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4.6 12
by Chris Howard

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A dazzling eco-thriller set in a terrifying world with some chilling similarities to our own . . .

17-year-old Banyan is a tree builder. Using salvaged scrap metal, he creates forests for rich patrons who seek a reprieve from the desolate landscape. Although Banyan's never seen a real tree--they were destroyed more than a century ago--his missing father used to


A dazzling eco-thriller set in a terrifying world with some chilling similarities to our own . . .

17-year-old Banyan is a tree builder. Using salvaged scrap metal, he creates forests for rich patrons who seek a reprieve from the desolate landscape. Although Banyan's never seen a real tree--they were destroyed more than a century ago--his missing father used to tell him stories about the Old World. 

Everything changes when Banyan meets a mysterious woman with a strange tattoo, a map to the last living trees on earth, and he sets off across a wasteland from which few return. Those who make it past the pirates and poachers can't escape the locusts . . . the locusts that now feed on human flesh.

But Banyan isn't the only one looking for the trees, and he's running out of time. Unsure of whom to trust, he's forced to make an alliance with Alpha, a beautiful, dangerous pirate with an agenda of her own. As they race towards a promised land that might only be a myth, Banyan makes shocking discoveries about his family, his past, and how far people will go to bring back the trees.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In an impressive debut, first in a planned series, Howard introduces a devastated future devoid of trees, where omnivorous locusts plague the landscape, a ruined climate makes survival difficult, and genetically engineered corn is the only viable crop. Banyan, a teenage artist searching for his missing father, builds trees out of scrap for those aching for a touch of the past. When Banyan stumbles across a map to the rumored last trees on Earth, he and an unlikely group of allies are sucked into a perilous adventure, braving cannibals, poachers, pirates, slavers, and the omnipresent and insidious GenTech corporation. There’s a brilliant madness to this deadly postapocalyptic world, filled with complex characters, shifting loyalties, and layers of mystery. While convoluted and messy, it’s also a nonstop adventure, with wild concepts and an almost hypnotic quality to Banyan’s terse, weather-beaten narration. Lines like “I knew it was a day of endings, one way or another” and “One good thing about a world made of stone and steel, that world can’t burn for long” bring this unforgettable setting to life. Ages 14–up. Agent: Laura Rennert, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Nov.)
Children's Literature - Sarah Raymond
Imagine living in a world with no trees, no grass, and no animals except flesh eating locusts. This is the desolate world that the protagonist seventeen-year-old Banyan lives in. He makes a living by building trees with his father. A year after his father goes missing, he is commissioned to build a small metal forest for a man who eventually leads him on an adventure to find both his father and "the promise land"—a land where trees exist and there is more than just corn to eat. Banyan befriends an unlikely group of people as he journeys across the continent battling pirates, the elements, and GenTech, the company that controls the food, in search of the trees. The characters throughout the novel are interwoven like the roots of the trees that Banyan is so desperate to find—to the point of being unbelievable. Although Howard manages to demonstrate the desperation of those fighting to survive and the importance of having hope in a desolate world, it was difficult to get beyond the logistics of how anyone could survive with no form of vegetation except corn, or how the characters would continuously survive after multiple near death experiences. The novel is definitely action packed and in an age where global warming is a constant issue, it forces the reader to look at the value of something as simple as a tree. Reviewer: Sarah Raymond
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—In a worst-case-scenario future, climate change has taken a harsh toll. The waters are rising violently, the land that is left is a dusty wasteland, and the only thing still growing is the all-powerful GenTech Corporation's bioengineered corn (aka "superfood"). Banyan, 17, is an artist, like his missing father, creating whole forests out of scrap metal, plastic, and electronic components for the wealthy. Chance meetings with some unusual people send him on a quest to find Zion, which might contain not only the last remaining trees on Earth, but possibly his father as well. What he eventually discovers is unexpected, to say the least. Themes of loss, redemption, and sacrifice are explored, along with some big questions about science and family and love. Banyan is a strong character with believable motivation and behavior. There's a lot of violence and misery, but also a surprisingly sweet romance between him and the almost suicidally daring pirate Alpha. Supporting characters are well done. Fans of the Mad Max movies, The Hunger Games, and other blood-pounding, life-or-death adventures will find much to like here, and will look forward to further installments.—Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.30(w) x 5.50(h) x 1.30(d)
HL660L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 Years

Meet the Author

Chris Howard wrote songs, studied natural resources management, and led wilderness adventure trips for teenagers before he wrote stories. He currently lives in Colorado, and Rootless is his first novel. Visit him online at www.chrishowardbooks.com.

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Rootless 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I ckot a moues for shadowstar here it is for you. Can l join. He asks
Chancie More than 1 year ago
Something very unique and different than anything else I have read. The plot feels like Dr. Seuss's The Lorax meets Jessica Khoury's Origin. It has some dark turns with a very captivating story with strong narration and characterization with solid writing. Definitely recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a really great book. I enjoyed reading it very much; the writing and narration is very lyrical and tragically deep...it flows really well. The meat of the story itself is original and unique; I found it quite refreshing indeed. I found this book to be one-of-a-kind, and very much worth every penny. I highly recommend this read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
rootless was great book !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
  ..... "She spun and stared down upon me and I felt naked beneath the wildness of her eyes. I felt alive. Unknown. And I knew then that the World contained so many things I would never understand"...  In what initially seems to be an unimaginable place, the World created by Howard quickly encapsulates the reader and becomes all too conceivable through his vivid narrative. Intertwined story lines engage incredible intrigue and I ripped through Howard's first novel in one sitting and have already since read it another two times, plus purchased for all my holiday gifts to friends, family young and old. Pages turn with such eagerness to find out the next vital twist in an enthralling tale, I'm highly anticipating ROOTLESS to continue with more follow-up adventures. I consider this a must read and certainly an author for readers of all ages to learn about, follow and be excited for all of what's to come from his innovative and inspired mind.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rootless is a fantastic read and I can't recommend it enough! The characters, setting and the riveting story engage you from the very first page and keep you wanting more until the very last. Howard did an incredible job painting a dark and desperate world where the stakes are high and the quest to save the last glimpse of nature is reminder of just how precious our world is. The action and excitement kept my fingers flipping page after page, and I found myself unable to put the book down. I literally walked my daily commute with my nose buried in Banyan's journey until the very last second possible and anxiously awaited to enter it all day long. I can't wait to read the sequel and will be waiting first in line when it's released! Why are you still reading this review? Get yourself a copy and get lost in the world of Rootless now, you won't forget it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Chris Howard has a way with words that draws you in and makes you entwined with the characters in the story. Once you start reading his novel, it is hard to put down. He is immensely creative and I can't wait to read what happens in the next book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was initially drawn to the book because of previews I read on other forums about the plot. But once it arrived, I found myself unable to put it down. Full of imagery & easy to read yet still with dimensional characters, Rootless had me hooked. Luckily I've had several days off from work to completely rip through the book and explore world created therein. And I found the arc of the story kept me always wanting to read what Banyan and Company would be facing next. Not only will adults like it, but it's an easy, digestible, appropriate read for younger literary explorers, too. Additionally, super sweet jacket design.