Karen Hesse's books are always must reads for me. Typically the books she writes are historical fiction, which is certainly my cup of tea. When I saw Safekeeping was to be published, I instantly fell in love with the cover, but was somewhat surprised to read the synopsis, which sounded as though the book was dystopian.
The book is definitely dystopian, featuring a grim future in the United States. Interspersed in this story are photographs taken by Hesse herself.
Radley has been helping abroad in Haiti, but has now headed home after the American People's Party has come to power. Life in the United States has changed dramatically with power outages, food shortages, and overall chaos. When Radley's plane lands, her parents aren't there to greet her and despite traveling for many hours already, she must walk to her home.
Radley can trust no one and isn't sure at first what to do. As the days pass and her parents are still nowhere to be found, she comes up with a plan to walk to Canada, where the government is stable.
There is now a new normal in Radley's life, and things will never be the way they were before the American People's Party took control. Yet, Radley is a remarkable girl. She is able to find things to be hopeful about and ways she can help make an impact in the world.
Hesse's black and white photos are a perfect accompaniment to Safekeeping. I felt as if I were looking on the scenery Radley encountered on her journey. The story itself is fascinating, and while presenting a rather scary scenario, did so without totally freaking me out.
Safekeeping provides plenty of discussion points as readers can examine the choices Radley faced and try to gauge their own reaction in similar circumstances.