Corinne Zilnicki's Reviews > Restoring Harmony

Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony
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Aug 10, 2011

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Read from August 10 to 11, 2011

For a book set in a bleak dystopian future where the world has run out of oil and society has all but totally disintegrated, this is a surprisingly light-hearted, sweet little story. It has a different feel from many other YA dystopian novels, probably because it focuses more on family, the importance of compassion, and the joy of music rather than fast-paced action, violence, and dark mystery. Instead of a futuristic society where a questionable new set of mores have settled into place, we're simply left with the crumbled remains of our current rules and customs.

Molly McClure, our musically talented young heroine from Canada, is the heart and soul of the book. She is saddled with the duty of [illegally] jumping the border to the US, tracking down her estranged grandparents, convincing them to return to Canda with her, and then making the arduous journey home. The most exciting sequences in the novel take place during the trips out of and back to Canada, and between them is a pleasant lull. While Molly is stranded at her grandparents' house in the USA, she befriends her neighbor's orphaned children, revitalizes his vegetable garden, forms a friendship with her elusive crush "Spill," and clings to the hope that she will soon return home. She also plays her fiddle, Jewels, to pass the time and stay optimistic. A love of music enriches the entire novel and is probably one of the book's best features. Just as poetry as an important facet of Matched, music plays a vital role in Restoring Harmony. Jewels the fiddle, personified both by her name and by Molly's love for her, actually seems like a legitimate character.

The writing style is easy and fluid; I read the entire thing in a day. It wasn't the action or intrigue that kept me hooked, it was the pleasant way the story was written and the characters were developed. Readers looking for the mind-blowing, bone-rattling shocks and injustices found in books like 1984, This Perfect Day, and even The Hunger Games might be disappointed by this calm little adventure. Restoring Harmony's aim is not to reveal a horrifying vision of a hellish future or to run your heart through a paper shredder, as far as I can tell. But I don't think every book has to pack a teeth-chattering punch in order to be worthwhile. It's more about the importance of family, friendship, hard work, and faith. This book reminds me of an American Girl novella written for a slightly older crowd. With that being said, I prefer something with a little more grit, badassery, and danger.
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08/11/2011 page 107
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