Restoring Harmony – Joelle Anthony

HarmonyFrom Goodreads.com: The year is 2041. 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 are financially ruined and practically starving. What should have 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.

Why I Chose It: My sister gave it to me for my birthday!

The Review:

There are a lot of aspects about Restoring Harmony that totally worked for me. The fist is the setting for the story. The year 2041 is not very far away, and I love that in the book the world is something I still recognize. This isn’t a dystopian story in the sense that the world hasn’t dissolved into an entirely alien atmosphere. Instead the world still feels very much like a world I know, there are just some very important changes, like the lack of an effective government, oil, money, and trade. There are also important events and decisions that are made that I think are entirely realistic – such as the closing of the border between Canada and the US, and the removal of most transport like airplanes. The story shows how crime lords can really thrive in these conditions, and take advantage of having resources others don’t. But a lot of people are doing okay, and these are the people who can fend for themselves, like Molly’s family, who farms their own food and trades with local farming families.

For the most part, I liked Molly’s character. She felt genuine, and was simply focused on getting her family back together. Even though she’s intimidated by traveling to the US and back, she does it, because it’s important. Unfortunately, Molly could be quite naive about things. This didn’t entirely surprise me, because she’d never really left her small farming community before and didn’t know what she was going to be facing, but she really irked me a few times. She was too willing to trust strangers and too eager to make people like her. I just wanted her to be a little more wary or have a little more fire in her. Then again, I do appreciate that Molly wasn’t the usual scarcastic, strong-willed stubborn character that I read too much of. While she had a certain strength in her, it was a very quiet, inner strength that came out when needed, and I liked that she was such a sweet girl.

Molly’s story is simple. She’s traveling to the States  to bring her grandparents back to Canada before the border closes. I liked reading about how simply traveling was really difficult. Things aren’t easy when there’s no money and the infrastructure is falling apart. There are desperate strangers to contend with, breaking down trains, and an entire lack of available directions or help. But even though the story might be considered too simple and even boring by some, this is what I liked about Restoring Harmony. Molly’s not going to war, she’s not climbing impossible obstacles or recreating a corrupt government – this is a story about a girl trying to cross a country that can no longer function. I just found so many aspects of this story believable. I could absolutely see this happening to our world. I loved that it was such a small story – just the story of one girl and her family. But to Molly, it’s a giant adventure, and I think it really shows how important family can be.

harmony2

Finally, I have to talk about the violin. Molly brings her violin with her on her journey because she can’t bear to be away from it. I both liked and disliked the violin. I think Anthony does a wonderful job of weaving it into the story and showing more of Molly’s character while she plays. It made the character much more beautiful and made me appreciate the story more. It added a folkish flare to the story that I thought brought a bit of west coast Canadian culture to the story. But there were times that the violin – and Molly’s character – really bothered me. She seemed to think that she could do no wrong while playing, and never really stopped to consider whether or not she should be playing it – or if people would want to listen to a violin. For me, this played into how naive her character could be. But she did use the instrument to her advantage and it helped her through the story, so in the end I did appreciate the beauty of the violin.

So, I found this book to be a much lighter, easier read than most dystopians I’ve read. It’s simpler and not so heavy to digest. There’s nothing overly shocking or astonishing about this book, it’s just a good story. So while I had some minor issues with the story it was definitely a pleasant read, and I would recommend checking this one out.

Rating: 4 / 5

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6 comments on “Restoring Harmony – Joelle Anthony

  1. Sounds lovely, a very different walk through dystopia. You make a good point about there being times it just wouldn’t be appropriate to play a violin…
    “Grandma’s dying! Stop that caterwaulin’!”

  2. I haven’t heard of this book before! I’ll have to look it up on Goodreads! I find the idea of a book dealing with crossing the border between the US and Canada during a crisis like that very interesting (maybe since I live so close to the border myself!)

  3. The Editors of Garden Variety says:

    Interesting…

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