ANTHONY, Joëlle. Restoring Harmony. 307p. CIP. Putnam. 2010. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25281-5. LC 2009029501.
Gr 6 Up–This dystopian tale features a resourceful, spirited, and immensely likable heroine. Molly McClure, 16, has lived her entire life on a small island in Canada. Since the Great Collapse of 2031, her family has managed to create an oasis of security, growing their own food, using solar energy for power, and relying on bicycles and horses for transportation. When they receive word that Molly’s grandmother is seriously ill, Molly’s mother is deeply worried, further complicating her pregnancy-related health issues. Communications are sketchy at best, and Molly leaves the island to travel to Oregon and hopefully return with her grandparents (her grandfather, a retired physician, has long been estranged from his daughter). She bravely sets off, taking along her beloved fiddle for comfort and company. Already a risky venture, her quest is further imperiled by a run-in with the local crime organization and an outbreak of polio resulting in a border closure. Anthony sketches a world in which food and energy resources are in short supply and people struggle for day-to-day survival, creating a believable backdrop for her complex and charismatic characters. Though it doesn’t break new ground, this book is a suspenseful and highly entertaining read that–despite the grim premise–is a surprisingly upbeat and hopeful look at the future.–Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK