Book Review: Safekeeping by Karen Hesse

Radley just wants to get home to her parents in Vermont. While she was volunteering abroad, the American People's Party took power; the new president was assassinated; and the government cracked down on citizens. Travel restrictions are worse than ever, and when her plane finally lands in New Hampshire, Radley’s parents aren’t there.

Exhausted; her phone dead; her credit cards worthless: Radley starts walking.

Release Date: September 18, 2012
Age Group: YA
Source: Review copy from publisher

I was so impressed with Safekeeping.  I saw on the cover that Karen Hesse is a Newberry medalist and I can see why.  If this book does not win an award, I will be surprised. Safekeeping was such a powerful, insightful read.  I loved every second of it and could not put it down!  

Hesse included many of her own pictures throughout the book, which really added some depth to the story.  I wish that my ARC had contained color pictures, but even in black and white the pictures were moving.  

I was continually reminded of Cormac McCarthy's The Road while reading Safekeeping.  But, while The Road was not for me (read my mini-review on Goodreads here), I loved Safekeeping.  Hesse took a very serious subject and managed to keep the book from being depressing.  I look for my bookss to be entertaining and uplifting, and I was definitely uplifted after finishing Safekeeping.  

My other favorite element of Safekeeping was the tremendous amount of character growth in both Radley and Celia.  Both of those girls could have just given up at many points during their respective journeys: they both had so many terribly hard things happen to them, but they had such inner strength that they were able to keep going.  

The ending was a real surprise to me, especially the fate of Radley's parents.  But again, Hesse turned something sad into something moving and beautiful.  

Safekeeping is a relatively fast read.  The story is simply written, and with the inclusion of the pictures, some of the pages have very little script.  I finished the book in about an hour and a half (and I was glad I could finish it so quickly because I was very invested in how the story ended).  I would highly recommend this book!   


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