Safekeeping - Karen Hesse
Welcome to a distant future in America where the President of the United States has been assassinated and the American People’s Party has taken over. Radley, a seventeen-year-old, was sent by her parents to Haiti to volunteer in an orphanage, but when she hears about the turmoil in America she is determined to get home to her parents. She jumps on the first plane she can with the hopes that the man who runs the orphanage can get a call through to her parents by the time she lands. After waiting at the airport for hours it is clear to Radley her parents aren’t coming. She gets a ride to the bus station so she can get home on her own, but when she arrives she finds out that strict travel restrictions have been put in place that will prevent her from purchasing a ticket without approval signed by the government allowing her to cross state lines. Even worse, the APP has declared Martial Law and is putting anyone who even seems to be a problem in jail. Exhausted, with no cash, worthless credit cards, and a dead cell phone, Radley does the only thing she can – walk. Radley walks until she can’t take another step, rests in as much safety as she can find, and eats whatever she can get in her hands. When she finally gets to her neighborhood and sees her parents’ cars in the driveway she feels an amazing amount of relief – that is, until she realizes that no one is home and that the police keep knocking at her door. Finally, after she’s eaten everything in the house that wasn’t spoiled, Radley decides to go North and attempt to cross into Canada to avoid the APP and hopes she'll find her parents eventually.Safekeeping is told in first person and a lot of it is Radley’s thoughts and observations of the world around her. Karen Hesse does a fabulous job showing Radley’s character development. She changes from a very sheltered and taken care of kind of girl to someone able to survive on her own. This is a frightening look at something that could easily happen in our world and I think that is why this story is so compelling.