Lily is shocked when her best friends Clare and Dante disappear after their mother is arrested. They’re just kids! She knows they ran away because the authorities suspected them of growing vegetables illegally. But Clare and her little brother aren’t the ones with the most to hide. Without her friends’ knowledge, Lily had started a variety of seeds in vacant lots around the city. She’s watching them grow, but doesn’t have a clue what to do with them as they ripen. She doesn’t even know what “ripen” means.
In the first book of S. Smith’s futuristic Seed Savers series for middle-grade kids, Treasure, the three kids had begun their learning from an old woman, Ana, who entrusted them with teaching, contraband seeds, and a few illegal books. It had been many years since food-growing had been illegalized. Now Lily is learning from Ana on her own. She makes a new friend in Rose, who seems eager to learn about real food.
But then they’re followed by a boy, Lily learns a startling revelation about the father she thought dead, and something is going on with Rose. How loyal is Lily to her new way of life? Is it worth everything to her?
Lily is set partially simultaneously with Treasure in that it continues on in the home city after Clare and Dante leave partway through Treasure. Thus, it doesn’t make the best standalone story, but then, it wasn’t meant to. The Seed Saver series is meant to intrigue kids into understanding how important and interesting real food is by showing them a dystopian world, all too easily imagined, in which gardening is illegal.
Highly recommended both as a teaching tool for kids and as a fun story for young readers.
S. Smith grew up on a farm with a tremendously large garden. She maintains that if you can’t taste the soil on a carrot, it’s not fresh enough. Although she now lives with her husband and three cats in the city, she still manages to grow fruits and vegetables in their backyard garden.
A licensed ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher, Ms. Smith has enjoyed teaching students from around the world.
Ms. Smith is a member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and an OSU Master Gardener. She gardens and writes at her home in the beautiful and green Pacific Northwest.