Here's another in a long line of teen dystopian novels, but this one is a worthy addition to the genre. It opens with the US in uproar after the American People's Party takes power: travel is extremely restricted, people are disappearing, arrests are made, phone lines are intermittent, and the internet has been shut down (think about that for a second. Just think about it!). In all this turmoil, teen Radley Parker-Hughes is trying to return to her parents after a volunteer stint in an orphanage in Haiti. But when her parents don't meet her at the airport as expected, Radley begins a long, circuitous journey to try to reunite with her family.
The story wasn't necessarily action-packed, but it was a page-turner. As another reviewer said, it's not the Teen Takes on the Big Bad that you see so much of these days, but instead the narrative focuses on a more realistic survival story, which was a unique take and made the story feel very real to me.
This would have been a great book all on its own, but it was truly enhanced by the inclusion of the author's photography. To actually see the densely forested highway that Radley travels along on foot...well it made the story that much more compelling to my Colorado-based imagination (in which my brain portrays a "densely forested highway" as a highway with 20 or so trees per mile). I thought it was the pictures that made the journey so authentic to me, but even so I was not at all surprised to read in the "About the Author" that Karen Hesse traveled Radley's entire route on foot herself (at the same time of year, no less). No wonder it felt so real!
*I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley.