Monday, January 27, 2014

Rootless by Chris Howard

Pages 336
Source:  I purchased it
Genre: Middle Grade, Young Adult Science Fiction
Warning:  Mild Language

From Amazon:
17-year-old Banyan is a tree builder. Using scrap metal and salvaged junk, he creates forests for rich patrons who seek a reprieve from the desolate landscape. Although Banyan's never seen a real tree—they were destroyed more than a century ago—his father used to tell him stories about the Old World. But that was before his father was taken . . .
Everything changes when Banyan meets a woman with a strange tattoo—a clue to the whereabouts of the last living trees on earth, and he sets off across a wasteland from which few return. Those who make it past the pirates and poachers can't escape the locusts—the locusts that now feed on human flesh.

But Banyan isn't the only one looking for the trees, and he's running out of time. Unsure of whom to trust, he's forced to make an uneasy alliance with Alpha, an alluring, dangerous pirate with an agenda of her own. As they race towards a promised land that might only be a myth, Banyan makes shocking discoveries about his family, his past, and how far people will go to bring back the trees.

In this dazzling debut, Howard presents a disturbing world with uncanny similarities to our own. Like the forests Banyan seeks to rebuild, this visionary novel is both beautiful and haunting—full of images that will take permanent root in your mind . . . and forever change the way you think about nature.

My Thoughts:
When I read the premise of this book and read about the map on the woman's body, I immediately thought of the movie, "Waterworld".  The story is well written and carries you along at a steady pace.  The characters are well defined.  The author has done a great job of giving you one perspective of a character only to throw something in the main character's path that makes you look at the character again and re-think your feelings.  I have read several books over the last year that are of the dystopian type  that shows to what extent people will go to control society when things go wrong.  Banyan was hired by a man named Frost to build trees on his property.  The trees are made from scrap metal and lights.  It is the closest thing they have to a vision of real trees.  When Banyan meets the young girl who lives in the house with her mother, Frost and his son he learns from an item she has that his father may not be dead after all.  His journey to find his father leads him to learn that all that he has been told is not necessarily what  is true. When they mentioned the trash island he is taken to I immediately thought of the research some of our students did last year for our environmental unit. The researched "The Great Pacific Garbage Patch".  I wondered if this was the inspiration for the trash island.  This was a really great book.  The use of the words "damn" and "hell" were the only two curse words in the book.  I would suggest this book be read by 8th grade and above as it talks about the boys feelings toward a girl.  There is nothing lewd in the book.  It is just him mentioning his feelings of desire. unfortunately I hear this daily as I walk behind kids at school.  That doesn't mean I want to hear it or condone it.  It is however a fact of life that kids this age have raging hormones that we as adults try to keep a lid on.  That is the only reason I would recommend it for the upper middle school or high school student.  This is an author I had not heard of before and one I will definitely look forward to reading in the future, especially since this was just the first book in the series.

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