“Rootless” Chris Howard

ARC (Advance Reading Copy). Published November 1, 2012. Scholastic Press. 326 pp.

In this dystopian novel every single tree has been cut down, leaving a world filled with dust storms, no wildlife, and no source of food other than popcorn. GenTech, a rich corporation, controls the growing, buying and selling of corn killing anyone who dares grow or steal their corn.

Readers are introduced to this treeless, angry, starving and struggling world through the eyes of 17 year old Banyan. Raised by his father after his mother starved to death, they build metal trees for the rich to enjoy. His father disappeared a year ago, and clues seem to be leading Banyan to a land where real trees grow. Having only heard of living trees through legends and stories, Banyan is still determined to find and rescue his father.

On the way to this so called Land of Trees he meets a cast of characters who have their own nefarious reasons for wanting to find these mystical trees. Through Banyan’s journey, readers find plenty of shooting, murder, mayhem, love, and traitorous action that will please even the most reluctant of readers. “Rootless” is the first book of a planned series.

I found “Rootless” to be a thoughtful read, wondering if Howard’s interpretation of what could happen to our world due to man’s obsessiveness in destroying trees could soon become reality if the current state of deforestation continues to occur.

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