Restoring Harmony

( 15 )

Overview

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...

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Restoring Harmony

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Overview

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 shouldfive 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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Adeptly combining adventure and romance, Anthony’s debut is a tense and often charming tale that never lets its use of the oh-so-trendy dystopian future trope overwhelm some great characters. Molly, a 16-year-old fiddler who lives with her family on a small Canadian island, sets out for Portland, Ore., to see to the health of her grandparents. Various environmental and economic calamities have made communication and travel difficult, and Molly learns many of the harsh realities as she travels south. Once she reaches her grandparents, lacking the money to return home, she puts her gardening skills to use to help her neighbors and meets a handsome boy who goes by the name of Spill. Her troubles are compounded when she learns of the local criminal organization, and her mother’s pregnancy makes getting back to Canada more urgent. Anthony occasionally misfires—some of Molly’s naïveté toward the outside world is overdone, and the complex rules the criminals follow are silly and contrived—but for the most part, the focus is on Molly’s toughness and ability to handle and overcome problems. Ages 12-up. (May)
Booklist
Anthony delivers a plucky heroine..., a taste of romance, and a family-values-based narrative about dealing with unexpected circumstances.
Children's Literature - Joyce Rice
It has been eight weeks since Mom has heard from the doctor in Seattle. That was when she received the call about her mother's hospitalization and the message that left Mom uncertain about her mother's condition, or whether or not she was still alive. Since Mom is pregnant, she is unable to travel from their home in Canada to Seattle where her parents live. Travel is difficult between the two countries because transportation has been run by the government since the Collapse of 2031. Most people in this farming community travel by foot or by bicycle, but to get to her grandfather and bring him to Canada now that he is alone, Molly will have to travel by plane and by train. Molly will have to travel alone except for her constant companion, her fiddle that she has named Jewels. After a very difficult trip that involved losing her shoes, being chased by desperate men and being befriended by many, Molly arrives in her grandparents' town of Gresham, only to discover that her grandmother and grandfather are still residing in the home they lived in fourteen years ago when her mom left her studies to be a doctor and moved to the farm in Canada. Involvement with a criminal element, a touch of romance and a young girl exemplifying strong traits of courage, responsibility and integrity make this futuristic novel a winner for young adults. Although it has elements of science fiction, it presents many realistic possibilities for our own future. This author will be winner among readers in upper middle school and high school. This is a worthwhile addition for the Social Studies/Civics curriculums. Reviewer: Joyce Rice
VOYA - Hillary Crew
It is 2041 and ten years since the "collapse" of the world economy. Oil is no longer available but sixteen-year-old Molly and her family sustain themselves on an island near Vancouver. When her grandmother is assumed dead, Molly, a dedicated fiddle player, is sent to Portland, Oregon to rescue her grandfather, taking with her the precious violin, "Jewels." It is a dangerous world off the island. Only with the help of the charming young man, "Spill," is Molly able to negotiate the journey to her starving grandparents barricaded in their large, empty house. She takes over next-door's vegetable garden, neglected by the dissolute Doug, and mothers two orphaned children left in his care. Meanwhile, she plots (with her grandfather and "Spill") their escape from the "Organization" (run by Spill's aunt). The best aspect of the book is Anthony's beguiling cast of characters. Molly is smart, plucky, and determined to do what must be done to fulfill her mission. Her crusty grandfather and the gangster-like Randall, both hard on the outside but softer on the inside, are well-drawn. Anthony describes the empty cities well, with their broken infrastructure and failing technology. But the threat of the "Organization" is muted during their escape as Anthony does not build a sense of real danger into this part of her story; and a polio outbreak episode seems extraneous. A plot that gathers pace and hurtles toward the end, and Molly's tender romance with Spill, however, enhance the novel's appeal. Reviewer: Hillary Crew
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up—This dystopian tale features a resourceful, spirited, and immensely likable heroine. Molly McClure, 16, has lived her entire life on a small island in Canada. Since the Great Collapse of 2031, her family has managed to create an oasis of security, growing their own food, using solar energy for power, and relying on bicycles and horses for transportation. When they receive word that Molly's grandmother is seriously ill, Molly's mother is deeply worried, further complicating her pregnancy-related health issues. Communications are sketchy at best, and Molly leaves the island to travel to Oregon and hopefully return with her grandparents (her grandfather, a retired physician, has long been estranged from his daughter). She bravely sets off, taking along her beloved fiddle for comfort and company. Already a risky venture, her quest is further imperiled by a run-in with the local crime organization and an outbreak of polio resulting in a border closure. Anthony sketches a world in which food and energy resources are in short supply and people struggle for day-to-day survival, creating a believable backdrop for her complex and charismatic characters. Though it doesn't break new ground, this book is a suspenseful and highly entertaining read that—despite the grim premise—is a surprisingly upbeat and hopeful look at the future.—Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK
Kirkus Reviews
Suspense dominates this absorbing and believable near-future dystopic novel about a girl sent to rescue her grandparents from the United States ten years after "the Collapse." Sixteen-year-old Molly travels alone in 2041 from her comfortable Canadian farm to a formerly affluent, now desperate neighborhood near Portland, Ore., where her grandparents struggle to survive in a barter economy. Molly meets a young man who seems to want to help her, but can she trust him? He appears to be connected to the organized-crime mob that runs Portland. Yet Molly may have little choice if she wants to get back to Canada. Anthony easily builds suspense and creates both an attractive personality for Molly and interesting characters to support her. Some people act morally, some eagerly steal and others may be deadly, but Molly holds fast to her mission and thinks as quickly as she plays her beloved fiddle. The author's vision of a future America following the failure of the oil-based economy makes realistic sense and keeps interest high. Highly readable; very well done indeed. (Science fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399252815
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/13/2010
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 781,463
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Lexile: 750L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Joëlle Anthony lives in British Columbia, Canada.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 15 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2012

    Excellent book

    This book was really good and I enjoyed every single part of it. It describes the dangers and surprises 16 year old Molly faces. I highly reccomend this book for fans of dystopian novels.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2012

    Good book

    Its not the most popular book. But the story is really good. A must read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A lovely tale of hope

    In our difficult current times, it's refreshing to find such a tale of hope as "Restoring Harmony". Although the story takes place after a severe global financial and social collapse, and is peppered with the darkness which would inevitably follow such a disaster, it's not a negative story at all. It is a story of a family which has embraced the important values in life, and built themselves a thriving home where the true joys of full bellies, a rich crop, and hard work fill their lives. It is a story of a young girl who steps forth on what, to us, seems to be an impossible task, and she manages to overcome every obstacle and bring her family even closer together. Through it all runs a gentle thread of young love and discovery of self that is simply enthralling.

    Though "Restoring Harmony" is written primarily for young adult readers, it is a story that will touch and inspire anyone who reads it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Courtesy of Mother Daughter Book Club.com

    Sixteen-year-old Molly is on the adventure of her life. Sneaking into the U. S. from her family's farm in Canada, she's on a mission to find out if her grandparents are still alive and living near Portland, Oregon. Travel is severely restricted in a time when most of the world's oil has run out, and governments tightly control what's left. Communication is sporadic, and Molly must adjust to changing and unanticipated circumstances before she makes her way to her grandparents' doorstep.

    She finds them alive, but they are eking out an existence with little food and no prospects for the future. Molly must convince them to leave the city and return to Canada with her, even though the journey is sure to be difficult and uncertain, with no way to determine how long it will take. She must also figure out a way to escape the local Mafia, which is intent on keeping her around after she overhears them threaten to kill a neighbor. But with the help of her new friend, Spill, she just might find a way for all of them to go home.

    Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony will transport you into life in the 2040s. Anthony paints a vivid picture of this world without ready gasoline. With no strong government to support infrastructure, organized crime controls most routine transactions. Food is hard to come by. Travel and communication is sparse. Health care is limited.

    Molly is a great heroine for her time. Raised on a farm, she has learned self-sufficiency, and she's not afraid to work. Spared of the realities of a tough city life, she still believes in the goodness of people. She plays the fiddle to restore her own inner harmony and to soothe others as well.

    Topics to discuss include the book's portrayal of this future world and book club members' own perceptions of what the future may bring. You can also talk about family relationships, adapting to uncertain circumstances, being self-sufficient, contributing to a community, discovering a new friendship, and finding a possible love interest. Anthony has a great book trailer as well as recordings of some of the music highlighted in the book on her website, http://joelleanthony.com/. I highly recommend Restoring Harmony for mother-daughter book clubs with girls aged 13 and up.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    2041 Isn't Look That Great

    The world of 2041 is so unlike our world today, but it is the only environment that 16 year old Molly McClure has ever known. Molly lives in Canada with her family and their quiet life is so set apart from the unrest that is constantly brewing just over the border in the US. When Molly's grandma is found to be ill, she is tasked with making her way across the border and getting her grandparents to come home with her. Once there, Molly realizes that the US is unlike anything she has ever experienced before. The streets are dirty and she is terrified of what could be lurking in every shadow. Molly manages to find her way to her grandparents, but it's not that easy to get them to leave their treasured home. Molly's fight to restore her family pits her in some dangerous situations and she comes to find that her new 'friend,' Spill, may not be exactly who he seems. Can Molly survive the dangerous world that the Collapse has created? Will her family ever be whole again? Is Spill really a good guy? You'll have to check out Restoring Harmony to find out.

    I must be on some sort of dystopian kick because I feel like I've been reading them quite a bit lately. I was excited to read Restoring Harmony, but I wasn't expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. Anthony has created a vast, dystopian world that could actually be a reality one day. The Collapse triggered the end of the world as we know it and even though Molly has always lived in that environment, she has never been fully immersed in it. Her experiences in the US ring so true and her 16 year old naiveté feels real and even endearing. The little love story between Molly and Spill is also a sweet journey. Molly doesn't instantly fall for Spill, but is actually a little wary of him. Their relationship can be seen developing throughout the book and we can see the blossoming of something more, which is such a nice change from how things usually happen in YA novels.

    This is far from a fast-paced, action book. A lot of the journey may appear to be mundane, but every single thing that Molly does is out of her devotion to her family and the life that is waiting for her. She is so determined to bring her family together and that determination stands as a beacon of hope in a downtrodden and dangerous world. The little family moments anchor the story and I was more than happy to see Molly's journey right to the end.

    Anthony has constructed a beautiful dystopian world, not just because it is realistic and vividly imagined, but because it isn't devoid of hope. The McClure's have been able to carve out their own little paradise and Molly only wants for her entire family to be able to experience that together. Molly's father gives her his beloved farmer's almanac and Anthony uses small excerpts from the book to begin several chapters. It is a very nice touch that gives the reader a little something more to hold onto Molly's life in Canada. Restoring Harmony is very much a character-driven, emotionally based story and I loved getting to know Molly and her family.

    Opening line: "When the plane's engine took on a whining roar, my grip tightened on my fiddle case." ~ pg. 1

    Favorite line (From the farmer's almanac): "December 24th - Other things may change us, but we start and end with family. -Anthony Brandt" ~ pg. 300

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  • Posted May 15, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Unforgettable Characters

    Restoring Harmony is set 30 years in the future and yet it has an old world charm. Much of this charm comes in the character of Molly. She is a smart, sweet, independent and resourceful heroine, who finds her way through the obstacles in her path and always does her best to help others. Although the future Anthony paints is bleak, Molly, her family, and their small island community provide a sense of hope that a new life can be created if this future should ever become real.


    I love Molly and I love the other characters that populate the novel. Her grumpy cynical grandfather, the funny and sweet children next door and Spill, the stranger who Molly isn't sure if she can trust but is drawn to anyway. Although the story whips along, with many twists and turns, it is the characters who make it really shine.

    Restoring Harmony is a delightful read, one which will make you want to learn the fiddle, go on a road trip and hug your family. It definitely has a star spot on my bookcase.

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  • Posted April 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Brilliant and Believable

    Restoring Harmony was like magic on paper. I actually felt as if I lived in 2041. Molly was the perfect Heroine with out even trying. While sent off to find her grandfather her journey began. The world that was created was Brilliant and Believable. You could feel all of Molly's struggles. The writing was smooth and didn't falter. The trip to her grandfather's was a trip she will never forget. She met Spill along the way. He was a praiseworthy character who was mysterious and generous. What a wonderful read! I just want to go on and on. Yet I don't want to give anything away. I am buying a hardcopy to add to my shelves. Don't just label this a YA book this crosses over into any generation. This is one of the best books I have read this year! I can't wait to read more from Joelle Anthony!

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