Author: S. Smith
Genre: Young Adult
Length: 300 pages
“I haven’t been this in love with a young adult series since Harry Potter,” I wrote after reading the first installment of the Seed Savers Series – Treasure – for the first time. Having now read the second and third installments – Lily and Heirloom – I can happily say that the statement still holds true.
No, there aren’t wizards or magic. The adventure doesn’t reach any of the same fantastical levels, but it is very epic. It is based in a truth that could easily lend itself to being our future. This dystopian society is so intense, because it’s so plausible.
Treasure featured two runaway kids (Clare and Dante) after their discovery of the wonderful world of planting your own seeds and growing your own food, in a government where that is forbidden. They flee for their safety. They flee to learn more.
Lily is where you get to know another character, Clare and Dante’s friend and fellow cohort in the Seed Saving excitement. In this book she blossoms before our eyes into less of a sidekick and more the hero. I was pleasantly surprised to find she had such a huge role in the story. She’s not just the key to almost everything, but the narrator as well! Who knew?
After a long alienation from Clare and Dante, Smith is wise enough to bring us back and feed our curiosity. Heirloom is told back and forth between what’s happening with Clare and Dante, and the world according to Lily. I loved this pattern for a third in a series. It wrapped up some lo0se ends, it led us into asking more questions, and we were able to adventure cross country and learn more about growing plants in a cozy environment in the same book. My brain needed this.
Heirloom, even more than the other two in the series, is full of interesting facts about how a society would get from where it was in the 1980’s to what it is in Smith’s novels. In a time when we are debating GMOs, organics, seeds, and patents, this book is a must have to help middle grade students grasp all the political nuances decisions of today will have on tomorrow. I love that Smith was able to take an intense political topic and weave it into a fascinating (and fun) story.
The fun comes into play, I think, because Smith did not intend to strictly bark all this information at us. It comes from love, and you can sense that as you read. Love for what? “[M]y love of good food,” she said in a blog interview with me once, “Seed Savers is a love story starring home-grown food. I love food—growing, harvesting, cooking, eating, and sharing it. And I think a lot of people these days maybe are missing out on that.”
If you’ve read books one and two, you cannot miss this third part of the series! It’s essential. It has propelled us so much deeper into the story and I’m jittery waiting on the fourth! It didn’t maintain the same read in one sitting quality of books one and two, but I believe that’s because the characters demand more of your time. There is so much more going on, and in the midst of it all they want to teach you as well. That takes more than a day. Clare, Dante, and Lily are growing and stretching their legs, and with them Smith is becoming more detailed and dynamic in her tale. Like good food, Heirloom was made to be savored.
If you haven’t read any of the series, you must. Purchase it for yourself, purchase it for your children for Christmas and read them together – or just swipe the copies and read them yourself. They are so good.