About the Book
Author: S. Smith
Genre: Middle Grade Dystopian
Number of Pages: 210
Synopsis: Two kids, two bikes, and an idea they can change their world.
It's 2077. There's no apocalypse, but some things are different. Things like the weather, the internet, and food. In twelve-year-old Clare's world, blueberry is just a flavor and apples are found only in fairy tales.
Then one day Clare meets an old woman who teaches her about seeds and real food. The woman (Ana) tempts Clare with the notion that food exists other than the square, processed, packaged food she has always known. Under Ana's tutelage, Clare and her friends learn about seeds and gardening despite suspicions that such actions are illegal.
When the authorities discover the children's forbidden tomato plant and arrest their mother, Clare and her brother flee. Clare has heard of a place called "The Garden State," and with their bikes, a little money, and backpacks, the children begin a lonely cross-country journey that tests them both physically and spiritually. Will they succeed in their quest to find a place of food freedom? And can they, only children, help change the world?
Treasure is a gentle dystopian, frightening only is the possibility that we may not be far from the future it paints. First in a five book series.
When Clare, Dante, and Lily meet Ana they discover she is a seed saver. Eager to learn all Ana has to teach them the children beginning meeting with Ana at the church. Through books and seed samples she empowers them with knowledge. Ana encourages the children to secretly plant tomatoes and carrots so they can experience the miracle for themselves. The children must be very careful because growing your own food is considered a crime and the GRIM agents already seem to be suspicious. Ana is uneasy about GRIM's increasing presence and the group decides to end their meetings. Ana's uneasiness proves to be right as Clare and Dante return home to discover their mother and tomato plant missing. Determined to find a place where people are free to grow their own food Clare and Dante flee to the north. Will the two be successful on their dangerous journey?
With the current popularity of the dystopian genre, Treasure is a wonderful book for children. There is no violence, zombies, or deadly plaque which can sometimes be too scary, in my opinion, for kids. There is however plenty of action with a dangerous quest and characters willing to risk everything to change the world for the better. I feel the book is well organized and flows easily with likable characters. The rich plot is original and thought-provoking. I had no trouble believing the story could one day become a reality as processed food increases its presence in our society. The children's adventurous trek and the captivating storyline will appeal to middle graders.
I highly recommend picking up a copy of Treasure.