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Safekeeping: A Novel of Tomorrow Audiobook, by Karen Hesse Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Karen Hesse Narrator: Jenna Lamia Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2012 ISBN: 9781427227218
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (700 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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Radley's parents had warned her that all hell would break loose if the American People's Party took power. And now, with the president assassinated and the government cracking down on citizens, the news is filled with images of vigilante groups, frenzied looting, and police raids. It seems as if all hell has broken loose.

Coming back from volunteering abroad, Radley just wants to get home to Vermont, and the comfort and safety of her parents. Travel restrictions and delays are worse than ever, and by the time Radley's plane lands in New Hampshire, she's been traveling for over twenty-four hours. Exhausted, she heads outside to find her parents—who always come, day or night, no matter when or where she lands—aren't there.

Her cell phone is dead, her credit cards are worthless, and she doesn't have the proper travel papers to cross state lines. Out of money and options, Radley starts walking. . . .

This is a vision of a future America that only Karen Hesse could write: real, gripping, and deeply personal.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “By turns tender and terrified, Jenna Lamia's voice brings tight focus to this first-person account of 17-year-old Radley's efforts to find her way home after political upheaval rocks the U.S…Lamia holds on to listeners' sympathy for the dumpster diving heroin, who is so fearful that she never musters the courage to ask what's going on as she focuses on day-to-day survival. AudioFile Magazine, winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

  • Narrator Jenna Lamia delivers an entertaining, top-notch performance; her reading of this first person tale is crisp and well paced, and she proves completely convincing playing a maturing teenage girl, lending Radley a youthful voice that is soothing and earnest. Because of her quality narration, the audiobook is compelling throughout. Publishers Weekly
  • Jenna Lamia provides expert narration. School Library Journal
  • The focus of the story, set in the near future, is primarily on Radley's emotions and fears, and Lamia's reading pace and varied pitch highlight the teenager's uneasiness. Booklist

  • Among longlisted titles for Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year, 2013

Listener Reviews

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  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Chalida | 2/19/2014

    " A new young adult about dystopian USA. A girl returns from volunteering in Haiti to find her own country a nightmare. She travels by foot from New Hampshire to Canada. The beginning and ending of this book were interesting. While Hesse uses her own photos to track Radley's journey, the journey itself was boring to me and that takes up the bulk of the book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Diane | 2/16/2014

    " When the President of the United States is assassinated and a renegade political party takes over (American People's Party), the country is in chaos. Radley is in Haiti, helping at a children's orphanage when she hears the news. All she wants to do is get home to her parents. But when she arrives back home, there is no sign of them and it seems that the police are after her. Have her parents been arrested for their vocal outcry against the APP? Radley heads to Canada to wait out the chaos. Here she meets Cecilia, a girl who is running not from the chaos of the country, but from the chaos of her own life. A decent plot but things just seem to be a little too convenient throughout the entire story, especially the last third of the book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melissa | 2/11/2014

    " Decent, thought-provoking survival story that should appeal to teen girls. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brenda | 2/9/2014

    " I cannot express how disappointed I was with this book. I adore the author's earlier work and was so looking forward to reading it. But I just did not connect or buy in to the premise. The contrivances, the timeline, everything was just too convenient to me despite little moments of lovely writing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anne | 1/30/2014

    " This feels like such a departure for Karen Hesse, and I often like to see an author branch out in new directions. Protagonist Radley is on a goodwill mission working with children in Haiti when the assassination of the U.S. president and subsequent takeover by the "American People's Party" occurs. Radly makes her way back to the US, but finds a dystopian world unlike any she has ever known. Using photographs by the author, who actually walked the journey she has her main character take, we see a privileged teenager learn to survive, first on her own, then in community. This is a milder HANDMAID'S TALE (Margaret Atwood) but unfortunately, just as possible and chilling. I like how Radley grows and changes from the beginning of the book until the end and think this could be a thought-provoking book for group discussion. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Claire | 1/30/2014

    " Great atmosphere but I wish there had been more specifics about the government situation. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marla | 1/27/2014

    " Radley arrives home to America during a time of rebel uprising, the country is crippled, and she had now money, no phone, and no way to contact her parents to tell them where she is. So she has little choice but to walk from the airport in New Hampshire to her home in Vermont. She has to forage for food daily, and when she finally arrives at her home it is empty with no sign of her parents. It's a true survival story and gives the reader a lot to think about as the adventure unfolds. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Miz | 1/24/2014

    " In the sea of post-apocalyptic young adult novels, this quiet contemplative story comes closer to home. In an imagined near-future America, when the one-note American People's Party is elected and the President is assassinated, martial law is declared and all dissidents and protesters are arrested. But the story does not dwell on the particulars of the protests and crack-downs and we are not following rebel defenders of the American way of life. Instead, remaining deliberately vague on such large-scale details, the story intimately and more realistically follows Radley as she struggles to survive on the outskirts of this new society. Radley was volunteering at an orphanage in Haiti when she hears garbled accounts of what is happening in the United States. Desperate to return home to the safe cocoon her parents have always provided her, Radley arrives without money or luggage to discover no parents waiting for her. Her mother's photographs comfort her as she searches for her parents and safety, making the best choices she can on what little information she has. Though I do not generally care for present-tense narration, it works perfectly in this novel, allowing the reader prose-snapshots of Radley's thoughts on her experiences now in a journal-like manner, juxtaposed beautifully with her mother's snapshots of life before. This thought-provoking novel is unlikely to be as popular as the action-packed post-apocalyptic tales in The Hunger Games vein but it is a carefully crafted artistic gem that will stay with you long afterwards. Book Pairings: I can't really think of anything else quite like this but Karen Hesse's earlier award-winning novel set during the Depression, Out of the Dust, comes the closest. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lectus | 1/20/2014

    " Seriously, I'm not going to bother. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lori | 1/13/2014

    " I loved this book. I wish I could bottle the feeling I had when I finished it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janette | 1/11/2014

    " Started out so well, but bogged down in the middle. An unusual story---good for YA. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Teresa | 12/11/2013

    " wow, a straight shooting book w/a heavy tone right from the start. i thought i might have stopped reading it but the tone prevailed in such a way that i was hooked. loved the pics throughout the story. nicely done "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 11/21/2013

    " Loved Hesse's photographs in this book. Story kept me interested....nit certain it would do the same with a middle school student. Thoughtprovoking & easy to read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenny | 10/12/2013

    " Timely, intriguing story. Love the perspective on parenting and its effects on a person's life. Karen Hesse is such a great writer. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emily | 9/9/2013

    " This wasn't a bad book. But it wasn't all that great either. I can't really find anything to complain about, but I feel like it was pretty forgettable. It's one of those books that a week from now I won't remember having read it because it just doesn't stand out at all. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mercy | 9/8/2013

    " Survival tale- friendship. Fell apart a little at the end but overall okay "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julia | 7/9/2013

    " Very slow paced for a dystopian novel but still enjoyable. There were a few issues in the plot that bothered me but there were a couple of really breathtaking lines. Quick read because of the photographs! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 6/30/2013

    " Really amazing story of survival, wonderful photographs. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rene | 5/15/2013

    " Not at all what I was expecting. It's like two, almost three, different stories. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katie | 5/3/2013

    " Very good, great storyline "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alex | 3/24/2013

    " Teen Radley was in haiti doing volunteer work when the president is killed. She returns to find her family but instead finds her home country has descended into a military state. She walks from Manchester NH to her home in Vermont and then onto Canada to find safety. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 guadalupe | 12/19/2012

    " I think it is an amazing book so far with what i have read. "

About the Author

Karen Hesse is the author of some fifteen books for children, and was recently awarded a prestigious MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant” for her contribution to literature for children and young adults. Her many novels have garnered considerable success, including the Sydney Taylor Award, the IRA/YA Award, 5 Notable Books for Children, 4 Best Books for Young Adults, and the Newberry Medal. Hesse has spent many years promoting her books to the school market, and is well-known in classrooms throughout the country. She and her husband, Randy, live in Brattleboro, Vermont.

About the Narrator

Jenna Lamia is an actress and award-winning audiobook narrator. She has won the prestigious Audie Award, as well as more than a dozen AudioFile Earphones Awards. Her narration of The Book of Polly was named a 2018 Outstanding Audiobook Narration by RUSA. She narrated Mary E. Pearson’s The Adoration of Jenna Fox, which won a YALSA Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults award, and Carol Lynch Williams’ The Chosen One, for which she received the 2010 Audie Award for Best Female Solo Narration. She has appeared on and off-Broadway, and her acting credits include appearances on Oz, Law & Order: SVU, and NYPD Blue. She has attended Amherst College, New York University, and the Sorbonne in Paris.