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Safekeeping: A Novel of Tomorrow Hardcover – September 18, 2012
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From School Library Journal
“The realistic treatment of the experiences of ordinary people in suddenly harsh circumstances makes for an absorbing character study, and the tale is suffused with an understated sadness and a vivid sense of place.” ―BCCB
“Hesse offers some of her best in lavish descriptions of nature and mood…” ―Kirkus
“Hesse (Brooklyn Bridge) beautifully captures the changing landscape of a journey…” ―Publishers Weekly
“A masterfully written powerhouse of a book.” ―School Library Journal, starred
“Mature high school students will especially appreciate this book, perhaps as they embark on the next step in their journey of life.” ―VOYA
- ASIN : 1250011345
- Publisher : Feiwel & Friends; 1st edition (September 18, 2012)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 304 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9781250011343
- ISBN-13 : 978-1250011343
- Reading age : 12 - 18 years
- Lexile measure : 720L
- Grade level : 7 - 9
- Item Weight : 1.05 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.94 x 1.09 x 8.6 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,017,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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None of that turned out to matter, though. What this book mainly is, is a quietly introspective look at the things that we value. And it works very well. Radley reflects on how her parents gave her everything she needed, and wishes deeply that she had shown more appreciation. She wonders how she can make a contribution to society. And she cautiously develops new relationships in a dangerous and unfamiliar world. Looking at the themes that are developed, and how Hesse manages to do it in a way that doesn't feel heavy-handed, I can understand why she's won a Newbery medal for her previous work.
This book also includes an element that I personally always love: setting up a home in an isolated place with minimal supplies, and developing it from a basic shelter where one struggles to survive to a comfortable place that really is a home. It reminds me of stories about homesteading, and the Boxcar Children, and people shipwrecked on desert islands. Again, the survival element is done quietly, without a lot of intense struggle, but I found it very satisfying all the same. This is a powerful book in its understated way.
Safekeeping is set in present day after the US government has become unstable and a new, military government takes over. The news we see every day about unstable governments in third world countries is suddenly the US and that eerie sense of the familiar really sets the tone for the whole story. Radley comes back from charity work in Haiti to find that things back home has deteriorated at a rapid rate. The story, told in small chunks of narrative, knits together a story of one teen girl who might have been just a tad spoiled and follows her journey back to her parents. The "what if" aspect f this book was very gripping and a little on the scary side, quite frankly. The entire first half of the book is Radley alone which drags it down just a bit, but the story gains some depth when Radley meets up with emotionally damaged refugee named Celia who provides some perspective to Radley's story.
I saw a lot of different themes running through this story. The first thing that struck me was Radley's development from a teen with the comfort that she will always have someone to rescue her into someone who must learn to rely on her own wits and resources. The second aspect of the story that I noticed was how fragile everything we have is in our lives. The government was fragile, the societal structure was fragile, lives were fragile but even with that realization, Radley and Celia discover that they are stronger and more resilient than they imagined. Where the strength of institutions failed, the desire of the individual to survive proved to be strongest of all. Despite their dire situation, they are still able to find kindness which gave a bleak situation a ray of hope that kept the story from becoming too downtrodden. Safekeepnig was a different kind of dystopian, for me. Radley was not going to overthrow the new government and save the day. Instead, she took the much more realistic journey towards rebuilding her life and discovering her own strength which was a story worth telling.