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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Book Review: The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen

The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Release Date: Available Now
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 240
Source: Received from publicist/author for honest review

Summary: Mason has never known his father, but longs to. All he has of him is a DVD of a man whose face is never seen, reading a children’s book. One day, on a whim, he plays the DVD for a group of comatose teens at the nursing home where his mother works. One of them, a beautiful girl, responds. Mason learns she is part of a horrible experiment intended to render teenagers into autotrophs—genetically engineered, self-sustaining life-forms who don’t need food or water to survive. And before he knows it, Mason is on the run with the girl, and wanted, dead or alive, by the mysterious mastermind of this gruesome plan, who is simply called the Gardener. Will Mason be forced to destroy the thing he’s longed for most?

My Review: The Gardener was an intriguing, fast-paced adventure! S.A. Bodeen's approach to Mason was well-written and helped me establish a means of his character. In his younger years, he was attacked by a dog and lived with the constant attention to his facial scar. I sympathized with Mason off the bat and gained respect for his courageous attitude. Once he visited his mother's job in the nursing home, his ability to roll with the punches surfaced. A girl, who he was automatically attracted to, snaps out of an awkward trance by the voice of his father reading on a DVD. His initial instinct was to get her help by escaping from the Gardener who she continually brings up. Half of the book questioned who this mysterious Gardener was and why this girl was lost and confused.

As the answers unraveled I couldn't believe the scientific experiments that went on behind closed doors. I don't want to give too much away but the creativity behind the theory of creating humans to be autotrophs was fascinating. I just wished Bodeen would of presented this experiment with a little more detail. During the runaway period, Mason and the special young lady formed a bond which I thought was sweet. My only negative aspect was the cover's false premise. It didn't actually live up to my expectations to a thrilling Sci-fi. However, The Gardener's plot was still an innovative approach to the slow destruction of our world. I might not agree with it but, I truly thought it was an original idea from start to finish. Finally, I enjoyed this novel and was pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

My Rating:
Author's Info:
S. A. BODEEN’S first novel, THE COMPOUND, earned her a “Flying Start” from PW and was chosen by YALSA as a Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. She lives in Oregon with her family.

For more info on S.A., visit her site(s):

Other books by S.A.:
The Compound
A Small, Brown Dog With A Wet, Pink Nose (Children's Book)


Juju at Tales of said...

I have been ITCHING to try this. I'm off to my library :)

cynthial11 said...

This sounds pretty awesome! I'll have to read it, thanks for the great review!

Dazzling Mage said...

Great review! I'll be on the lookout for this. =)

Faye said...

I agree w/ Juju, i should probably expand my reading more lol :D

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