Synopses & Reviews
Radleys parents had warned her that all hell would break loose if the American People's Party took power. And now, with the president assassinated and the government cracking down on citizens, the news is filled with images of vigilante groups, frenzied looting, and police raids. It seems as if all hell has broken loose.
Coming back from volunteering abroad, Radley just wants to get home to Vermont, and the comfort and safety of her parents. Travel restrictions and delays are worse than ever, and by the time Radleys plane lands in New Hampshire, shes been traveling for over twenty-four hours. Exhausted, she heads outside to find her parents—who always come, day or night, no matter when or where she lands—arent there.
Her cell phone is dead, her credit cards are worthless, and she doesnt have the proper travel papers to cross state lines. Out of money and options, Radley starts walking. . . .
Illustrated with 50 of her own haunting and beautiful photographs, this is a vision of a future America that only Karen Hesse could write: real, gripping, and deeply personal.
"Hesse (Brooklyn Bridge) beautifully captures the changing landscape of a journey, the wonder of discovery, and a fight to survive in a near-future novel set in the aftermath of a presidential assassination. A group of rebels called the American People's Party has taken control, and prisons are overcrowded with those they've arrested. Radley, an American teenager returning home from doing volunteer work in Haiti, finds her parents gone and her Vermont home abandoned. Not knowing whom to trust or where she'll be safe, she sets out on foot to Canada, befriending a reticent girl along the way. The two form a tentative friendship and manage to cross into Canada, where they begin a new, primitive life, relying on their wits and small acts of kindness from strangers. The first-person narrative (reflected a shade too obtrusively in Hesse's 50 b&w photographs) intimately depicts Radley's loneliness, her longing to regain what she's taken for granted, and her delight in rediscovering simple pleasures, like eating a hot meal. Hesse's story is a reminder of how compassion emerges during even the worst of times. Ages 14 up. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"A masterfully written powerhouse of a book."--School Library Journal, starred
"...what stands out most is Trinkets clear voice and loving heart, both of which will endear her to readers.”--Kirkus, starred "A masterfully written powerhouse of a book."--School Library Journal, starred
"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
"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
“By turns tender and terrified, Jenna Lamias voice brings tight focus to this first-person account of 17-year-old Radleys efforts to find her way home after political upheaval rocks the U.S…Lamia holds on to listeners sympathy for the dumpster diving heroin, who is so fearful that she never musters the courage to ask whats going on as she focuses on day-to-day survival.” - AudioFile Magazine, winner of AudioFile Earphones Award
“Narrator Jenna Lamia delivers an entertaining, top-notch performance; her reading of this first person tale is crisp and well paced, and she proves completely convincing playing a maturing teenage girl, lending Radley a youthful voice that is soothing and earnest. Because of her quality narration, the audiobook is compelling throughout.” - Publishers Weekly
“Jenna Lamia provides expert narration.” - School Library Journal
“The focus of the story, set in the near future, is primarily on Radleys emotions and fears, and Lamias reading pace and varied pitch highlight the teenagers uneasiness.” - Booklist
About the Author
KAREN HESSE is the winner of the MacArthur Genius Award, and the acclaimed author of more than twenty books for children, including Brooklyn Bridge and Out of the Dust, a Newbery Medal Winner. She has received numerous honors for her writing. She lives in Brattleboro, Vermont.
Reading Group Guide
- When Radley returns home and her parents arent there, why does she assume they are in jail?
- What does Radley miss most about her parents?
- What regrets does Radley have concerning her actions toward her parents?
- What is the difference between Radleys and Celias ideas of family? How have their families molded their beliefs about family?
- Why does Radley consider the orphans in Haiti her family?
- How does Celias “new” family help her overcome the pain of her past?
- What is friendship? What role does it play in the lives of each of the characters?
- When Radley returns home, the one person she seeks out is her friend, Janine, but she doesnt consider contacting Julian. How does Julian prove his friendship to Radley?
- How do Radley and Celia become friends? What helps them bond?
- How could Jerry Lee be considered a friend?
- How does Our Lady of the Barn help Radley and Celia?
- What kindnesses are shown to Radley as she travels to and from her home in Vermont?
- How do Radley and Celia repay the kindness that is shown to them?
- What role does Julian play in Radley and Celias adventure?
- How does the title of the book relate to the theme of overcoming challenges?
- What are the challenges that Radley and Celia overcome?
- What challenges does the society in general face?
- What challenges does Celias pregnancy add to the story?
- Why is Celia so unwilling to trust Radley when they first meet?
- When Radley discovers a boy asleep in her bedroom, she instinctively knows she can trust him. What is it about Julian that she trusts?
- Why does Radley begin to trust and depend on Our Lady of the Barn?
- What steps will the government need to take in order to regain the peoples trust and confidence in their decisions and leadership?
Grief and Loss
- How does Celia cope with the loss of her innocence?
- What emotions does Radley experience as she grieves the loss of her parents?
- Radleys way of life changes as a result of the government downfall. What steps does she take to ensure her future will be positive and full of love?
- How does Julian also suffer loss and grief?