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Monday, 22 February 2010

Review: Restoring Harmony

Author: Joëlle Anthony
Release date: 13th May 2010 US
Genre: Dystopia
Target audience: 12+

Summary from Penguin USA:
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.

Review:
Restoring Harmony is a different kind of dystopia. This book gave me no fear of an impending doom. It almost showed me an idyllic scene of a future which returned human society to subsitence living. But I'm misleading you, 2041 does not mean life amid a rural countryside. We have not stepped into Lark Rise or Candleford (for those non-British readers this is an period drama adaptation of a novel by Flora Thompson which details the life in a English Hamlet and neighbouring town). Post-collapse America proves to be a tough existence for all those people not blessed to be part of the aristocracy. The oil has run out. There is nothing to fuel cars. Travel is a test of extreme survival. Enter our spirited 16 year old heroine Molly who has to journey from her small Canadian island to Portland, Oregon having barely any money and not being of legal age to cross the border. The journey tests Molly both emotionally and physically.

Molly is a brilliant narrator who is easy to love from the first page. She has lived on a farm with her family all her life and it is clear that her heart belongs there with the people and places that she loves. Molly's journey is not a naive girl's adventure but a necessity for her mother's health. Along her journey she meets the lovely Spill, a man of mystery who offers the hand of friendship. His presence brings a tender aspect to the novel and certainly gave me the dream of hope for both of their survival.

The plot obviously involved much moving from one destination to another; however, it was swift and gripping. For once, I enjoyed the experience of travel with a character. Molly's resourcefulness really made her journey a pleasure to read about and I really could not put the book down. Her voice is so easy to adore.

Overall, Restoring Harmony is an unusually easy dystopia to read. There are undoubtedly hardships and injustices in this novel. A future in which all the power resides with governments and organised crime agenices is perhaps one we should all fear. Yet there is a beautiful feeling in this book that people are returning to the land, to nuture the world in order to survive. It is an idea that I'm quite enamoured with. This is a wonderful story of survival, of friendship, of family and love. A brilliant read!


NB: A special thanks to Joelle for allowing me to borrow her ARC.
Also, just want you all to know that there is a much more articulate review of this brilliant book @ I Was A Teenage Book Geek. Lauren is not only one of my favourite bloggers but a dytopian expert and she says all you need to know about this book much better than I can.

20 comments:

Bookalicious Ramblings said...

Thanks for the review! I am quite intrigued by this one and I think I'll add it to my wishlist!

Lenore said...

I should be getting this one soon! Exciting!

YA Vampire Books said...

This one sounds interesting! Great review!

Luisa at Chicklish said...

I think this is a wonderful review - thank you very much. This is a really intriguing book!

Shweta said...

On my list.. Between your review and Lauren's I am already too excited for this book..

Jo said...

Great review, Becky! Not sure if I fancy this though. Dystopian novels generally aren't really my thing. I come across one every now and again that is pretty good, but this one just doesn't appeal to me. Thanks for the review though! :)

Book Crazy Jenn said...

Great review, I cant wait to pick this one up when it comes out!

brizmus said...

Heh, it's like a utopic dystopia. :-P I guess that's an oxymorong, though. This book sounds like a joy to read, and Molly sounds like the perfect narrator!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Fantastic review. You have me itching to read this now.

The Book Bug said...

Great review! I'm really looking forward to this.

Sasha said...

Excellent review! This may be embarrasing to ask but what is dystopia? I've never heard of it before lol x

Sarah said...

Fab review - I really like the sound of this one :o) Another one to add to my wishlist LOL

Becky said...

Sasha, no need to be embarrassed I had been an assitant librarian for a year before I'd heard of dystopia and it isn't in my huge Collins dictionary either. Dystopia - an imaginary place that is depressingly wretched (quoted in Bad Faith from Penguin English Dictionary. But in my mind it is any book set in a future world where human society has been a huge error and thus conditions are wretched.

Nina said...

This book sounds very interesting and good to read. Love the cover. Thanks for the wonderful review!

I Want To Read That said...

Hmm ... now I'm going to have to get this in hardback instead of waiting for the paperback - sounds really good:) Thanks for the review:)

Lauren said...

Great review. I've seen some iffy reviews on this. Though, with yours I know for a sure I'll be reading it now. It sounds amazing! :)

Kath said...

I'll for sure be adding it to my list! Great review!

Lauren said...

This is a really great, heartfelt review, Becky! I love that 'returning to the land' idea too, and I'm really glad you seemed to enjoy this one as much as I did. Let's hope it gets an official UK publication.

(And *big* thanks for the shout out - you're one of my favourite bloggers too!)

Lea said...

Ooh, incredible review Becky! I've been so curious about this one, and it sounds great! :)

Charlotte (The Book on the Hill) said...

Awesome review, thanks for sharing ! It sounds really intriguing. And I love the cover.

:)