Title: The Gardener
Author: S.A. Bodeen
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Page Count: 232
Why I read it: ARC tour
Publication Date: May 25, 2010
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.
This is the kind of YA that I really like, and should probably stick to. It's the kind that brings up so many questions and morality issues, and it really makes you stop and think. Or at least, you'll take time to think about things after you're done, because you definitely won't want to stop reading this one. It's a page turner for sure.
My one complaint on this book was that it was way too short. I wanted more story, and felt like we were just getting started. There is a lot more story to tell here. It was hard to get a great feel for the characters, mostly because it's told in first person narration, so we only ever get to know what Mason is thinking, and it's really the other characters who are the most interesting, and who have the most to tell us. I would have like to see this story in third person narrative, told from different perspectives. But I guess no book is perfect. It would be nice to read more books set in this world, but it's unclear if this is a start of a series.
I would highly recommend this one, and will be looking for more by this author.