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.
Safekeeping is a very interesting book. The story is one that has been done before but Karen Hesse definitely makes it her own. While I felt it was a bit lacking it’s a good quick read for a rainy day.
Safekeeping takes place in a United States very similar to today’s United States. However there is one big difference: the president has been assassinated and the American People’s Party has taken over. Protesters are being rounded up and imprisoned and nobody is safe anymore. The main character, Radley, is volunteering in Haiti when all this goes down but she flies home immediately to be with her family. Of course nothing is easy and Radley returns home to find that her parents are not there. She sets off for Canada, a safe place to hide until things settle down and she can find her parents. Along the way Radley finds out more about the new America she is living in, herself, and her fellow Americans.
The biggest problem with Safekeeping is the lack of any background regarding what led up to the assassination and what later ends the craziness of the United States government. It’s pretty much treated like no big deal when it could have been the most interesting part of the book. There are a few brief mentions of things going on in the government after the president is assassinated but they are very few and far between. I guess it’s not really necessary to the story but it would have made it a lot more interesting.
Since the setting of the book is a little underdeveloped I expected this to be a rather character driven story but it wasn’t. Radley was severely underdeveloped and I never felt anything for her. She didn’t seem to have any kind of personality and she just didn’t make a lot of sense to me. As for Celia she was full of secrets and it made her seem really closed off and unfriendly. Even when her secrets were revealed I couldn’t connect to her and I didn’t even really like her. All the characters in the story were severely lacking any kind of personality.
The most unique aspect of Safekeeping was the images. Interspersed throughout the book were 50 of Karen Hesse’s photographs. Now while the images really added something unique to the book, it seemed like a lot of them had absolutely nothing to do with the story. Some of them very clearly went with the story but others were just there. They were beautiful images but they didn’t have anything to do with the story and they confused me as to why they were there. While I think the concept is fun, the execution could have been better.
Overall, Safekeeping really fell flat for me. Fans of Karen Hesse’s previous work may enjoy this one but I recommend getting this one from the library if you’re interested.
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