Thursday, October 18, 2012

Review: Safekeeping

Author: Karen Hesse
Publish date: 2012
Source: arc from conference
"Radley just wants to get home to her parents in Vermont. While she was volunteering abroad, the American People's Party took power; the new president was assassinated; and the government cracked down on citizens. Travel restrictions are worse than ever, and when her plane finally lands in New Hampshire, Radley’s parents aren’t there.

Exhausted; her phone dead; her credit cards worthless: Radley starts walking.
" (Goodreads)

I received this book in a box of arcs/books given to me from a conference last spring. I put it in my classroom and when I was deciding what to read for the Readathon, I remembered Safekeeping and how much I loved one of Hesse's other books, Out of the Dust. However...this one didn't exactly stack up to her previous work.

I really like the basic premise of Safekeeping, but unfortunately did not like the execution. Since Radley doesn't know where her parents are (and we know that from the blurb), it added an element of mystery, along with the fact that something bad is going on in the US. The problem for me was...where is the world building? I felt like I had no idea what was happening to the country, why Radley's parents were MIA, and why she could just walk to Canada. Consequences for actions, like getting thrown in jail, made no sense. When she got to Canada, though, everything was hunky dory. Seems a little sketchy that Radley could cross a border and just be fine.

Another thing I had some issues with while reading was the photographs interspersed throughout. I am not saying that pictures can't be in a YA book: they definitely can, but in Safekeeping, they were distracting and didn't add anything positive to the story. Honestly, the photos just weren't good. Period. Half of them didn't even relate to the text on the page or story in general.

One last thing before I end what is basically a rant: I didn't like the ending and how preachy the book felt by that point. I won't spoil it, but if you've read it, you probably know what I mean. I honestly will not be recommending this to anyone and am pretty disappointed overall.

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