Safekeeping

Karen Hesse. Feiwel and Friends, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-01134-3
Hesse (Brooklyn Bridge) beautifully captures the changing landscape of a journey, the wonder of discovery, and a fight to survive in a near-future novel set in the aftermath of a presidential assassination. A group of rebels called the American People’s Party has taken control, and prisons are overcrowded with those they’ve arrested. Radley, an American teenager returning home from doing volunteer work in Haiti, finds her parents gone and her Vermont home abandoned. Not knowing whom to trust or where she’ll be safe, she sets out on foot to Canada, befriending a reticent girl along the way. The two form a tentative friendship and manage to cross into Canada, where they begin a new, primitive life, relying on their wits and small acts of kindness from strangers. The first-person narrative (reflected a shade too obtrusively in Hesse’s 50 b&w photographs) intimately depicts Radley’s loneliness, her longing to regain what she’s taken for granted, and her delight in rediscovering simple pleasures, like eating a hot meal. Hesse’s story is a reminder of how compassion emerges during even the worst of times. Ages 14–up. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/06/2012
Release date: 09/18/2012
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