Book: Restoring Harmony
Author: Joelle Anthony
Rating: 4.5 Stars
The stranglehold of government is a strong but familiar theme in Joelle Anthony’s debut read Restoring Harmony, a young adult tale that is set in the near future after a global economic collapse thrusts the world back to its primitive roots. When the last drops of oil are seized by competing governments and hoarded, there is not much left to fuel the world. This inevitably thrusts the planet into a global economic crisis and industry comes to a standstill. In the years following there is still no end in sight. Borders are closed, regular utilities like electricity and water are at a premium and out of reach. Everyday men and women scrabble to just survive, and barter is the commerce of the times.
Despite Anthony’s stark setting, it is thoughtfully contrasted by its humble protagonist, Molly McClure who gently pushes into the hearts of readers with her effervescent patience and ageless wisdom. When Molly’s parents arrange for her to illegally slip into the U.S. to bring back her grandparents she finds that her carefully planned journey goes awry. Another world exists outside her safe farming community, that she never knew of- where people prey on one another. Each step of the journey is filled with its share of obstacles and the help of a mysterious boy, Spill ends up changing her life.
The budding attraction between Molly and the Organization’s “go to” boy Spill, is tender and fun. Spill’s aunt runs the Organization so there isn’t a way out from his life of crime. But Being in Molly’s sphere has changed him remarkably, and at the back of his mind he realizes there is another way to live in their broken world. Seeing this transformation and the growing relationship between them is the highlight of Anthony’s tale. It shines a brilliant light on the possibilities. When in some cases, hope has been forgotten.
Restoring Harmony is a hidden gem wrapped up in a dystopian wrapper because of the themes that Anthony illuminates. Rather than dwell in the past over lost lives, lost materialistic goods, and the endless pursuit of well…labor for others, Anthony poses an alternative through Molly and her family. Embracing their sheltered lives in their Canadian farming community, Molly and her family have learned to rely on the land, their hard work to provide as well as maintain a close knit community. Things like music and conversation in an age where technology has become mainly obsolete now are valued. Anthony prompts us to question our hardwire…to question ourselves …as well as question what exactly are the meaningful things in life…
A Fiendishly Bookish Review