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The Gardener

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  3,886 ratings  ·  514 reviews
Mason has never known his father, but longs to. All he has of him is a DVD of a man whose face is never seen, reading a children's book. One day, on a whim, he plays the DVD for a group of comatose teens at the nursing home where his mother works. One of them, a beautiful girl, responds. Mason learns she is part of a horrible experiment intended to render teenagers into au ...more
Hardcover, 233 pages
Published May 25th 2010 by Feiwel and Friends (first published May 1st 2010)
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Savanna Bleau No there will not be a second book. They are deciding if they do but they are unsure about it.

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3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,886 ratings  ·  514 reviews

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Feb 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own
be careful what you wish for ...
with the first few pages, mason shares with us a crucial chapter in his life. the day the neighbor's dog bit him, ultimately leaving him with a lifelong scar. the very same day he's being told some shocking news from his single mother:
"mason. i know i've always told you your father was ... gone. but it's not true. he just can't be your father right now." (arc, p3)

having said that his mother plays a videotape, revealing a man from the neck down, who's readi
Kara Cardwell
I figured I'd like this, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I knew what it was about from the book summary but I didn't know why the bad people were "growing" children. When I found out why, it was amazing that the reasons behind the experiments were something I'd been discussing in my science class (Too bad I wasn't still in school when I got my copy of the book).

I appreciated that this book talked about a realistic problem, one that becomes a bigger problem as time goes on. Because
Rebecca McNutt
Well, after three weeks in Florida without using Goodreads at all, The Gardener will be the first book I'm reviewing. :)

This book is one of those ones that I won't even remember a week from now, but one still with its positive things. Including a lot of actual science and educational facts behind the adventurous and slightly dystopian plot, The Gardener holds many themes, from hardcore environmentalism to family drama. Caught up in the midst of all this are three kids, two of whom live as best f
Wendy Darling
This book had a pretty interesting premise, but somehow needed more action and character development. It's not a bad book by any means, but perhaps could have used a little more complexity and intricacy in its plotting.

There are also lots of threads left dangling at the end, although one rather important one was tied off in a rather hasty way. It was an odd choice, and I'm not really sure what to make of it--although I have to say, I'm not all that motivated to find out.
Rachel Brown
The videotape of my father was never meant to be seen by me, and were it not for a chow mix ripping off half my face, the man might have remained only a mysterious void. But it was that day when I was five, that day of growls and blood and pain and screams, when I first heard my father's voice.

Growls and blood and pain and screams! You may think this makes me a mean person, but I read that bit and laughed. It's the "growls" that puts it over the top, I think.

Skip eleven or so years, and Mason is
May 15, 2011 rated it it was ok
Overall, this book earned a resounding "meh" from me. I didn't have any urges to burn it or anything, nor did it fill me with an unquenchable rage. I just found myself...disappointed.

Brace yourself, this is long. If you just need something short and sweet, skip to the end for the tl;dr version. If you want to hear everything... buckle up, I guess. I'm going to put it behind a spoiler warning, not because it has spoilers (anything that does will be hidden behind its own personal spoiler warning)
Oct 15, 2010 rated it it was ok
Two stars, but I could have easily just gone with one.

There are two main strengths in this book: the premise and the writing. The writing isn't really all that noticeable, except for the fact that it doesn't suck. Sometimes that's really all you can ask for.

The premise? Set in the present real world, Mason (I think) is a nerdy football player (right?) with a grotesque scar on his face, and feels isolated from most people. He's got his best friend Jack and his mom, and not much else. Except his
May 03, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult, sci-fi
Depending on how this book is pitched, it could either be science fiction or horror. The whole genetic mutation slant can totally be science fiction but creating a master race of kids that don't need to eat is kind of Children of the Corn-ish. Very creepy.

The plot was a little slow to start but once the robotic girl got involved, things got interesting. While I felt the writing dragged in some parts, alluding way too long as to what was all really going on, it kept me wanting to read until the e
Sep 22, 2010 rated it liked it
Can you sayYA Twilight Zone? You know how an episode starts off normal and then, bam something unusual happens. That’s how this book is, creepy and just a little weird. Did I mention I’m fan of creepy and weird?

This is the story of Mason who stumbles upon the towns’ biggest secret. TroDyn has been using humans as test subjects – cultivating a garden of self-sustaining life forms, autotrophs.

I enjoyed this book. It was a well written, short and very succinct story, only 232 pages and easily a si
Apr 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2010

Simply a irresistible & captivating read. S.A Bodeen does a great job at taking an important topic, and turning it into something uniquely new. I literally could not put this book down, and when I did I was left thinking about it afterwords.

The most fascinating thing about this book, is you really felt that you were on the run from something. Everything was fast, there was no time to catch your breath. And I loved that!! I really did!! The characters were all fantastic, and I didn't hate a s
Oct 25, 2010 rated it liked it
I get really irritated when covers/taglines for books give away major plot points. Or, conversely, I get annoyed when the thing on the cover is presented as a major reveal at the climax of the book. I probably would have liked this a lot more if this book wasn't major failing in this way. Really cool cover/concept, but don't act like we haven't seen it.

Anyway, I liked this for the local aspects (set in WA/OR), I liked it because it's one of very few strictly Sci-Fi titles I've read in a long ti
Chilling and entirely plausible, The Gardener tells the story of Mason, a high school sophomore who unwittingly uncovers an experiment in turning babies into autotrophs (organisms that can feed themselves). When Mason tries to rescue one of the test subjects - a beautiful girl his own age - he comes up against a powerful corporation as well as a tangle of secrets about his own past. There are some overly sentimental moments, and a couple of loose ends that tie up perhaps a little too neatly, but ...more
Aug 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is the first romance book that I actually loved. The writing is terrific and I didn't expect a book from a school library to be as wholesome and great like this one. This book is a mild-dystopian and projects what could happen if global warming goes to far. This gives me a new outlook on how humans are just animals when it comes down to it. I suggest this to anyone who likes a dystopian love novel or someone who is looking for a good book.
Ramona Wray
Jul 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Ramona by: Cillian
Shelves: young-adult
The concept was unlike everything I read in the past few years, WOW being the best way to describe it. Very predictable, though. I saw the twists and turns coming and I was little surprised by where it led. I guess that, past the scientific references, it falls under 'light reading' from my point of view. I liked Mason, overall, there were enough sides to him to keep things interesting. And the plot moved at a decent pace. But the concept ... I'll say it again. Wow!
Jan 09, 2011 rated it did not like it
A great story premise, just not very well executed, especially the ending.
Mr. Cool
Jul 04, 2013 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Personal Response : At first I thought this book would not be that interesting, but as I started to read it I was quickly shown that I was wrong. The beginning of this book seemed to start out rather strangely as it was too normal for the title of the book. Mason, Jack, and Laila seemed like wonderful characters, although Laila was a little mysterious. Mason in his scarred entirety seemed like he was a great and trustworthy guy.

Plot : The beginning of this book started out replaying how Mason a
Jeannie Mancini
Jun 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Future Steps in Evolution for the Fate of Mankind

Although S.A. Bodeen’s new sci-fi thriller The Gardener is somewhat predictable in its plot layout due to the cover subtitle blurb telling you outright what the story entails, and is formulaic in its execution, this new novel is still an outstanding science fiction read for teens and adults alike. This thought provoking book allows the reader to think ahead to the future of the human race and to the many problems our descendants will face regardin
Mason has a hero complex and when a video of his father reading The Runaway Bunny wakes a beautiful girl from her coma who has been institutionalized in the nursing home where his mother works, Mason feels that he has to help the girl escape this place she fears so much. Now he finds himself in a whole host of trouble being chased by those who want the girl back so badly, and from a man the girl only knows as “The Gardener.”

This novel is fast paced and exciting, but unfortunately it falls a li
Apr 06, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, boys, ya
Mason lives a small town in the Pacific Northwest with his hardworking, but troubled single mother. The town is centered and run around a scientific research company. Scarred at an early age from a dog attack, Mason is quiet and avoids being the center of attention, despite his linebacker size and stature. Most of all, Mason likes helping others and being a hero. It's this hero complex that gets him involved in the rescue of a mysterious and beautiful girl from the nursing home where his mother ...more
Jun 11, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
After viewing The Gardener's cover a few short weeks ago, I was so excited to get my hands on this novel. I was hoping for a great science fiction novel that possibly held a futuristic setting, or at least some type of futuristic element. Unfortunately, that is not exactly what I got.

The Gardener was almost nothing like I had hoped. Although the premise sounded encouraging enough, most of the novel focuses more on a cat and mouse type chase than actually uncovering the hidden secrets of the Gree
Apr 23, 2013 rated it did not like it
The Gardener By S.A Boden
340 pages

Mason comes across a girl with a group of three other kids. But they dont so look normal they have butterfly tatoos and scars on their legs and arms. His mother told him they are brain dead. But that could not be right because the pretty girl he just saw is looking straight at him and asking him questions. Now they must get away though because the Gardener is coming.

Can I just say I feel like I just wasted my time on this book? There was no plot! Other
Nov 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Usually when you hear the word “greenhouse”, you probably think of a glass building with plants inside. Normally that’s what I would think of too, but after reading The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen my mind thinks of something else. In this book, there’s a greenhouse, but not a normal greenhouse. Oh no, actually quite far from what you’d ever think. This greenhouse grows humans. Humans? You might ask yourself “Did I read that correctly?” The answer is yes.

Mason, a somewhat normal high school student
Tabitha Olson
May 09, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: recent-reviews
I read Bodeen's first book, The Compound, and really enjoyed it. The story was solid, the characters were fully fleshed out, and the pacing was riveting. So when I heard about The Gardener and the incredibly enticing premise, I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy.

The story opens with a great emotional hook as five-year-old Mason is attacked by the neighbor's dog. It also skillfully introduces how that moment triggers later events in the story, and I couldn't wait to find out how it was all
Arthur Pengerbil
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Reading Level: Grades 7-10

High school sophomore Mason has a fairly normal life, if you discount the ugly scar marring half of his hulky face; if you discount the disappearance of his father and his mother's drinking habit and tendency to require Mason to be her parent and not vice versa.

When Mason discovers that the Haven of Peace, the rehabilitation center his mom works at is not just for the elderly, but for brain damaged teens whose parents have given up on them in favor of experimentation o
Oct 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-review-copy
Don't even read the back of the book. It tells too much. Best you discover for yourself.

I was grabbed from the first page by the protagonist, Mason, raised by a single mother. At age five, he sees a videotape of his father, the same day his face is disfigured by a dog. He grows to be a large 15-year-old football player who protects the underdogs. Mason is encouraged by his biology teacher to apply for a special summer program. But his mother says, "NO!" From there, it becomes a high-speed chase
May 04, 2012 rated it did not like it
The idea was novel. I could read an entire series about plant humanoids. The problem was the execution. The end felt more like a massive info-dump than a moment of true epiphany. The characters were poorly drawn out. Most of them were tools and they sounded like one. The romance part really couldn't get any worse. If you like the girl just cos she's cute and vulnerable and make you look good like a hero, then admit it! She had zero personality (which was justified), amnesia and was prone to sudd ...more
C Solis-Sublette
Feb 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi-dystopia
The idea behind the book is interesting but, for some reason, this book was just not as interesting as Bodeen's previous novel. It could be the characters. Mason is presented as some kind of hulk-ish character that is somewhat super-heroic, somewhat pathetic, and somewhat just naive. Mason just couldn't sustain my interst. As for the willowy and suffering Laila, well....she's a super-woman in need of a savior? Bah. Maybe that was why the book couldn't hold my interest. Perhaps the power structur ...more
Fiona P.
Mar 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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HMSA Summer Reading: Book Review: The Gardener 1 10 Aug 05, 2016 03:50PM  
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Also writes as Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen.

Stephanie is the award-winning author of the Elizabeti's Doll series of picture books, as well as several others. Her young adult novels include the award-winning The Compound and The Raft, and her next YA The Detour releases October 2015. The first two volumes of her middle grade series, Shipwreck Island and Lost, are available now.
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