by Karen Hesse
Safekeeping is a new dystopia novel that is so realistic, you will feel like it is something that could happen tomorrow. Set in the near future, the world is much like our world today. However, the President of the United States is assassinated at the beginning of the novel. This prompts the American People’s Party to take control of the government and institute martial law. The narrator, Radley, is in Haiti volunteering at an orphanage when the President is assassinated. She sets out to return home to her parents, because she is so worried about them, despite the warnings that it would be safer to stay in Haiti. When Radley returns to her home in Vermont, she finds the house abandoned and does not know what to do. Her home is not safe, and Radley is not safe since she has none of the new official documents or adults to take care of her. Radley does the only thing she can think to do: she sets off on foot to walk to Canada with the hope that she will find her parents there.
Along the way Radley has to survive on discarded food that she often finds in dumpsters, steal to survive, and get out of more than one threatening situation with dangerous people. The roads are not safe, so Radley sticks to the wilderness. It is there that she meets Celia and her dog. Though Radley is being cautious, she can’t help but stick to Celia. Eventually they begin to survive together. Will they make it to Canada? Will they both survive in the wilderness? Will Radley ever see her parents again? Pick up Safekeeping for a dystopian that is unlike many of the ones being published today. It is quiet but exciting, poetic and cerebral. Safekeeping is a novel that will keep you thinking about it long after you have put it down. Also included are photos taken by the author that make the story even that much more moving.