Rummanah Aasi
   Dystopia is usually defined as a society characterized by human misery such as oppression and disease, and majority of the time the horrible status is caused by humans themselves. I enjoy reading dystopic novels because I am forced to see the flaws in humankind and I am curious as how humans get themselves out of their own mess. I came across an enjoyable dystopic novel called Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony. 

Description: The year is 2041. There is no oil in the world, food is scarce, and crime is rampant due to the Collapse of 2031. Molly is on a fun trip to United States. She must convince her grandfather to come back to her family farm in British Columbia, Canada,  and be the island's doctor. Molly's exciting trip soon becomes a scary, rescuing mission, which tests Molly's strengths, confidence, and will. She faces an unknown world where people will do almost anything to get what they need.Will a farm girl like Molly survive in this upturned world? Will she be able to return with her grandpa in time for him to help her ailing mother? Can she trust anyone to help her achiever her goal? And to what extent is Molly willing to go in order to get back to British Columbia with her grandparents safely?

Review:  I really enjoyed Restoring Harmony. It has a great balance of the light and dark aspects of Molly's world. While there is hardly any food available or limited resources due to the Collapse of 2031, Molly reverts to her farming skills and her music to help her and her grandparents survive. Molly is a character that I really liked. She is resourceful, ingenious, funny, and warm. Although times are tough for her, she doesn't whine but looks for a solution. Her optimism is what keeps this book from being too dark. Though her naivete of the city life is a bit of a stretch, I love that Molly is determined to get back home to Canada. 
    In addition to great characters, there is also adventure and a dash of romance that made me what to keep reading. Unlike most books that I read, the romance does not take over the plot but it does, however, offer a shining light that things will be okay for Molly. The romance is sweet and chaste. 
   While serious science fiction readers may think Restoring Harmony doesn't fit the genre, I would still highly recommend it to readers who liked  Life As We Knew It, but thought it was a bit too real for them. Anthony creates a world where family matters and a sassy, smart, hopeful, fiddle playing heroine must face obstacles after obstacles. I couldn't help but cheer Molly on and I hope you do too. I look forward to reading Anthony's second novel.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some mild language and violence, but nothing more than a PG movie. I would easily recommend it to strong fifth grade readers and up.

If you like this book, try: Memory Boy by Will Weaver

Resources: If you would like to use Restoring Harmony for a book discussion, here is the discussion guide. Be aware the study guide contains spoilers!

Stay tuned for an upcoming author interview with Joelle Anthony!
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