Safekeeping-- Karen Hesse

Release Date: September 18th, 2012
Genre: Dystopia
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Pages: 304
Amazon Link*: Click here
Goodreads Page: Click here
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
Blurb: The quickest and most simplistic way I can sum this book up is to say that it's a slightly less depressing, more feminine version of "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy-- with the added bonus of pictures.

Review: I didn't dislike the book. In fact, I kind of liked it. But it wasn't a "wow" book-- it wasn't different. Hesse seemed to recognize this while writing it, and decided to try and differentiate it from all the other post-apocalypse novels by supplementing the simple plot line with pictures she'd taken herself. The thing was, the pictures didn't always fit the story. At first, the pictures were pretty, artsy and in some places, invoked a moment of deeper consideration when they actually seemed to juxtapose nicely with the story. After the first few chapters though, the pictures only served as a reminder that the book was actually several dozen pages shorter than I originally thought. It took me a solid hour to sit down and read a 300-something page novel due to the full page pictures.

Even if I hadn't read it through in one sitting, the book was short enough that it didn't allow me time to get into the characters, or the setting. I was merely an emotionless observer in a story that had the potential to grip me. However, although my review is pointing towards failure, the book did redeem itself in the last twenty or so pages when it made me bawl. Up until the end of the book, the feel had been off. It had been relatively calm and for the most part, everything that happened to the two main characters was pretty lucky. Let me just tell you though, that book got REAL in the last twenty pages in a way I should have expected, but didn't. And I cried hard. I curled up in bed and cried, mostly because I felt like the author had betrayed me in setting up a nice, cozy little world, but had then bashed it all in the head in the last chapter.

Few books make me cry, and the ones that do nearly always earn a spot on my bookshelf, however, I passed the book onto my little sister instead. In the end, despite a few adult circumstances the main characters deal with, the book was somewhat juvenile in it's length and content. When my twelve year old sister read it, her only comment was that the pictures were distracting to her. She also has the emotional capacity of roadkill, so I doubt she did much crying at the end, either. If you're looking for a short, easy and interesting enough book for a road trip to Grandma's house for Christmas dinner, you probably couldn't go terribly wrong with this book. And when you get car sick and throw up all over it and render it unreadable, you won't even be that upset.

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2012
*I am an amazon affiliate. If you purchase this book using my link, I will get a tiny fraction of the purchase, which goes toward contests.


  1. Hm. Such an interesting premise, but we're sorry to hear it wasn't that successful for you... Still, a book that can bring a person to tears must be doing at least a few things right! ;)

  2. Is it really bad that I don't want to waste my time with books that are anything short of amazing? I probably won't end up reading this one haha.


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