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Extended Audio Sample Rootless, by Chris Howard Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (322 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Chris Howard Narrator: Nick Podehl Publisher: Scholastic Inc Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Seventeen-year-old Banyan is a tree builder. Using salvaged scrap metal, he creates forests for rich patrons who seek a reprieve from the desolate landscape. Although Banyan’s never seen a real tree—they were destroyed more than a century ago—his missing father used to tell him stories about the Old World. Everything changes when Banyan meets a mysterious woman with a strange tattoo: a map to the last living trees on earth. Banyan soon sets off across a wasteland from which few return. Those who make it past the pirates and poachers can’t escape the locusts—the locusts that now feed on human flesh. But Banyan isn’t the only one looking for the trees, and he’s running out of time.

Unsure of whom to trust, he’s forced to make an alliance with Alpha, a beautiful, dangerous pirate with an agenda of her own. As they race toward a promised land that might be a myth, Banyan makes shocking discoveries about his family, his past, and how far people will go to bring back the trees.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Strikingly original with breathtaking plot twists, Rootless will haunt you long after you’ve read the last page.” 

    Jeff Hirsch, bestselling author of The Eleventh Plague and Magisterium

  • “There’s a brilliant madness to this deadly post-apocalyptic world, filled with complex characters, shifting loyalties, and layers of mystery.” 

    Publishers Weekly (starred review) 

  • “Mesmerizing. Howard emerges as a compelling new voice.” 

    CJ Redwine, author of Defiance

  • “Howard has a gift for the phantasmagoric image: the killing Surge that is this future’s ocean, the bark Banyan finds growing on a homeless man, the swarm of locusts descending for the kill and more.” 

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Fans of the Mad Max movies, The Hunger Games, and other blood-pounding, life or death adventures will find much to like here.” 

    School Library Journal

  • “In his ambitious debut, Howard constructs a crumbling, brutal, ignorant, mystical, and barren world, and he gets his environmental message across clearly.” 


Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Amy | 2/7/2014

    " "Rootless" is another young adult book about an ecologically broken future, however the twist on how the world is broken and possible was to survive in it are completely originally. There are no animals, there are no trees, and there are no plants other than GenTech's corn. Everyone lives off of GenTech's corn. Nothing else can survive the harsh environment. Without trees, there is nothing to block the wind, find shade from the sun, or help keep topsoil from blowing away. The only creatures other than humans are the locus. GenTech found a way to twist their corn's DNA so it can survive the locus, so the locus survive by eating the last food source: humans. Meet Banyan, he is a 17 year old tree builder just looking to make it through another day. Banyan uses scrap metal from a dead world to make his trees. His world is changed by stories that somewhere there are still real trees. This is a book about a broken world and broken people. The language is pretty clean but this is a harsh world and not everyone survives. It is the first title in a new series. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Sara | 2/4/2014

    " Agh. I wanted to like it, with the main character being a teenager who builds trees out of scrap metal for the evil rich people in the dystopia and all, but I just couldn't. I kept dreading going back to it, so after a week or so I finally gave up, even though I only had about 40 pages to go. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Kalejay | 1/11/2014

    " So good! I haven't read anything like this book before. It's so original and exciting and surprising at every corner. There's so much going on and it's really unpredictable. As soon as I think I know what's going to happen I'm proven wrong and I loved that about this book. It was completely refreshing to read, like it didn't follow any particular recipe that so many books follow. Excellent. I'm looking forward to the next book! Great job to Chris Howard for such brilliant writing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Erin | 12/19/2013

    " I really enjoyed this book! Imaginitive, exciting, spooky... The characters are mostly likeable (except when they aren't supposed to be!), and the ecologically-bankrupt future world Chris creates is believeable. As a young-adult fiction goes, I think this would've been a banned book in my own adolescence ... a compliment to it's edginess & its relavence to young people. I don't know many 7th graders, but I do know one, and he's getting this book for Christmas! "

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About the Author

Chris Howard, the author of Rootless, was born not far from London. He is an avid outdoorsman who taught forest ecology at Colorado State, worked for the National Park Service, and led teen wilderness trips around the world. He currently lives in Denver, Colorado.