Published by Toher's Tales on October 22, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Magical Realism
Source: the author
Jamie, a timid Virginia boy, and his three friends time travel seventy years into the future where they are horrified at a barren Earth devastated by climate change and dirty energy pollution. They return to the present and launch an international kids' crusade to save the planet from the same toxic gases threatening the life of Jamie's little sister.
Insisting that the U. S. lead the world in changing the future, Jamie and his close pals team up with a maverick U.S. senator on a controversial environmental bill, fight the fossil fuel industry, and counter Washington backroom politics. But things are often not how they seem, and what the youths experience shocks them all.
This magical realism, cli-fi tale tracks an improbable activist as he and his millions of global followers race against time to beat the forces starting to imperil the human race. This is also a story about the power of sibling love and the discovery of a power much greater than that.
What is happening??? It’s like the week of hard reviews to write around here! First, it was More Than Words by Jill Stanapolo and now it’s Tying the Leaves by June Toher (for completely different reasons).
My Thoughts on Tying the Leaves by June Toher:
Much like Jerry McGuire, June Toher had me at the prologue…
If you haven’t checked out my first lines Friday with this yet, then you need to! Those first few opening lines gave me chills. Admittedly, I have a history that includes watching someone young with a chronic condition struggle to breathe and my daughter and I both suffer from asthma, so this may have hit me more than most but, man, is that prologue powerful!
How I rated this one…
But then it went kinda up and down from there… or down and up? I’m just gonna say it again — This was a really hard book for me to rate. Overall, I loved the story and enjoyed reading most of the book. But my enjoyment varied by section. Since the book itself is broken up into four different parts, let me just break down what my rating would be if each part was a separate story:
The prologue was a solid 5/5
Part One was probably a 2 or 2.5 and I questioned whether I would finish the book about halfway through it.
Part Two was a 3.5 or 4.0.
But then Parts Three and Four were easily 4 or 4.5!
So for my overall rating, I went with 4 stars since that’s where it’d average out to be, but I do feel like this is one of those books you need to know not to judge it by the first part!!
Jamie is a 12-year-old kid who’s sister, Katie, suffers from asthma. Katie’s twin is Billy. Katie wants to be an astronaut when she grows up. Their father is dead. Mom is maybe a bit overprotective, but I totally would be too if I’d lost my husband and my youngest child was sick all the time.
Jamie has three best friends, most of whom I like, but at first, I could not stand Tony! He came across as arrogant, pig-headed, and a little racist when you first start getting to know him. Especially where one of Jamie’s other friends, Raj, is concerned. But even Tony grew on me as the book progressed.
In the first part of the book, the characters seemed pretty stereotypical to me. At times, the dialogue came across as unrealistic but the writing itself was simple and easy to read. It bordered on middle grade at times, but since it’s a story about 7th grader’s that kinda makes sense! Once I got past Part I though, the characters and conversations became more believable.
I know this is a young adult novel, but I was expecting more of an older YA and not younger so that made it hard to get through the first part of the story. Around chapter 11, I really found myself getting sucked in and enjoying it again though.
As you can tell from the above, obviously Part I was my least favorite of this book. But after that, it got really good! PART II is more believable, the characters seem more likable, and I like the writing a lot more.
There is a LOT that happens in Parts III and IV and I flew through it. I just couldn’t stop reading because I needed to know what was going to happen! I don’t want to give away any spoilers, so I’m just gonna say… it’s action-packed and I really think anyone interested in climate change novels would enjoy it.
I think this is a great book to teach not just about climate change, but also how a bill moves through different stages in our government. Because after Jamie and his friends get back from a future Earth that’s been devastated by pollution, they take action to change it. They form a non-profit and take on some scary people in the fossil fuels industry to ensure they have a bright future ahead of them.
This definitely had an After the Green Withered vibe to me so if you’re a fan of Kristen Ward, you’re probably going to like Tying the Leaves by June Toher.
***I received a free review copy of this book from the author. This does not affect my opinions or review.