I just read Restoring Harmony by Joëlle Anthony (due for release in May), and I must say I really liked reading this book. I hate to also say that I have some complaints about it, but I do. I think Anthony is a promising writer. She paces her writing well and she has gotten the art of creating suspense down. At the end of each chapter is a hook to pull the reader on, and she plants plot elements throughout her story that surprise the reader later.
I liked her protagonist, Molly, instantly, and if it weren’t for that I probably would have found the futuristic world Anthony creates a bit too derivative; her world seems like any other dystopia I’ve ever read – perhaps more boring though. Molly is forced to navigate this futuristic America, a hostile place, and I liked that as a Canadian traveling to the states to find her grandparents, she is as new to the corrupt order as the reader is.
I was disappointed in Anthony’s treatment of Molly at times. Molly ultimately reaches her goal in the story by selling alcohol on the black market, and this fifteen-year-old girl – who seems completely inexperienced with men – ends up in a relationship with the twenty-one-year-old man she meets. Without giving too much away, I’ll just tell you that Anthony doesn’t reach hard for emotions when Molly has to part with her most precious possession. The moment calls for more and she just doesn’t deliver. Molly is very family-oriented, though. Her heart is with her pregnant mother who needs a doctor to deliver the baby, and she is devoted to the task of bringing her grandparents (her grandfather, a doctor) to live in Canada with them.
I’ll tell you that overall I liked this story. For all the problems I found with Molly’s character, I like a heroine who puts her family first, and this story is all about sacrificing for the people you love. It’s fast-paced and an interesting read that I think teens will get lost in. I know when I had to put it down I looked forward to getting back to the story. I’ll give it three out of five; a heartfelt dilemma and a strong protagonist on a sometimes mediocre background.