Harmony
Author: Joëlle Anthony
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
ARC, 300-ish pages
Date Published: May 13, 2010

Description (Taken from Goodreads)
The year is 2041, and sixteen-year-old Molly McClure has lived a relatively quiet life on an isolated farming island in Canada, but when her family fears the worst may have happened to her grandparents in the US, Molly must brave the dangerous, chaotic world left after global economic collapse—one of massive oil shortages, rampant crime, and abandoned cities.

Molly is relieved to find her grandparents alive in their Portland suburb, but they’re financially ruined and practically starving. What should’ve been a quick trip turns into a full-fledged rescue mission. And when Molly witnesses something the local crime bosses wishes she hadn’t, Molly’s only way home may be to beat them at their own game. Luckily, there’s a handsome stranger who’s willing to help.

Restoring Harmony is a riveting, fast-paced dystopian tale complete with adventure and romance that readers will devour.

The world of 2041 is so unlike our world today, but it is the only environment that 16 year old Molly McClure has ever known. Molly lives in Canada with her family and their quiet life is so set apart from the unrest that is constantly brewing just over the border in the US. When Molly’s grandma is found to be ill, she is tasked with making her way across the border and getting her grandparents to come home with her. Once there, Molly realizes that the US is unlike anything she has ever experienced before. The streets are dirty and she is terrified of what could be lurking in every shadow. Molly manages to find her way to her grandparents, but it’s not that easy to get them to leave their treasured home. Molly’s fight to restore her family pits her in some dangerous situations and she comes to find that her new ‘friend,’ Spill, may not be exactly who he seems. Can Molly survive the dangerous world that the Collapse has created? Will her family ever be whole again? Is Spill really a good guy? You’ll have to check out Restoring Harmony to find out.

I must be on some sort of dystopian kick because I feel like I’ve been reading them quite a bit lately. I was excited to read Restoring Harmony, but I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. Anthony has created a vast, dystopian world that could actually be a reality one day. The Collapse triggered the end of the world as we know it and even though Molly has always lived in that environment, she has never been fully immersed in it. Her experiences in the US ring so true and her 16 year old naiveté feels real and even endearing. The little love story between Molly and Spill is also a sweet journey. Molly doesn’t instantly fall for Spill, but is actually a little wary of him. Their relationship can be seen developing throughout the book and we can see the blossoming of something more, which is such a nice change from how things usually happen in YA novels.

This is far from a fast-paced, action book. A lot of the journey may appear to be mundane, but every single thing that Molly does is out of her devotion to her family and the life that is waiting for her. She is so determined to bring her family together and that determination stands as a beacon of hope in a downtrodden and dangerous world. The little family moments anchor the story and I was more than happy to see Molly’s journey right to the end.

Anthony has constructed a beautiful dystopian world, not just because it is realistic and vividly imagined, but because it isn’t devoid of hope. The McClure’s have been able to carve out their own little paradise and Molly only wants for her entire family to be able to experience that together. Molly’s father gives her his beloved farmer’s almanac and Anthony uses small excerpts from the book to begin several chapters. It is a very nice touch that gives the reader a little something more to hold onto Molly’s life in Canada.  Restoring Harmony is very much a character-driven, emotionally based story and I loved getting to know Molly and her family.

Opening line: When the plane’s engine took on a whining roar, my grip tightened on my fiddle case. ~ pg. 1

Favorite line (From the farmer’s almanac): December 24th – Other things may change us, but we start and end with family. –Anthony Brandt” ~ pg. 300

*This is the ARC version and words, sentences, cover art, etc. may have changed before official publication
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.


Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

It sounds like a captivating read. Thanks for the review.

elizabeth said...

Great review! Sounds very interesting.

Maria the Bookworm said...

Nice review! You really opened my eyes to this one :)

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