Sunday, August 3, 2014

Novel Review: The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen

Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Genre: YA Sci-fi Romance
Publisher: Square Fish (Macmillan)
Release Date: 2010
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

Will Mason be forced to destroy the thing he’s longed for most?

The Gardener is a 2011 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

The Cover:

I like the cover, and it goes with the book, it definitely gives the sci-fi feel, and gives an idea of what is going on inside the book. But it kind of looks a little too creepy, too dark, I think, for the book. I mean, given how little excitement and climax there was, it just seems a little much. It still fits, though.


  • "But it wasn’t easy for me to put my dreams out for everyone to see. I preferred to keep them to myself so only I was disappointed when they didn’t happen.” (Paperback, pg. 11)


This book sounded good, and while I don’t read a lot of sci-fi, lately they have been sounding more interesting to me. I knew what it was about, but I still wasn’t too sure what to expect.
The writing is very simple. There isn’t really even much to say about it. It didn’t especially pull me in, but it was all right. Near the beginning of the book, though, there was quite a bit of info-dumping, which could have been done a lot more smoothly.
I liked the characters enough. Mason was a nice guy, someone who likes playing the hero. His friend, although he didn’t play a huge part, was nice, and a good friend to Mason. The girl was nice, and while the attraction wasn't overwhelming and it didn’t have me overly attached, it was sweet, I guess.
The reason behind growing people made sense, I guess, but it was still really horrible. The compound where they're kept had some bad things going on. But, honestly, the way it all got solved was a little underwhelming. It seemed like there was a climax, but then it kind of fizzled out. I was hoping for something bigger, more exciting. There wasn’t really much exciting in this book at all, though.
Still, the ending was cute. Overall this was a short, nice book, though pretty average. I still hope to pick up something else by Bodeen, though, because she has a few other books out that sound interesting to me.

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