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Review: Eden's Root by Rachel Fisher

Title: Eden's Root
Author: Rachel Fisher
Year Published: 2012

Genre: YA dystopian fiction
Pages: 366 (in an epub)
Rating: 4 out of 5

Challenges: Dystopian
Geography Connection (my Google Reading map): USA (various locations)

FTC Disclosure: I was given this epub by the author for review

Summary (from Amazon): It is 2033, and world hovers on the edge of explosion as unexpected crop deaths lead to severe global shortages. In the United States, the Sickness is taking lives slowly, creeping its way into every family. Fi Kelly has already faced the Sickness in her own family, toughening her beyond her years. But a shocking confession from her dying father will push her toughness to its absolute limits. Saddled with an impossible secret and the mission of saving her little sister, Fi sets out to transform herself into the warrior that she must become to survive the coming collapse. Along the way, she will discover that evil can be accidental and that love can be intentional.

Review: I have been in a reading slump and have had this book on my iPad for SO long! My apologies to Rachel Fisher, but I finished it and enjoyed it!

YA Dystopian fiction is all the rage right now and it is so refreshing to read one that is different from all the rest. While Hunger Games and Divergent (both of which I loved, don't get me wrong) take place after the "great disaster," Eden's Root takes place during the apocalyptic events that will surely change the US.

I liked finding out what the apocalyptic event is that will send this book's society into a dystopian world and it definitely wasn't what I expected. Fisher drew from our reality of genetic engineering of our crops, the processed foods we eat, and the chemicals in our lives causing cancers, crop failure and other illnesses and took it to the extreme (famine and Sickness). Good dystopian is science fiction, but it must be rooted in reality and this one is.

Though Fi is only 13 turning 14 she takes on the role of family leader in order to get her mother, sister, and family friends to safety. Safety is Eden, a colony set up by scientists with organic farming, clean living and a chance to survive. While this seems so far-fetched, it was believable as the Family (as they are called) works their way across the US encountering gangs, Others, survivalists, famine, destruction, and death.

I like that Fisher didn't just give us a dystopian novel of death and destruction. She weaves into it the concepts of family and friendship, commentary on our current approach to food (without being preachy), attitudes toward women and what people/families often need to do to survive. The characters are likable and well defined and don't deal with all-out war, but the more subtle experiences of a country on the edge (picture the Riots in LA after the Rodney King incident with looting, beatings, and killings).

I don't think I am giving any plot away when I say that they do make it to Eden, where life isn't as perfect as they all hoped. There is definitely room for a sequel.

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