Author: Joelle Anthony
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (May 8, 2010)
Reading Level: YA (6th grade up)
Source: ARC for review
Rating: 5 Stars
Description 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.
When I received the Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC) of Restoring Harmony, I was bogged down with books to read for book club or prior books for review. In addition, work/life was just really busy. Some books I have a gut sense that I am going to enjoy and I don't want to rush through them. I had that feeling about Restoring Harmony and I found myself carrying it around but not reading it because the time wasn't right. Finally, I had just the right time and I devoured the book in one sitting.
Let me just start with what I liked about the book...
I have discovered that I love books with short chapters. This may be a silly thing but it makes the book feel like a super fast read even if it takes me exactly the same time to read as any other book with the same number of pages. Additionally, it means that the book will go on my list to recommend to reluctant readers.
Another reason that this will go on my list for reluctant readers is that Anthony grabs you from the beginning and keeps you hooked in until the end. I really don't feel that as the reader I should wade through 75 or 100 pages before the book "gets good". My reluctant readers won't even hang in there for that many pages before giving up on the book.
My third reason for loving this book - I loved the characters. Molly is a wonderful protagonist. She is bright, tenacious, resourceful, and just plain likable. She is sent out on a journey to contact her grandparents and convince them to return to Canada with her. Molly embraces her mission and despite obstacles and set-backs plunges forward without giving up and without annoying the reader. Molly isn't the only character I loved. There is Spill. You really need to read the book - you will fall in love with Spill too. He is swoon-worthy in a very good way. I am adding him to my list of fictional crushes.
My fourth reason for loving this book - I truly appreciate books that have a sense of community in them and adults who are not all jerks. I realize YA is written from the perspective of teens, but not all teens hate all adults.
Just a few more things...I can share Restoring Harmony with readers from sixth grade on up. I appreciated the timeless feel to the book, and the dialogue did not annoy me. Have you ever read a book where the voice of the characters just irritated you? I have and it really is a turn off - not so with this book.
Finally, the writing of the book was wonderful. Anthony does an incredible job in describing her world, the struggles of the society, the challenges facing the characters, the emotions behind the words. There is intensity and darkness balanced with hope.
Joelle Anthony's debut novel, Restoring Harmony, is a wonderful offering and one that I hope really gets the attention that it deserves. I look forward to future books by this author.
Check out Joelle's blog for more information about Restoring Harmony and to listen to some related music or check out the wonderfully done book trailer.