Sunday, August 29, 2010

Review: Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony

Restoring Harmony
by Joelle Anthony
Release Date: May 13, 2010
2010 G.P. Putnam's Sons
ISBN: 978-0-399-25281-5
Hardcover Edition; 320 Pages
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Source: Review Copy from Penguin

4 / 5 Stars

Sixteen-year-old Molly McClure has only even known a life where she grows her own food, depends on solar panels for electricity, and relies on horse-drawn wagons and bicycles for transportation.  Since the Collapse of 2031, her family has fared better than most, thriving on their isolated farming island in Canada - but Molly knows worldwide devastation lurks just beyond the shores of her home.

When calamity strikes all at once, Molly is forced to leave the comfort of the island for the very first time, embarking on an impossible rescue mission in the U.S.  The year is 2041.  The oil has almost run out, poverty and crime are rampant, and food is in short supply.  Armed with only her ingenuity and sheer farming know-how, Molly braves a chaotic world where people are hungry and desperate, and no one is as they seem.  Luckily, there's a handsome stranger who's willing to help.

My Thoughts
Since being introduced to The Chysalids as a thirteen-year-old by a very astute teacher, I have loved dystopian literature.  While I wouldn't put Restoring Harmony on the same level as The Chrysalids, it was still certainly a riveting and entertaining story that gave me quite a bit to think about in terms of the future and what it could possibly hold for us as human beings. 

As a sixteen-year-old girl out of her depth and her comfort zone for the first time in her life, Molly was forced to deal with situations with which she was completely unfamiliar.  When she left the island, she was somewhat naive and young, but her journey changed her and towards the end we saw a young woman who was confident and capable; I enjoyed following her journey and watching her character grow and develop and make decisions for herself and her family.  She was an interesting character in whom I could easily identify.  I also liked how she turned to music, her fiddle Jewels was her most-prized possession, in order to soothe the soul and the scene when she finds her grandfather playing the grand piano and they share a quiet moment together with their music is one of my favourites in the novel. 

The descriptions of the future are somewhat disquieting and it certainly makes you think about what could happen if we do ever run out of oil.  They are definitely not meant to put you at ease, but to make you think and to make you squirm and to haunt you somewhat about the possibilities of a very different future from what we now have.  I've felt for years that we do not give our farmers enough credit for what they do, and this book has given me more of an appreciation for farming life and for what a lot of us have lost.  I have made it my goal to learn more about gardening and planting;  I have always wanted to have a big vegetable garden so maybe it's time to really learn as those are skills that would never go to waste.  And if it helps in a future like this one that could possibly happen...well, at least I wouldn't starve.  My, that was gloomy!!

The plot had some interesting moments in it where I was completely caught up in the story, but there were also times where I was not sure where the author was going with her ideas and some of it seemed disconnected.  There was definitely a little bit of everything in this novel though, intrigue, romance, and suspense.  I found the scenes towards the end very interesting as they entered Canada, but as a skeptic, I couldn't imagine it would be that easy, especially in those times, and especially with the borders closed.  And yet, Anthony writes in such a way that you become attached to the characters and you want them to succeed.

Anthony has given us a beautiful dystopian world that is created around family, love, courage, and hope.  We are introduced to a variety of interesting and quirky characters that make this novel  fascinating and fun, and if you are looking for some adventure and some intrigue, you will find some of that in here, too.  I am definitely looking forward to reading more novels from this author.


  1. I really love dystopian novels too and have been looking ta this book for a while now. It sounds really good! Thansk so much for the review! I'll make sure to pick this up :D

  2. I read this at the weekend and agree with your review :) Some parts were a bit cushion clenching. I enjoyed the family spirit of the book.